Join Date: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
I’m currently re-training an ex-harness racer. She is 16 years old and extremely mild-mannered. Not much scares her, but she is extremely interested in everything around her. She likes to look and for now, I let her. If I’m in the round pen and she feels the need to stop and look at something weird, like a leaf or a fence pole, I let her. But the catch is: I count to 30 and then we move on. We move on my terms. If she still needs to look a second time, I make her circle and then we stop for the count of 30. She gets two times to look at anything, and then we move on. Most times, she only needs the first look and then she never looks at the object again. She goes where I want, she does what I ask… but sometimes, her curious nature needs to be indulged. At the point in time, she’s beginning to understand that playtime ends when the halter goes on. If I’m on her back, she’s all business. Even though she’s green as they come, she never puts a foot wrong. She’s definitely one of those rare horses that look out for their rider and once she’s completely sure what I’ve asked of her, she commits it to memory. She’ll make a wonderful trail horse someday, just because she is naturally calm and completely willing to go along with whatever her handler asks.
I guess I fall in between the perspectives. I like to let a horse look, but at the same time, I’m not going to let them look forever. She looks on my terms and goes when I ask. I give her the change to look if she needs to, but she gets 60 seconds TOPS. She will go wherever I point her and she will not fuss about it, but at the same time, she is not a dead head. She has a lot of spunk for an old girl, but enough sense to keep it under wraps while she’s working.