Saturday, April 16, 2011

Put into practice

In my introduction I mention that this is a journey and the kick off was when I decided to trade dressage lessons for starting a mustang under saddle.  So from here on out I plan to alternate the discussion from western and dressage and the WDAA with post on the progress of my "cowboys" and the horse in training.

So here's the cast of characters.

Gambler - an 8 year old mustang. He was adopted from the BLM, moved to a rescue when he killed a goat. Rescue sent him to a trainer who sent him back because he freaked when a saddle with a dummy tied to it was put on him. Came to me and got basic ground work, learned to carry a saddle and bit, but didn't get consistent work and never lost his wariness. I didn't have the money to send him to another trainer until last year, when he had 30 days with Brock Griffith. Brock did a good job, but because of a bad winter he couldn't be ridden to consolidate the training and I didn't have the facility. Trent has dropped back to focus on the confidence issues and will be putting miles on him.

Trent Benton - has a good reputation for starting horses and is getting more WBs and dressage prospects. He is riding Penny, a very athletic little QH he uses for ranch sorting and would like to prepare for working cow horse, but she gets very tense, fighting the bit, shortening her stride and anticipating every move. The horse is very very reactive and sensitive. Trent's concern is that she will never relax enough to use as his lesson horse for dressage.

Scott - a very relaxed rider who asks excellent questions. He doesn't have the experience or "book knowledge" Trent has but is riding most of the young horses after Trent got injured last year. The horse  is Copperhead. Copperhead came to Trent because he bucked so strongly they considered selling him to a rodeo string. Scott has been trail riding him. The result is a big, powerful, supple  horse who puts out as little energy as possible. No  more buck, but very practical, energy conserving critter. I'd love to have him as an event prospect.

Pat Benton - Pat has the horse she and Trent think will be the one for Western Dressage. He's a nice black QH who loves games but gets bored with rail work. Pat sees WDAA tests as challenging without having to do speed work and thinks this will be her event. Casper, like Copperhead, has found out how to make life as low energy as possible but has more training. At this point this means he can find more ways to evade.

The First Month. (pictures to follow)

The first issue was straight. All the horses had been trained using indirect rein and an overbent neck to "pick up the shoulders." So the first goal was to get all the horses moving straight out through the bridle and redirect attention to control of the hind legs. For Penny there was also a quick fix  in contact, ( fixed vs following hand) and a change in bits.
Over the month Penny began to achieve a steadier rhythm and with that more relaxation and a quiet acceptance of the bit.
 "Snake" (Copperhead) began to be more prompt in his transitions and show a super forward trot. The next step for him is a return to contact. (For several lessons he has been worked in a bosal.)
Pat has begun to be able to direct Casper and keep him from drifting. With basic control established she too is ready to start asking for acceptance of the bit  and working from back to front.          

No comments:

Post a Comment