No Go, Oh No.

Reason’s new problem is moving forward.  On the ground when I’m leading him, sometimes he’ll stop, plant his feet and refuse to move forward.  After observing him, I can say that it sometimes could be attributed to his sensitive feet on the hard, sometimes rocky ground that we must travel to make it to the arena.  However other times, he moves forward through this terrain without hesitation. 

In the arena though, when I’m handwalking him, this continues.  In this case, I attribute it to just being lazy or stubborn.  Un-interested.  This is my fault no less.  It’s obvious by this stopping reaction that moving forward is just unappealing and therefore baby Reason is telling me, “let’s do something else.” 

For example, I took him on his first walk around half the property.  Following distantly behind another rider who was using the perimeter path to warm-up their horse.  I thought this would make Reason more enthusiastic, if he had another horse to follow.  It did.  On we went.  He was excited about this new walk.  He was on the alert, excited for what was next, but at no point did he try to rush forward or break from me.  He was on my aids.  I allowed him to do what he wanted, so long as he was still with me.  A little pacing here and there when a pasture horse came trotting up to the fence, but he still did not ignore my presence.  I was so pleased!

With Reason’s excitement and positive energy towards exploring this new space of the property, I had my answer.  However, I can’t let him get away with deciding when we do and don’t do something in the moment. 

First there is immediate reaction, then there is long term.  Basically, in the moment, he says “no.”  I say “OK, but we must continue.”  He says, “OK.”  We move on and then I re-evaluate to change to approach or program based on his reaction.  He is my teacher too! – This is my goal. 

But, I’m stuck.  How do you teach a horse to move forward on the ground, that doesn’t and doesn’t know the driving aids? 

I’ve looked into how you correct this and it is to simulate the leg aid with a crop.  Stand facing their shoulder with a crop in your right hand, lead rope in left.  Tap, tap at the side.  Horse walks forward, release and then proceed to back up said horse and do it again. 

I can’t lunge Reason.  I can’t put him in a round pen to start teaching him to move away from the pressure.  So how do I go about this? 

This is the newest question in retraining baby R.

Otherwise, I’m very happy with Reason’s progress.  I love his playfulness, spirit.  It’s all contained with his level head.  What a riding horse I think he’ll be…


2 thoughts on “No Go, Oh No.

  1. Don't you love the way they make you think??! You can't lunge him yet because of the injury, right?I think you'll find the right motivation for him, Keri, though I'm not sure what that is as far as he's concerned. Lena is extremely food-motivated. Bar, somewhat. Looking forward to learning from you!

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