I just have to start this post with… To learn, we must first make mistakes.
Reason has been enjoying his new stall with attached paddock. He seems very happy and more at ease there. I couldn’t be more pleased with how he’s doing there. The only thing is that the new stall is clearly where he wants to be as I have a hard time getting him out! Silly bugger.
I am happy to report that Reason’s level of relaxation and resistance (in reference to both some mental but mostly physical resistance) during our roundpen sessions is consistently improving. Before, Reason could not move forward more than a couple steps at the walk (and as in move forward I mean an over-track) without tossing his head and reacting. Now he’s consistently over-tracking at the walk with a happier expression and no resistance/reaction. I am only assuming this is a positive sign. The trot is getting better too. I can see all the gaits opening up more.
I have started bringing tack into the picture, with the addition of the bridle recently. I want all the tack to associate with positivity. He’s carrying around the bridle and bit comfortably, which leads me to believe that whatever caused such a strong reaction while the halter was even on, is now no longer a problem. Yesterday I added the saddle for the first time. I secured the stirrups, but they still made noise which made him react in a similar way when I started adding the bridle in. I noticed his back seems tight, which I believe is pretty directly attributed to how he carries his head high. Reason is getting the idea that lower is in fact better so there is definite light at the end of the tunnel that this all will change in just a matter of time.
I’m doing pretty light sessions with tack, to make it simple, quick and easy, as to not overwhelm Reason. Adding time as we go and hopefully I will be in the tack again soon. My idea is to get him going comfortably in all tack and even very short sessions in the side reins. (I’m not a huge fan of side reins on young horses, but I think it will help him get a better idea of a better place to put his head.) Once he’s doing well, I’ll add myself into the picture and do short walk sessions at the end of our roundpen time. Slowly building onto that.
To look into the more detailed breakdown…:
1. Add saddle +bridle 3x’s/week, 5-10 minutes each time
2. 2x’s/week Roundpen no tack
3. Add 2-5 minutes each day 3x’s/week every week w/ tack.
4. Build up to 15 mins of full tack work where horse is moving consistently relaxed.
5. 1-2x’s/week for 2 weeks add in 2-5mins per week of under saddle at walk.
6. Week 3, up to 3x’s/week under saddle at walk, adding 5mins to each sessions each week.
7. Once up to 25 mins of walk under saddle, add in trot, at 2 mins each week.
That’s a basic idea. We’ll see how it goes!