PostHeaderIcon The Middle Horse Finger

Cisco and Fancy played at liberty with me in the round pen today. They ran around while I looked at Cisco’s back feet. He is still dragging both back toes. It occurred to me that maybe he needs to self-collect. I got the barrels in place with a space to run in between. Cisco scoffed at that and jumped. Fancy went to the outside through a space I thought too small for a horse. I gave th signal to stop running which Cisco obeyed. However, Fancy’s nose was looking outside the round pen so she got to run a lot more until she obeyed the sign to stop and turn to me.

I went over to set up the barrels so there was no space between and I added the mounting block as a jump obstacle with the barrels. As soon as my back was turned, Fancy comes to help me. We got it set and I told both of them to go. Cisco jumped and Fancy went through the small space between the fence and the barrel. I forgot to close up that space. They went around twice and I gave the signal to stop and turn towards me. Again, Fancy missed the signal and got to go extra rounds.

I fixed the obstacles and Fancy had come to help me. She is not quite trained to let humans have enough personal space. We did have several trainings sessions during our time in the round pen to get Fancy to back out of my personal space. We also practiced turning her hindquarters with my body signal,
and then the stick signal. She has improved tremendously. She moved from a low phase stick signal.

However, there is still resistance. When a horse backs or turns the hindquarters, they give up dominance. Backing is really the worst dominance battle.

I ask Fancy to back and she does. She is far enough away that I’m in no danger from her mouth or front feet. There are a lot of pinned ears and glare when she backs, but she is backing as soon as I ask and with some speed.

I ask her to back and she pins her ears and lifts her front leg. That is the horse version of the middle finger!
She got to back a lot after that. The really nice thing is that she backed hurriedly away from my monster forward shoulders and swinging back and forth stick. She did not run away or back crooked. That is amazing!

We got back to the barrels and jumping. She refused, turned and ran the other way. However, Cisco stopped that. Fancy turned and ran back to the barrels. She jumped. I gave her the sign to stop and turn to me and….and….she did in about 10 more steps. I took that. Our session was over.

I believe that barrel jumping helps Cisco gather his body up. He doesn’t falter or limp during the barrel jumping. He certainly needs to be exercised. It was only last year when I fed him alfalfa nuggets to get his body better filled out. Now he is on diet food!

Good session. A lot of improvement on Fancy backing and moving her hindquarters. The middle finger is a classic tale of a dominant people friendly filly.

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