Jay had a day off that coincided with one of Mom and Bill's days off, so for the first time, he got to work his horse with them and it was great. I was able to focus on what I was doing with Skeeter and let Jay do his thing with Copper, which meant that both horses got worked pretty hard in just a couple of short hours.
The very first thing Jay wanted to work on with Copper was his sticky gate issue. Copper did not like coming back into the pen. At first, we thought it was because he was enjoying his "out" time too much to want to go back in the pen. However, Jay had a Temple Grandin moment and realized that the alley narrows down going back into the pen, and it's often cast in shadows. Leaving the pen isn't an issue, because the alley widens and then opens up to the outside, but coming back, the alley is nothing but a scary, shadowy horse chute and who knows what monsters lie in wait?
It really only took three times in and out for him to get it. The gate is no longer a problem.
He did so well with the gate, that he got to wear the bareback pad for most of the rest of the training session. He might not have thought it was a reward, but he's growing up, so training sessions have to be longer and more mentally challenging.
|I love their relationship :)|
Skeeter was a rock start the first time we put the saddle on her, but now that she knows what it's about has decided she really doesn't want to wear it and has been kind of a shit about getting saddled. I figured she had taken to it a bit too calmly at first and what she needed was a good blow up to realize it wasn't going to hurt her. She really does not like the cinch and it's not because I've cinched it too tight, I think that it's pokey from being sweated on and used by other horses, so I'll eventually buy a new cinch to try out.
Skeets got squirrely when I first slipped the latigo through the cinch and since Mom had her head, I let Mom move her out until she could stand still, then I went back to tightening her up. She started to get squirrely again, so I took the lead rope in my left hand and kept the latigo in my right and circled her until she stopped. I managed to buckle the latigo before she got silly again, only this time, I just let her go.
Her entire temper tantrum lasted less than a minute. I literally let her go, pulled my flip out of my pocket and started recording. I actually feel much better now that she's got that out of her system.
Once Skeets had her saddle on and her temper tantrum was over, Bill took over over to the trailer to see if she'd load up with it on. She got halfway in, but the "stall" is too narrow to accommodate the saddle too.
Darn, I thought I had a still picture of her in the trailer, but it's a video and there's no way in hell I'm going to upload/process yet another video, so you'll just have to believe me :)
Jay decided to walk Copper through the pool. I've yet to be able to get Skeeter to go through it. The first time I introduced her to the pool, she pawed at it and got her belly wet - she hasn't wanted anything to do with it since. Copper went through like a pro - he'll do anything for Jay - and I mentioned to Bill that Skeeter wouldn't go, so Bill took that as a personal challenge to get her across.
Bill put some weight on Skeets while she had the saddle on and she didn't offer any attitude, so I climbed on. We didn't ride, just sat, but she wasn't bothered.
|Even on the last hole, the stirrups are too long. Time to break out the leather punch.|
Skeeter did well with the saddle, so I went ahead and took it off, then we had the bright idea to throw it up on Copper. After all, he'd worn the bareback pad most of the training session and didn't have a problem, so why not introduce him to the weight of the saddle?
Since they were both so good, we took them over to Estes' pen for a bit of hand-grazing. It also served the dual purpose of seeing if Copper's gate training had taken.
His gate training totally took. He marched right down the alley to get back in the pen like he'd done it a million times, not one second of hesitation.
He was still eager to learn, so while Skeeter and I just sat and relaxed, first Mom and Copper played clicker training, then Jay and Copper played clicker training. Copper really likes it, even though he's not at all food-driven like Skeeter is. I would have for sure said that the food-driven horse would like clicker training, but she hates it. Copper? He loves it, thinks it's a fun game.