Archive for the ‘Fancy’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Fancy Tales – Fancy Play Day!

I’ve been in California for over a week.  I had the most amazing time ever!  I’m back home and have a talented young horse to develop.  There is nothing better than a beautiful, talented young horse and a 60′ round pen!

The herd was in the far pasture across the lake.  I called Fancy’s name on my way to the barn.  When I stepped out of the barn with my assortment of tack, Fancy was waiting for me.  The herd was still in the far pasture, but Fancy came a good distance to see me!  I decided she needed some grain as an extra bonus reward and incentive for future join-ups!

Fancy and I played for nearly three hours!  Amazingly, the sun starts to go down now at 5:30pm.  Good Lordy.  Mother Nature is interfering with my horse play.

The plastic bag appears

Fancy and I started with the 14′ rope and halter along with the horsemanship stick with the plastic bag on it.  Fancy is just a little unsure yet about the plastic bag.  She obeys the plastic rustling bag and doesn’t quite trust it.  The plastic bag tried its best to be a friendly leader.  It even drug the ground in front of Fancy while we took a little walk around the round pen.  She didn’t step on it yet.  She has not yet tried to dominate the plastic bag.  We did quite a few things with those tools.  We always do a ton of backing as Fancy loves to install her body directly into the human body.  We are also doing a lot of hindquarter turns as she does not yet know the “hindquarter” body language code to turn and come to me.  I do not yet “own” her hindquarters.  Fancy feels that she is in charge of where her body goes, not me.  That is a topic under discussion.

Next I switched to the halter and 22′ rope. We switched to the horsemanship stick with the 6′ rope on the end.  She got to run around with me in the director chair.  We tried for a consistent gait.  We failed, but daily improvement is coming.  Again we did a lot of backing.  Backing is not on a dominate horse’s agenda.  Fancy’s agenda would be to insert her head into my body.  My body hates that.

Fancy thinks the string is an accelerator.  When I swing the 6′ string, she thinks that means run.  My body is turned away from her and in a relaxed posture.  I whack at the ground and Fancy takes off.  I keep whacking, body position neutral until she decides maybe she can stop.  When she stops running the rope stops whacking the ground and she gets rewarded with the stick rubbing her with love.  I shift with my body position facing her, tension on the 22′ rope and life up, I ask her to circle around me at the trot and canter.  The 6′ string occasionally talks to her.  We did some direction changes and hindquarter stops.  It wouldn’t yet be called a dance between her and me.  That’s the fun.  The dance is coming and it will be ballet!

Next is liberty.  I take the halter off and ask her to circle around me at trot and canter.  We have a stop when she decides to stop, but our dance goal is to stop when I give the body signal.  Another goal is to stop when I ask her with the horsemanship stick.

Heck, she has no idea what that stick means when I tap it up and down in front of her.  Se we return to the 14′ rope and the plastic bag on the stick.  We do the stick-to-me walk.  Her goal is to keep her head even with my hand (next to my shoulders).  We walk forward.  The stick is behind my body.  I move the stick in front of my body and tap it up and down while my feet stop.  That is her cue to stop.  Then my feet go backwards.  The human body posture changes into the backing posture, the stick thuds on the ground and she matches 1-2 steps backwards.  That is huge.  We do that for a while and next the human body decides to change directions.  The dance gets a little technical here while Fancy decides what her body is supposed to do.  She matches me darn good for her first time at change of direction.  We couldn’t have done this when Fancy first came to me as her goal was to put her head or shoulders inside my body.  We have achieved respect for my space now.  Running over me with her head or shoulders isn’t allowed.

I look at the sky because the sun seems to have changed and am shocked by the rude sun behavior.  The sun is setting.  What!  It’s only 5:00.  I decide that Fancy has done really well today and we should be finished.  But over on the fence, something is mocking me.  The driving bridle is mocking me.  ”You promised,” it said.  ”A young horse needs a driving lesson.”  OMG,” I replied.

Fancy was having a good time with the reward hay when I stepped beside her and asked her to raise her head.  ”You have to be kidding me,” She said.  ”I thought we were done and now you want to put a bit in my mouth?”  I persisted and Fancy had her bridle on.  I think her tongue wasn’t prepared and it was over the bit.  However, she got her tongue under the bit and was chewing hay.  Off we went.  She drives!  She turns when the reins ask.  Today, we didn’t stop when the reins asked.  The reins persisted, one tug at a time.  After we stopped, we tried the back up and it was successful after a few alternate tugs.

Finally, our development day was over.  She got to eat the remaining hay.  I haven’t trained a young horse in a round pen is about a hundred years.  The last one was Powder and she is nine years old.  Those  young horse memory techniques are hard to dredge up.

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