Chuck's training diary - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 01-10-2020, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
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Chuck's training diary

I thought the process of bringing on this little 2 year old I'm working with might be interesting for the forum :)

Chuck is a 2 year old Thoroughbred gelding. He has never left the farm he was born on, and while he's not completely unhandled he is not halter broke. Not even "not to my satisfaction" but rather, to the point where this evening his owner told me "I don't think he'll lead so we aren't even going to bother trying to get a halter on him".

His owner P wants me to break him in, but he's not even close to where I want him with his groundwork before I get on his back, so I expect to spend a little while on groundwork beforehand.

He is very quiet and has a great mind on him, but I'm standing at the base of a mountain looking up. There's a long way to go before I even think about him in terms of riding.

Today, he went in with my 8 year old mare, who is mostly very well mannered and a solid, if quirky citizen. I spent a little while just following him around, wandering about the paddock, and then walking away when he stopped and looked at me. Eventually I got close enough to touch him, and walked up to him and touched him a few times then walked away. I want this consistent before I try doing it with a halter in my hand, and I want to be able to rub the halter all over him before I try to put it on him. I have all the time in the world!
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post #2 of 15 Old 01-10-2020, 02:00 PM
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Sounds interesting! Looking forward to learning how he goes!

Tears may get you sympathy, But sweat will get you results. > Clinton Anderson
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post #3 of 15 Old 01-11-2020, 06:41 AM Thread Starter
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Went in, haltered my big mare, put the neck collar on her and tied her to the big tree in the background of the pics. This kills two birds with one stone - stops them feeding off each other and spending hours running around being pains in the butt, and works on the fact that my mare does not tie well. So my big girl spent an hour standing tied to a tree, and I spent an hour working with Chuck.

He is very stubborn. He's clever, but he's stubborn. We are making progress, but it could be a little while. It's okay though, plenty of time :)

He'll let me walk up to him with the halter, but won't let me touch him with it. I can hold it in my right hand and touch him with my left, but can't hold it in my left hand and touch him with my right?????

He kicked out in my general direction today, so I promptly threw the halter and lead at him, and then it took me ten minutes to get near him again but oh well, he has to learn from the start that kicking is not okay.

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post #4 of 15 Old 01-11-2020, 06:52 AM Thread Starter
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17hh 8 year old on the right, Chuck on the left - he's tall but all noodly hahah! And very butt high at the moment. Pics don't do him justice!
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-12-2020, 07:32 AM Thread Starter
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Chuck is still very unsure of me. I would have liked a little bit more progress by now, but there's no forcing it with horses. I have to be patient and wait for him to learn at his pace.

So today I thought, since what I was doing didn't work as well as I intended, I might try something different. I put what I know in the back seat and decided to listen to Chuck.

He is distinctly more comfortable being touched on his head than on his shoulder. So instead of approaching his shoulder I decided to try approaching from the front. If he took a step towards me I would stop. If he took another step towards me I would back away. And eventually, I got him to accept me walking straight up to him and giving him a rub on the forehead. He even walked towards me four whole steps as I approached him, like a big brave boy!

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post #6 of 15 Old 01-13-2020, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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The new approach is definitely working! Got a halter on him today after a little bit of gentle persuasion. He doesn't really understand leading, but he'll learn :) he is learning yielding forward to poll pressure and soon enough he'll be walking alongside me really nicely! I am using his dinner as motivation. The sooner he accepts the halter and the nicer he walks beside me, the sooner he can have dinner
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post #7 of 15 Old 01-13-2020, 10:39 AM
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Good for you! Looks like he's coming along real well!

Tears may get you sympathy, But sweat will get you results. > Clinton Anderson
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-14-2020, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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It's really funny watching his eyes bug out of his head when I ride my mare! You can just see him thinking "what the HECK are you DOING?!" hahahah
Oh Chuck, little boy, you're going to be asked for the same thing soon enough >:)

Thinking back on yesterday and his attitude towards the halter, he is about halfway halter broke; he doesn't fight it, he turns if he hits the end of the lead, but he doesn't understand leading at all. He does eventually think his way to coming forward off poll pressure, and I'm using that to teach him to follow me. Eventually, once he's following me consistently, I'll refine that to "I want you at my shoulder."

Ikora is possessive of me. I didn't expect that. She'll chase him off if I don't tie her up before trying to work with him!

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post #9 of 15 Old 01-14-2020, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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He's a good boy!!! He came to me from quite a long way away today! Still takes a bit of persuasion to get a halter on him, but not as much. I haltered him, brought him into the yard to his dinner (4 or 5 steps at a time not 1 or 2, he's learning!) and then let him go so I could go ride Ikora. Then when they had both finished their dinners, because they get different things (and she's allergic to a couple of the things he gets), I haltered him again (took a little more persuasion because he knew he wasn't getting more dinner!) and then led him back to Ikora. He is learning. :)

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post #10 of 15 Old 01-14-2020, 11:23 AM
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He's super cute!
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Tears may get you sympathy, But sweat will get you results. > Clinton Anderson
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