Today I decided I would assess Jerry's progress in the four months that I have owned him. I decided I would share some of his progress, and how I achieved it.
1. Catching from the field. When I bought Jerry, he was a school pony and he was almost never in the field. So, being outside for 5 hours a day was pretty exciting I guess. Anyways, he hated being caught. He would run around and chase his friends, buck, rear, anything to get away from me and the dreaded leadrope. One day, It took me an hour and a half to catch him. Well, after a bit of an attitude change from me and a bit of reading, I devised a plan on how to catch him (mwahahaha. Evil me.). Anyways, I went out to his field armed with a handful of treats and a leadrope. First, I went to his paddock mate, Birdie, and gave him a treat or two. Then I went to his other paddock mate, Linus, and fed him a few treats. Then I scratched their necks and ears, and I talked to them calmly. I discreetly looked at Jerry, and it was obvious that my plan was working. He was furious that everyone else was getting all the attention! He walked right over, and got his share of treats and scratches. Then I put the leadrope on his halter led him out of the field, gave him more treats, and led him back to his stall. After a few days of this, he realized that as soon as he saw me walk to the field, he was going to get treats. After bribing him with treats, I stopped the treats and only gave scratches. Now, he will willingly trot from the other side of the field to me. I love it!
2. Steering. Before I bought him, Jerry was kind of all over the place. He would cut corners no matter how much you tried to get him into them, he would randomly come off the rail no matter how much you tried, and he would randomly stop in his tracks even if you were kicking with all your might. Now, he will stay on the rail, go into his corners, and he keeps moving his feet until you ask him to stop. I achieved this by simply paying more attention to my seat. Usually I can just move my seat and support it with a bit of my reins, and he will do exactly what I'm asking him to do. I hardly have to pull on his mouth anymore like I used to!
3. Jumping. Jerry used to hate jumping. He would refuse even little tiny jumps, and sometimes he would even refuse poles. We think he had a bad experience with jumping before, and he isn't very confident about where to go or what to do. So, we did some grids, put poles in front of jumps, and did other exercises with poles, and now he jumps a whole lot better, but we still have a lot of improvement.
Sorry it was so long. LOL. Cookies to anyone who read that.