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Great job with the donkey!

Are you using a lunge whip when ground driving? I usually start a ground driving session with the horse going around me in a circle like lunging. Then I gradually get more to the side until they are doing a circle with me almost behind. Finally I cross behind and start driving them off the circle. If they get confused, I try cueing with the whip first, then go back on the circle if they get really stuck.
 

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In my opinion, an inexperienced horse and rider combination is just fine if the person has critical thinking skills, is willing to adapt, ask questions, be open to new ideas, and just keep trying. Like yourself. Those things also work for people with more experienced horses with bad behaviors, but a clean slate is always easier than trying to remove bad habits. Still, a clean slate with a difficult (nervous, reactive) temperament can be a very bad match for someone who does not have experience with shaping a horse. Some of the easiest horses to work with are young, inexperienced, mellow stock type horses that believe the best about people and are very trusting. Pretty much anyone can turn them into a reliable riding horse.

I'm sure you probably know this about jumping, but perhaps a reminder. It is very helpful if you have a tendency to be nervous if you don't look at the jump at all, almost pretend it isn't there, and look far beyond it as if you're simply going to be riding around the arena. "Look where you are going," my instructor would say. I too have stopped horses dead in their tracks by looking at the jump, and then directly on the other side, and riding my horse to that exact point.
 

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I've been reading a lot longer than I've been posting and I just can't help myself: @ACinATX your journal and your questions on this board are so helpful to me. Thanks for putting your experiences down here.
I've been wanting to mention this too, that you bring up great topics that are food for thought and helpful to many people.
I really like how your mind works and the questions you ask.

Don't mind me because I've been accused of being very prissy when it comes to clipping horses. In the past my friends have said, "What do you think?" and I've said, "Well, do you mind if I just run over this spot for you, and this spot and this spot..." and an hour later...
I'll just say that you can always run over it again the next day, and the it will only make things better if you wish. But if you wait several days it will be too late. But it always looks better after a week or two, no matter what kind of job you do.
 

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Oh, yay, the clipping looks beautiful! Very nice. It's really just about taking more hair off, right? Then it's like anyone can do a good job. That was quite funny about spooking the other horses while training Pony. I'm guessing T would not make a good driving horse, but Pony sounds like a great candidate.
 

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I had a similar thought. I guess, maybe, this has all worked out OK in the end. I mean, except for me being traumatized LOL. Although maybe that's not even bad, since it will hopefully lead me to being more careful in the future. But it was very bad of me to allow it to happen in the first place. I mean, wow. All of the things that could have gone wrong.
We all do stupid things with horses sometimes. I've tied to a fence rail that was nailed to the inside, and had the horse pull it off, I've gotten in a cart without having the reins and had the horse start running off, I've tied to a feeder that was not secured to the wall and had the horse pull it off. Plus many other things. We need to avoid dangerous things and learn from our mistakes, but realize that everyone has "moments" where they don't think things through completely or think nothing will happen, and choose wrong. If no one gets seriously injured, these are just things to learn from. Horses are also very forgiving of our mistakes.
 

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I loved Little Black when I was a kid. That's a great name in my opinion.

My friends have had a few mini horses, but everyone knew my favorite was Star. She was a little black mini (passed away now), and I loved her best for two reasons. One was because all the other minis were geldings, and she was a feisty mare who once bolted away with me in the middle of a parade. The other was because she made me think of the Little Black stories. She was a rescue and came with the name Star, but we always thought the name was funny because she didn't have any markings.
 

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Oh, I looked up horseball because what you were saying didn't make sense to me. I thought you were talking about horse soccer. That looks like a pretty fun sport. Almost like polo in a way. I've played horse soccer, and that one might work out for Moonshine since she likes running into things. I only used friends' horses to play because my Arabs didn't like running into balls. Their horses loved attacking the ball and kicking it forward. They used smaller balls and larger ones.


Anyway, it's another fun thing to play with horses and you just need an arena and a ball. We used to run the ball through two barrels set up as the goal.
 

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Very funny about Moonshine. Your daughter is right, ponies are much harder to ride than horses. :)

When I'm loading alone, I don't rely on the horse to self load, but will lead the horse in and just put the lead rope through a loop, so it's not tied but just threaded through something. Ideally there is a hay net and the horse starts to eat. Then I go back around, do the butt bar/strap, and then go back to actually attach the horse to a quick release tie and remove the lead rope. Seems like a fairly easy process for me. Unloading, I do the opposite. Attach a lead rope and undo the quick release, but loop the lead around something to "fake tie." Then undo the butt bar, go up to take the lead and bring the horse out. If they start to come out early it's not a big deal, but I'd rather have them think they are tied so they are in the habit of waiting for me to come and lead them out in a controlled way.
 
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