Giving it a round two.
So. After moving for a bit, and moving back home, I've decided to attempt to work full time with Chance outside of the practices. This may have to wait till spring, or until I get a job, really, before I can live on the festival land once more where he is located.
Anywho. An idea has been tossed around about having him be a part of the festival itself as either a herald's mount, or part of our games on horseback. I've done some research since then, and have been watching some Clinton Anderson tv shows, and youtube videos that demonstrate the same method and have found some ideas to engrain the idea of standing still to him.
My question is, though... where to start?
I know he needs confidence building, but I believe that if once he respects me, gets out more, and relaxes, he will gain confidence that way. he does not like to stand still wven mounting, unless someone holds him, and I want to break him of that habit.
One thing I have encountered with working with him though, is he gets beligerent sometimes when disciplining. I don't know if this is a "me" problem or a "him" problem. It's likely a me problem, as I may be pecking. I think I will start by disengaging hind quarters and shoulder at first, and then move on to sending. Or should I do sending first and establish general respect and space before attempting that?
I also want to work on his flexing. I don't know how well he gives his head and I will have to see if it is something we need to work on.If it IS something we should put on our to do list, should I do that before doing any of the before mentioned excercises, or when exactly should I do them? My idea for the flexing isgetting into the routine of mounting, and flexing for 3-5 minutes before starting on our work.
Under saddle, I plan on teaching him to walk calmly. I know I myself must remain calm, but I am unsure how else to instill calmness. Should I do pattern work like weaving and circles to move his feet, and get him thinking, or just continue walking as if I do not feel him being nervous under saddle?
Another problem, which I think he got from previous owners, was you could hold something [doesn't matte what, be it a doll, stick, or crop] and he will instantly move faster. As if he is trying to run away from the item in your hand. You drop it, and he calms down. Not sure how to go about this yet, and may have to consult with my instuctor.
I'll try to help you out with the things I have had experience with or I've been taught by my instructor/trainer. Also, I am a very big fan of Clinton Anderson, so some of the things I'll be saying are from him, as well.
I would start with desensitizing, myself -- it sounds like he could use a lot of that. Looking up Clinton Anderson's desensitizing videos is a great idea. He explains everything very clearly and to the point, and it works very well; I've done it. GiddyUpFlix.com: Horse DVD Rentals | Horse Training Dvd | Horse Dvds | Rent Horse Videos is a wonderful place to rent any training videos. It'll help his confidence to not be worrying about everything he sees or feels. I would also install whips, sticks, empty milk bottles--anything he might be afraid of--from the rafters in his stall. You can also put an old basketball or something in there so he'll get used to having something around his feet.
I would probably start with yielding the hindquarters, because when you start working on sending him through spaces, you will need him to have that skill. That is part of the sending, really.
I did the flexing with my mare and it is well worth it! And it is one of the first things I'd start working on. You can have him do a few of those every now and then during a ride, and like you said, it's a great thing to do for a while after you mount up. It's also something you can go back to if he gets worried or doesn't want to stand still. So just say he won't stand still or even halt after you are already going: flex him until he stops his feet, and then immediately release. Flexing stops are actually a really good thing to practice in general, anyway.
First, before you work on him walking calmly, it is important that he is already walking calmly by your side when you are on the ground, and that he is respectful of your space. If he is, then you have the right idea about making him do pattern work. It is so much better to have them thinking about what YOU are wanting them to do, instead of about that super scary fence post, or whatever!
I'd start with CA's groundwork exercises. That will establish the boundaries of your relationship, set you up as leader and give him confidence and confidence in and with you.
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