Well, Sante never ceases to amaze me!
I began yesterday, walking through the paddock with the friend that was with me the day before, both going to catch our horses. We got within about 20-30 metres away from our horses, and my friend called out to her horse - who's head immediately shot up, and she wandered over. I continued walking towards Sante, and was saying to my friend "See, we just don't have that anymore - he knows I'm here, he saw me before, and he's ignoring me" I took a couple more paces forward and called his name - Sante's head immediately shot up - and he nickered at me.
Don't ya just LOVE being prooved wrong!! When its like this - I'll take it any day :D
He started wandering over, NICKERED AGAIN and walked all the way up to me with a "You took you sweet arse time!" Look on his face. He was interesed, and ready to go.
We wandered out at liberty, and so began the plan for the day.
I'd previously decided with my friend that she would ride from the spelling paddocks, over to the main agistment facility (about 2.5km) - I decided to long reign Sante - I was thrilled at having the opportunity of someone else who is into natural horsemanship, have a look at Sante, and give me a second opinion.
We got within about 50 metres of the gate way out the back of the paddock, and Sante started with the avoidance behaviour. My friend was riding ahead - and continued so as not to interfer. I did a little tit for tat - Sante tried and tried to do his own thing, but having the long reins was brilliant, i just turned his bad behaviour into a circling game and asked him to trot until he wanted a second shot at behaving. His tantrum lasted a minute or two, and then he decided to leave the paddock.
Interestingly: All the spots he usually shies at didn't give him any bother today. I know we were riding out with someone, but they were well ahead... Sante should have been anxious to catch up, but he wasnt.
After a little way - We swapped positions, so that Sante was now leading, and my friend behind.
Sante's behaviour immediately changed, his pace slowed, ears went from being half back / relaxed to forward and alert, head came up and confidence dropped. We took it nice and easy, I let him stop, asked him to back up a little, and then got him moving forward again. His unconfidence passed quickly, and the head lowered, walk became nice and relaxed, slow swish of the tail, and nice slow blink.
He stopped a little, so each time he did i decreased the amount of time i let him stand.
Generally he did really well! At one time, I got one rein stuck in a branch of a tree, I asked him to "Woah" and "Stand" he did so immediately and i was able to unhook him. - The whole trip over was pretty good.
Once over there, i took everything off him and just let him chill out for a while.
I then put him in the round yard and hooked everything back up to him, with the intention of long reining him in the yard, and trying ot work on a little contact / collection.
My plan was simple: keep a contact on the inside rein and "play" with the outside rein until his head lowers & tucks. The SECOND that he felt the pressure and lowered his head, i released. I've played around with this idea once or twice before, but today i was trying to get 4-5 strides with his head lowered, using his hind quarters.
He pretty much mastered it in the walk, and we moved onto trot, at first he was not happy, kept throwing his head up, and trying to shake out of it, I kept up the contact until his head lowered and then immediately stopped everything.
As soon as he tried what I was asking I took the contact away and stopped the game. I was thrilled when every so he would look at me, and the look on his face was "Was that good? Can i come in now" I didn't deny him - and let him come in each time he asked. As a consequence, he offered more, and within 15 - 20 minutes, we were trotting half a lap in the round yard, with a lowered head carriage and REALLY using our hind quarters.
Again, I took everythign off ,and then just to see what I had - asked him for a few laps of trot at liberty.
He was strething out, nose to the ground, shaking his head and blowing out nice & relaxed. His trot was nice & slow, and I got the feeling he was quite relaxed, and enjoying having a stretch out.
Anyway - the trip back over was pretty uneventful, I only had to correct him once, when the rein became wrapped around my leg and he wouldn't stand still - but other than that he lead the whole way home, and was completely relaxed.
Overly Left Brained the whole time
Vey very rarely tripped or stumbled, unlike when he's ridden, he's always falling over his back feet.
So today i turned up - not quite sure how he would be - yesterday we'd done 5km - I'd long reigned him in a bit, and I wasn't sure how he would react to that - So i turned up (had the dog with me) and whistled out to him to let him know I was there - I could JUST see him on the ridge of the first hill in the paddock (bout 50m away) I tied the dog up, got her some water and wandered over to the gate - whistled out to him again, and called his name.
And walked over the whole distance without stopping. When he was about 15m out, another horse ran over, ears pinned to try to run him off, but Sante just weaved around him, never once taking his eyes off me and pretty much marched purposefully up to the now open gate, and went through without so much as a "Got cookies?"
WOW. WOW WOW.WOOW
We did absolutely nothing but chill out. Gave him a brush, and a bit of feed. The dog rediscovered her detestation of horses. Sante attempted to make friends on a number of occasions, but after being severly reprimanded for trying to bite Sante, she decided that if she couldn't see the horse, he didn't exist. Thus, she sat in the car with her back to him, refusing to come out unless he was no where near the car.
Well...... there's a new challenge!
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