I can't believe how much time has passed since I last wrote here! So much has happened. Bert is still very much a little boy being curious and wanting to be in your pocket but his is also grown up a lot. He is being ridden in English and jumping over small jumps and loping gracefully away. I had to go shopping to find a western saddle that would fit him due to his extremely short back but I found one and its making trail rides very comfortable and I'm looking forward to a ranch sorting on him.
I have been experiencing a flood of feelings on Bert's training. On the ground he is totally rocking it. We have been working on moving his feet (forward, backward, left and right) which gains respect, desensitizing, and clipping. One of my teenage students has also been helping me with the desensitizing. Bert has had plastic up and over as well as pulled it when it was put in a stirrup, big blue tarps put over him as well as placed on the ground so he must cross, and walked through a kids blue plastic pool. I'm totally happy and should be ready to ride him right... Well I'm nervous when I put my butt in the saddle and he feels that and scoots forward. I'm struggling to do all those things I know to do... say WHOA, pull his head around, jumping off is the very last resort. So being educated I have realized I need a new voice to help me out... so I will be taking lessons on Bert!
I went to Costco today and all the boxes left over called to me... Let's see what Bert thinks about boxes. He checked them out with a sniff and a snort literally sticking his nose to the bottom of the boxes and moving them about with his nose, bit them, and pawed them. Just a cool new toy. There are times which Bert jumps from quick movements; I suppose I don't through hard enough as he didn't care when the boxes were thrown all around nor kicked. I put them on his back. They wobbled a lot; he wasn't crazy about them but handled it and didn't jump at all when they fell off. When we were done with the boxes I went back to the trailer to work on sacking him out. I have found he is a little different every where he goes... he has to be shown what is expected in every location. We worked on the saddle pad and then the clippers. Currently he hates the clippers. You know what that means... Every day he will get clipper training.
March was an interesting month for teaching... Bert got his first lesson with having a blanket on. He looked like a little boy dressing up in his mommas clothes as all the blankets I have are for Sugar and Rosie- both much bigger horses than he is. He was so grateful though for a warm snuggly blanket in this wet, wet snow that chilled him through what was left of his winter hair.
On the sunny days we have been working on giving to the bridle, steering, and overall ground manners.
We are on day three of working with a bridle - or a bit in Bert's mouth. The first day I didn't have the bridle tight enough... had to move a bit to another bridle that I could punch holes in and shrink down. So the first day there was a lot of funny faces and moving his tongue all around. Second day was better and we worked in the round corral at the walk, trot, and lope as well as worked on side-passing both directions and turns on the hunches. I am amazed at how he crosses over his feet not hitting them. Very aware. Third day was a repeat of day 2 however progress is really showing as he has accepted the bit. When I take off the bit I am asking him to drop his head and give before I remove the bridle. Don't want to have to be reaching to put the bridle on or take it off.
When I first got Bert the grass was still green and lush... he showed me what a pig he could be! My mom and I were letting the horses graze as we held their ropes just enjoying the sunshine. Adam was playing at his sandbox which has this cute little blue umbrella attached to it. Well as any three year old will do, Adam took the umbrella down and started opening and closing it as he came to us. Bert spooked right into Sugar who kicked him (luckily they were very close so not hurt) but once that was done he stopped and just looked at Adam and his umbrella. Didn't move a muscle when the umbrella started flapping again. Later on I took him for a walk with the umbrella no worries there. Then today when I took him from his pen to the round corral I figured trash day was tomorrow why not show him the trash bag. Of course the trash bag wouldn't come out of the can so I had to yank it around, Bert is steeling hay from the stack and could care less about the trash. The broom that was leaning on the hay falls down doesn't move. Show him the trash bag and dump it in the big trash can makes him flinch but that's it. So it leaves me to wonder is Adam the horse trainer or am I?
Welcome 2016! Happy Birthday to the horses. Did you know that most equine associations consider January 1st to be all horses birthday?
The last few days have been warmer finally so I've been getting out with Bert and Sugar. My round corral is of course frozen so not been doing much but working on giving to the halter and desensitizing him to the rope, patting, and jumping up and down around him. He is coming to me in his corral now when I catch him which is so much better. I dislike chasing horses in any size pen and feel it is important that they come to you instead of running away. Makes catching in a pasture or if god forbid they get out to catch them. Lots of exciting work to come....
In my horse search I was unable to find the perfect finished horse so I figured that Sugar is a wonderful horse I'll try again. So I found Olena Bert Dunit aka Bert. He is a 2 year old buckskin gelding that when I went to see we had that magical connection moment. Now as I work on his training the question stands will I sell him and do it again or keep him forever?