Would love some more ideas!
This week I will be continuing on breaking a 2yo who has had about two weeks work with someone else but wasn't going so great.
We are on a cattle station and these are future work horses. I can go back to the beginning somewhat, but I don't have a lot of time to get her riding well before we bring the older work horses in and start fitting them up for mustering.
She was unhandled until weaning and then brought in and handled and halter broke. They do a lot of desensitising but not a lot of sensitising. I wasn't here but the girl who handled her was apparently a bit afraid of her after she knocked her in the head, and never handled her back feet much. She was then turned out and not handled until coming in a few weeks ago.
She was lunged, long reined and then ridden. However it wasn't done how *I* would have done it - But this bloke is my boss so I can't do much about that. Lunging is a case of chasing them around the round pen until they are in a frantic trot and if they slow down or start to give you their head they are chased forward again. Long reining is only at a walk/trot and in the round yard and camp yard. From what I saw she was quite tense when chased and wasn't very forward when long reining, to get her forward he would stomp and growl and startle her forward. They don't do any ground work aside from this and tying. While in the process of lunging and long reining she somehow kicked him, twice. Not sure on the exact situation but I do know after the second time she was flogged around the round yard with the lunge whip and then tied for a long while. *Disclaimer - my boss has broken a lot of horses and generally they go ok. However he has a short temper and I think just isn't a good match with this filly who is a bit more sensitive - I am not trying to bad mouth my boss*. His first ride went ok. Second ride I was watching, she was trotting around nicely but then spooked at something and started crow hopping. Boss had his daughter in the round yard who yelled whoah and as they bring the horses in to whoah when lunging the filly ran into her and stopped. Apparently the third ride she really didn't want to go forward and started trying to rear/buck. I don't know how serious it was but I think it shook bosses confidence as he did ride her again that day but she hasn't been worked since.
Looks like now I will be taking her on. I played with her a bit on the ground yesterday. I tied her up and started out just brushing her. She was very tense and if I raised my voice to tell her off or touched her butt she would tense her back and get really anxious. So I spent a long while just brushing and stroking her until she relaxed. I got a rope around her fetlocks and picked up her feet like that until she would relax and let me rub all down her back legs and over her butt.
I then untied her and tried to get her to yield her hip away from me. She immediately tensed up and would throw her head away from me and run sideways. So we spent a good while learning how to flex her head laterally to me both ways while keeping her feet still, and then calmly stepping her hip over keeping her head in toward me. She went pretty well. I also started to teach her to step over with her shoulder when asked, as she wanted to be on top of me. Basically I wanted t be able to easily yield her away from me without her getting tense. She was going pretty well by the end.
My plan is to get her lunging calmly off a feel with her head tipped in and some bend in her body, and once we have that, get her disengaging her hip around me with her head tipped in. When I tried to push her out to lunge yesterday she just had no idea what I meant because I wasn't chasing her.
Hopefully if I can get forward nice and soft on the ground and keep her body relaxed and with some bend in it, and get her following one rein while stepping under with her hind end, we might be better once I get on. He only rode her in the small round yard, I want to get her out in the bigger yard ASAP so she can move out better.
Would love any other ideas to try with her. You guys all have a lot more combined experience than me, and I tend to just go off what my gut says instead of having a plan. So ideas are very welcome.