Monday, December 7, 2009

Update on Training

From what I can tell, most people around here send their horse to a trainer for 30 days, 60 days, 90 days or whatever, and get a trained horse back. I want to train my own horse. I don't want to just ride. I like the process. I just needed help ironing out problems, and I need feedback on my technique. I found the perfect trainer for us. Robin Bailey is a John Lyons certified trainer. She is teaching me to train my horse in a very methodical way. I love it. It makes sense to me and to my horse. She starts with a basic cues in the round pen, then adds a new challenge or twist. After her initial evaluation, she offered to pick us up in her trailer and use her round-pen a few blocks away. It's great to practice trailer loading each time. We've been working together regularly since the beginning of October. The most important lesson she gave me right off was about establishing respect. Calico is very dominant and pushy. Well, I knew that. What I didn't know was that her pushiness was sometimes very subtle. I thought as long as she wasn't running over the top of me, we were doing okay. She was 85% better than when I first got her. I was letting little stuff slide or just wasn't unaware of it. For Cali, it meant she was the leader of our tiny herd and she was making the decisions. There's no sometimes for a horse; either they are the leader or they're not. Big 'ah ha' moment for me.
We are both quick learners. Now that I understand this and can correct it immediately, she is much more respectful of my personal space. She is loading in the trailer easily, accepting new challenges and I look forward to each lesson. She's accepting a bit and responding to the pressure from the rein. Yesterday, we did a lot of work with a tarp. She took it all in stride.

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