Its how Jeanna described one goal with our work, and I’m becoming a much better dance partner with my horse.
The trainer at the barn is very skilled in his understanding of the how-tos and whys of groundwork. He’s been to a lot of clinics and had a wealth of instruction on the topic and is now helping me one-on-one with Griffin or his horse. The experience I am gaining right now is priceless. So, so amazing.
The horse he’s working with, I’ve deemed him “Chico” for lack of a name, is incredibly soft and so sensitive to the tiniest of maneuvers from trainer-man. Trainer-man was kind enough, and trusting enough, to let me work with Chico for a few minutes. We danced around the round pen. I held the lead rope up with one finger and walked toward Chico, who was squared up facing me head on. For each step toward him I took he took one backward away from me. When I needed him to turn away from the wall he was backing into all I had to do was push my eyes toward the hip close to the wall or panel to push him away from it. We completed an entire circuit of the round pen in this manner. And then I used the same method to back him over a tarp. He leads so softly. Everything you ask, you can do it so, so softly.
The next night trainer-man and I worked with Griffin doing the same things. Little horse is a side-steppin’ fool! Using the pressure of our bodies with appropriate eye contact on certain places of his body I could get him to do a lot. He’s a very quick learner.
Prior to this he was all up in my space. This is my fault. I was seeking to me a matronly-leader instead of a leader-leader. I know our relationship will be much stronger and benefit us both more if I’m a true leader to him instead of trying to prove to him I care about him by giving lovins. A good leader is predictable and I need to be that for him. He needs to know he can trust me and that I’m going to be there to provide him with what he needs and help him to learn things in a way that doesn’t frighten him.
I’m not 100% certain who established the methods I’m learning. The underlying concept between many trainers out there in natural horsemanship is similar. Trainer-man has been to multiple Buck Branhaman clinics, so its likely his methods I’m learning. I ordered a new lunge line to train with. I’m ecstatic to start working with it. 22’ with leather popper and safety swivel clasp.
Trainer-man has Griffin and I doing a lot of work in tight quarters right now. That’s our homework. When we accomplish it then he said he’d give us another exercise to begin to work on. I’d originally thought a lot of my work with Griffin in the beginning in the round pen would be free lunging, but trainer-man pointed out that all that will do is condition the horse. Get him more fit to continue throwing antics (as if Griffin throws anything, psh). By tight quarter work he’s learning more about pressure. How much, how far to move, where to move, when to move, and why. “You train a horse on the ground the way you want to ride him later,” that’s what trainer-man keeps saying.
I’m really enjoying the things I’m accomplishing so far with this training. Its so valuable. By July when Griffin is two and I can consider doing light riding he should be in a really great place for it. He’s such a fantastic little horse and I’m really excited for what we may be able to accomplish together.
And another plus? He’s retaining more Arab characteristics currently than TWH. Showed me a beautiful floaty Arab trot the other day, made me all excited. D and Jeanna watch him move and fear that his trot will be hard to sit, but I see no worries with this! I can post like a champ, and he’s going to change and develop that trot a little more as he grows and later becomes used to carrying me.
Its going to be a fun several months. I’m excited to see where this goes!