Thursday, September 30, 2021

Building His Confidence


Things were crazy around here when I pulled out yesterday. Something got the horses riled up, and they were all running around like crazy, which scared Tumbleweed as he was loading. Part of me said, abort the mission! But the other side of me said, you can't make everything perfect, and he needs to know he can trust my decision to work today. The latter side won.

When we arrived at the trail head, he was still on edge, but we started our work on the obstacles in-hand. I didn't want to overburden him, since he has shutdown on them before, so I chose only one on which to concentrate. It's the bridge he has gone over 1000 times, but after the teeter-totter bridge, he firmly believes it is a teeter-totter in disguise. Before we can even think about mastering the TT bridge, we need to circle back on this one.

My daughter, who is due any day now, accompanied me. She and I think a lot like when it comes to training, so I bounced ideas off of her as I was working. Too much pressure? Need more? What do you see happening?

The winning approach for Tweed was a little bit of pressure, but lots of reinforcement. At one point, when he committed his front feet, and most of his back momentum, to the bridge, I stopped and kissed his sweet little mouth--which is something I do a lot around here--and he just immediately melted. It paved the way for several successful tries. A little pressure, a little release, lots of kissing. My training method!

After that, we did some work in the round pen and arena, and then rode out to try the obstacles in-saddle.

The Sand Box


The Poles. (This is one is good for teaching him to balance a rider while picking up his legs to maneuver over obstacles, something that still scares him. He seems to be very worried about his balance when we do these obstacles, so I take them slow.)


I apologize for the next one being crooked, but I sent it up to YouTube in the correct position, and it still processed it skewed. The Ladder. Last time I  tried this one with Tweed, in saddle, he refused it. So, this was a big, big win for us.


We did more of the obstacles, like the labyrinth and poles--going in, and backing out, but that gives you a good idea. I'm starting to use the obstacles more as a supplement, rather than an entire session. I'm going to build on them slowly, as he gains confidence. 

Today is going to be our first trail ride, and I think he's more than ready. It's a beautiful day, and I'm looking forward to it!

10 comments:

  1. Looks like he did great with everything! Nice work. I love how you reward him too!

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    1. Thanks! He did great. He did good on his first trail ride, too, but he needed some boundary reinforcement at times. He still has that baby personality where they push the envelope. He will have to learn trail manners.

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  2. That is a great trail course, and plenty challenging. You guys rocked it!

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    1. Thank you! It is an amazing trail course! I have to say, though, nothing is better than the actual trail.

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  3. Are you getting bot flies there? It's about the time of year they get pesky.
    Tweed looks great! Nice work on the obstacles.

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    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if we do. Tweed had his first long trail ride today. I’ll post about it soon. He’s coming along nicely. It marks a big, big change in our journey.

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  4. I hope your trail ride went well today. He's doing great at the obstacles!

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  5. I love how careful he is with his feet. It says a lot about him that he slows down to figure it out and is careful.

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    1. He is very careful. He doesn’t want to make a mistake.

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