Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Plan

After a phone consult with my friend who is a natural horsemanship veteran a plan was made.  Let's be clear here, Buddy's quirks annoy me so I'm on elimination detail.  The plan was to go out and consistently, insistently make Buddy understand his life is better when he does what I ask.

Buddy was given a "spot" to stand.  Normally he likes to paw and jig around when he's tied up.  Not today.  Today I didn't even tie him up.  I gave him a spot - a happy spot if you will.  The moment he moved from his spot I made him move.  I harassed him forcing him to move his hind end around, or back up away from me.  He was not given any peace until he was standing in his spot.  Once in his spot I left him alone and resumed brushing him.  

When it came time to saddle him I saddled him from the off side.  Let him stand (after doing our you left the happy spot dance) and unsaddled him.  Next we headed out to the riding corral (saying arena would be a tremendous stretch).  Here I turned him loose and chased him around with the plastic bagged whip.  Initially I tried dropping the whip to see if he'd stop and face me.  When this didn't work I went with get him bloody tired and don't let him stop.  This horse is rather bright.  All of a sudden he slams on the breaks (think reining stop) and turns to face me.  Immediately I drop the whip and let him stand.  Walking up to him I scratch his face and tell him what a good boy he is.  I'm now a good 45 minutes into my session with him.  With no lead he follows me back to the gate and then to his happy spot where I let him rest.

Once again I saddle him.  Only this time he jumps and bucks across the corral.  Grrrr!  As he's out of his happy spot I begin making him move his hind end, side pass and back our way back to the happy spot.  Bridle on we head back into the riding space.  I pick up the baggie whip and commence chasing.  Much less time passes before he faces up and I drop the whip.  My goal is to drop the whip and have him face up but I figure you need to start somewhere and this is where we're starting.

I take him back to the happy spot to rest and head to the house to put on my boots and helmet.  Once more we head out to the riding space.  Once more he gets chased around.  Almost immediately he stops and faces me.  Dropping the whip I head over to him, untie the reins and move to the side.  When he starts his jigging routine I make him move his ass around.  Once I get him where I want him, I stop, he stops and I approach the side again.  This time he stands still and this time I get on.  To reward him for standing I don't immediately ask him to move off.  

We didn't do much under saddle.  The whole point of the exercise was to get him thinking differently and I believe we achieved that goal.  

1 comment:

The Canadian said...

I am excited that you are trying this approach with your boy, good luck my friend, good luck! Have fun with this adventure!