Storm's day...Good, Naughty and Great!
Good, naughty and great all in one session? Welcome to horse training! If you think there aren't ever any days where they give you some "tude" then you're dreaming!
Storm's rebellion for the day?
I said "walk forward" (and this happened to be away from the gate) and he (for the first time) said "nope"! So he got a great big swat on his fanny. He's had that before and been a peach, but today, he got his panties in a wad and bucked and kicked out...then he got a REALLY big smack on the fanny...and then we were fine. Got to nip that right in the bud! You ALWAYS go forward when told....very, very, very important. Horses that don't get this down solid are the ones that start refusing to to foward, then that escalates to backing up and then that leads to rearing and spinning. So...yep....big, big mistake....but I was sooooo happy he made it today. Colleen looked at me like I was crazy. But I much rather settle this in the long lines than have him wait and pull it out when we're riding.
He's a smart, super kind horse and I find I'm liking him a lot! There are a bunch of pictures here of me lunging and then reviewing his long lining. Then Mike, as usual, took over for me for his first "step ups"!
Colleen's arena has beautiful lighting and she's done a good job on the footing. If you're going to train a horse, you've got to have a space to do it in and this is a nice little arena to start one in!
Another plus is that those clear panels up top make for some really nice soft lighting for Mike's photos!
Here's Storm (by the way, I found out his nick name is "Bucket"!) doing a really nice bend for me.
Mike, asking him to stay soft while he starts putting some weight in a stirrup. This is the second "phase"! The first phase is too hard for me to photograph...it's Mike just bouncing up and down next to him. Didn't phase Storm at all, and Colleen thought it was odd...but we have had some horses shoot right out when Mike does that...you just never know!
More bending...and notice, the submission isn't just about the bit or bridle...here Mike's asking for it from the forehead.
Moving on to the right side. Repeating everything that he did on the left.
Bending to the right is a little harder for Storm...which is common.
Here, Storm is doing a really good job and you can see the way he focuses!
Above, Mike is checking to see if Storm will move over from pressure by using his knuckles and clucking a little.
Up he goes!
There's a reason that I have Mike do this part...he's really, really good at it. Notice that even though he's on one side at this point, he's got his upper body centered over Storm, with his shoulders facing forward, so that the saddle isn't pulling too far to the side...that would be really uncomfortable for the horse and you don't want that if you can help it! Also, he has Storm bent around so that they can keep an eye on each other.
Pleased to say that Storm took it like I thought he would.
The pics below are the same sequence on the other side...mounting from the "off" or right side is something I never learned to do, but Mike's great at it and it's a super skill to have. Accustoming a horse to seeing the rider from the right eye is very important at this stage, as it's a view he'll have the first time he makes a turn to the right with a rider up!
In this picture, you can actually see Mike cuing Storm to take a couple of steps to the right with his hind legs...remember when Mike was tapping him with his knuckles...we're hoping he'll remember that. It took Storm a bit to get confident that he should move. He didn't seem scared, but more concerned that he was really supposed to move around while Mike was up there! He passed this with flying colors!
And Ta Da!!! Isn't he all grown up looking and handsome!