The rest of Jamaica's first session of 2014


After negotiating the route in from her turn out pen (see post from August 5), we needed to evaluate whether or not Jamaica knew how to tie. Some people are surprised that this is an actual lesson that needs to be taught, and I prefer to teach mine when they are a couple of months old. A foal that has been properly handled to yied to pressure will have no trouble with this concept. But if it's been skipped as a young horse, it will still need to be taught, it still needs to be covered before you can get to anything else!

The safest course of action is to first make sure the horse knows how to come forward from pressure, a skill that is not intuitive for them. By instinct, if they feel something pulling on them, their first instinct is to pull back. But they can be taught to do the opposite.

Like a lot of horse training techniques, it's all about the release point.

In the case of Jamaica, we thought that she MIGHT have some idea of how to tie, but we weren't sure. We proceeded to handle her as if she DID NOT know.

You'll see in this video (apologies for quality, once again, this is cell phone footage) that she correctly "answers" the question of "how are you supposed to respond to pressure of the lead rope to a fixed point"?

For the first step, you don't tie! You "pretend" to tie. You need a long rope (I like a lunge line) and a ring fixed to a wall or safe post. The rope needs to slide very smoothly through this ring.

You will also see that Mike deliverately puts some very consistent pressure on the rope...at