The second week, I continued with the round pen work. I would tack Dixie up, lead her to the round pen, and we would work through the gaits and turns. I would free lunge first, then put a lunge line on her and request specific speeds. She was sort of getting the idea of whoa, still pretty clueless on what gait and canter were. Walk she was getting, but didn't always want to do it.
I was concerned about her attitude though. She endured what we did, but didn't look forward to working. I decided to take a break and show her learning was fun.
I pocketed a bunch of horse cookies, and approached her in the field. I called her to me, and when she came, I gave her a cookie. I then asked her to back up, when she did, I gave her a cookie. Now she was getting more interested in what we were doing. So sometimes she got a cookie, sometimes scratches.
I then tacked her up like usual, but instead of going to the round pen, I worked her around the barn, walking, stopping, tugging on the stirrups, etc. We stopped at the mounting block, and I stepped up making lots of noise. Nothing fazed her. She was completely relaxed with everything I was doing, and was very interested in what she had to do to earn cookies.
The next day we went back to the usual routine, but this time she looked forward to the work. She had figured out there was a reward, cookies, scratches, praise for learning what I wanted her to do.
Rohern was always enthused about doing things. She was interested in going where I led, in what we were doing. Where Dixie had been backed and worked with before, Roheryn had never had a saddle on. I saddled her up, and let her graze with the saddle on and get used to the feel of it.
She turned and chewed on it a few times.
But she was not really worried. One thing I did discover, was some jealousy. I had a helper a couple of days, so we took both fillies out to the round pen. I had set up a high tie in a tree so they could stand tied and learn a little patience which the other one was worked. I gave my helper Roheryn to lead out, since I considered her better behaved in hand. She was not happy with that at all! She pulled back, fretted, and generally was a pain the whole way out there. She also didn't want to pay attention when lunged. When it was her turn to be tied, she was fine, but then the walk back to the barn she fretted and fussed. It took 3 days before she was back to good manners.
Both have advanced nicely this week, and both remind me why I love TWH! So much easier to train and work with.
James Kofford at Dressage at Devon
1 week ago