Friday, December 17, 2010

Training Beautiful: Distractions

What's BG looking at, and why is she way out there?

Well, I was out working with her in the enclosed riding area when the neighbor's puppy (my puppy's best friend) was let out to play. My puppy, Riagan, always runs right to me, so I had two dogs running circles around the riding area. Beautiful was frightened, but she stood her ground. I got worried they'd come into the area, so I unhaltered her from the lunge line (we weren't lunging, the ground is too slick--we were just grooming and bending, etc) and walked the dogs back to the house away from her.

This is what ensued, and this is what Beautiful was watching from her turnout.

Now I'm just waiting for the dogs to finish playing--a Dobie and an Irish Wolfhound, what a sight--so I can go back out to her. In some ways, it's a pain to have my time interrupted, but the benefits (a tired dog), far outweigh the negatives. I like the puppy playtime--planned or not.

Speaking of training, how many of you have saddled trained a horse? Any suggestions from your own experience? I've done it before, but I've always had a professional around to help me out when it comes to the first ride. They've never had a bit of trouble though, which makes me wonder why I haven't done it. Fear of what? Possibly being bucked off and dragged around with one foot in the stirrup? Has it ever happened? No. But if I can think of it, it can happen. It's important for me to do the first ride this time. If I've done the groundwork properly, it shouldn't be a big deal, right?


  1. Looks like a fun Puppy PlayDate going on there. Poor Beautiful looks a little left out, though :(

  2. Probably so, but she really likes the dogs and cats. She has a playful side to her. In fact, I don't think she was so much frighted by the dogs as she wanted to join them in their running and it was all she could do to stand still for me.

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  4. Tonka gets excited when the dogs along for the ride get to playing too. It's kinda cute, but I'm glad he remembers that I'm on his back.

    Starting a colt scares the crap out of me and I'm not sure I want to do it. I've never done it. I love the idea of saying he was born into my lap and I've done all of his training though. I think Scout will be a really good boy but I'm sure we'll have our moments. He did great out in the woods but he had his "big brother" with him so it was no big deal.

    You're right, if you've done your prep work the first ride shouldn't be a problem. I think they say it's the third where they'll get comfortable enough to let you know if they're not happy. That and they're a little sore from the cinch they haven't developed a callus for yet.

    I have a pretty good book - Countdown to Broke - that you might check out. It really concentrates on round pen work in the beginning, but it's a good step by step reminder of what's next in the process, which is good for me because I tend to need a plan.

    I think you'll do fine as long as you think you'll do fine. But if you get scared she may take advantage of you. I'm not saying that in a judgemental way - it's just that getting scared is my weak point and where I've screwed up with Tonka in the past. He didn't take advantage of me, but it didn't help his spookiness. Bella totally took advantage of my sister's fear when she was starting her though. I don't know if that's a mare thing or just a difference in "horsanality."

    Sorry for the long comment, I guess I'm feeling chatty. :)

  5. What you say is true, Wise One. All too true. It is the 3rd ride, rather than the first. And they smell fear out so quick. I wouldn't be surprised if mares are better at it than others because mares have to choose leaders wisely, but they're all pretty good at it. I'll check out that book--I don't want to leave any holes in her training leading up to this.

  6. Every horse is different so you just never know but to me I think the really big deal is the horse being used to seeing you up and over them. For me, that's a big part of my desensitizing process.

    Because I raise my own horses I have the luxury of working on that from the time they are small. But if I was starting a horse I was not familiar with, I'd be figuring out a way to get above the horse without being on it until the horse was totally used to seeing a person over them and being comfortable with it.

  7. That's very good advice, and I've always done the same with my young horses--either sitting on top of the roundpen or ponying them from another horse. I haven't ponied Beautiful off a horse yet, and I haven't sat above her on this roundpen because it's too flimsy, so she hasn't had that experience of me being above her.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.