Monday, July 30, 2007

Libby's first time being ridden

I know very little about breaking horses. I've read Mark Rashid's books, but his philosophy conveys total attitude more than actual methods (consider the horse, put yourself in the horse's skin, etc.). I've watched plenty of the horse-training shows on RFDTV, but I'm not usually able to execute the things I see done there, except for the most basic maneuvers. A couple of those basics, though, really worked in our favor yesterday.

Libby tried to get away from Arick when he first tried to mount her, which was no surprise. He simply persisted, holding onto her and letting her circle as he held her lead rope. Once he was on her back, she stood like a statue.

"How do you get her to move?" he asked.

"Well, when I ponied her, I made all the noises I make to Blue, since I was on him... you know, clicking my tongue, saying, 'hup', or 'come on'."

Arick clicked his tongue, pressured her sides a bit with his legs... nothing.

I have worked Libby in the round pen, not often enough, but some. I'm a novice, as I said, and I am not sure I always did the right things. But thanks to the RFD shows and advice from Adam, who boards his horses here, I have learned how to make her go forward, and turn on command in the pen (with whip in hand that is only a prop, not something I "whip" her with).

So Arick suggested I do what I always do in the round pen to get her going, when nobody is on her back.

This worked. Once she got started going forward, she understood what was being asked of her.

The other very simple thing learned from these shows was getting Libby to flex her neck when asked; this allowed Arick to be able to pull her head sideways to keep her from bucking, and also prepared her for the commands to turn.

Two simple things that made Libby's first ride successful. I'm so proud.

We won't be taking her on any long trail rides for a long, long time. She's still young and growing, and I don't want to do any damage to her.

Here's a video taken in November, showing me "ponying" Libby, and at the end, handling her feet and putting my weight briefly on her back.


Astaryth said...

You are definitely on the right track with Libby. When we work with a new horse, one of our main ideas is not to frighten the horse, but to get the horse to work with us because they want to.

One of the ways we do this is by doing a lot of ground/round pen work. The first time someone actually gets on the horse it already knows how to carry a saddle, give to the reins, and move forward with a vocal command. Then, we do as you did. A person gets on and then the person on the ground moves the horse forward. The person riding the horses 'gives' the command, and the person on the ground asks the horse to do what the rider is asking. Very quickly the horse figures out what the rider is asking! Now, I'm not saying this method isn't sometimes accompanied by a buck or two {g}, but usually our horses are so interested in what the silly humans are doing they don't think to do it!

Yeah for Libby! She (and Arick) seem to be doing well!

BarnGoddess said...

wow, Libby is looking good.

You are definitely going about her training the right way.

pretty soon she'll be yielding perfectly.

Midlife Mom said...

Libby is looking REALLY good! Arick does a good job with her and she is really responding well. You're going to have a nice saddle horse there when you get done with the training. Fun isn't it, especially when they are anxious to please?!

The Guy Who Writes This said...

Keep working on that lateral flection and one reign stops and you'll have a fine horse in no time.

Anonymous said...

We start all our horses, anywhere from from one to five each year. I'm a Clinton Anderson fan, and his methods have really worked well for us. This year we're working on a couple of two year olds and rounding off some rough spots on a three year old.

You're doing a great job, keep it up.