I decided to work Sam in his halter and do some ground work because of the issues we had yesterday. You can read about that in the post below. I started with the YOYO game. He wasn't very interested but soon gave up and would come back to me. I wanted to be able to move his hindquarters away while tapping them with the carrot stick. I have tried this in the past have end up tapping every hard. To the point that I didn't like using that amount of force. Today I decided that I just had to keep going until he gave me what I was after. Surprisingly it didn't take a lot of time or force today. I really don't like using that word - force - but at the moment I can't think of a better word.
I started with rubbing the rump with the carrot stick.
I then started stage one, very softly tapping - I noticed nothing in his demeanor except a tightening through his entire body. Stage one lasted three seconds.
I increased to stage two, the tapping became a little harder - his head went up. Stage two lasted 5 seconds.
I increased to stage three, the tapping increased a little more - he shifted his weight in his body away from the tapping. I immediately stopped tapping but rubbed the area with the carrot stick.
If I needed to go to stage four I probably would have increased the tapping again and used my voice as well and possibly have stepped into the area as well.
I gave him a break of about a minute. During this time licked his lips, came over to me and nudged me with his nose. I gave him a rub and talked softly too him. I then did the whole process again. I only had to get to stage two before he actually took a step!!!!!!!! This was huge! I stopped, rubbed the area and praised him! Lots of good boys and pats. I moved onto the other side and it went the same way.
We would go for a walk and try again. We got to the point where I only had to go to stage one.
I then moved onto riding him. I stayed in the halter because I felt like it really. I also wanted to see if I could move his hindquarters in the same way while on him. We walked trotted and cantered. Transitions up and down from halt up to canter and back down again. I then asked for halt and using the carrot stick while mounted I rubbed the area and started to tap. Sam was confused. A lot of head nodding, walking forward (this I asked his to stop by bumping the lead rope), moving the shoulders, moving the neck then I had one step sideways with the hind quarters!!!!!!! I rubbed the area and praised him! We had a break and Sam turned around and looked at me - I lent forward and gave his head a rub still praising him. We did it again, went through similar process but it all took less time. We kept going until I could tap and Sam would move. Then started on the other side. Sam had a bit more trouble on this side. I was tapping the near side. This is side that he brings on top of me when we load. I jumped off and went through the process on the ground. He was moving away at the rubbing only. I jumped back on and tried again on the near side. This time after head nodding, walking forward, walking in a circle, moving his shoulders he finally took a step!
We moved out at a strong walk after doing that exercise a few times. Up to a trot and I noticed Sam listening to my inside leg. I was on the right rein which is his good side. I put him on a 20m circle and used my inside leg to push him out a bit - he moved off it! I did it again just to make sure I wasn't feeling things and again he moved off it and he actually had bend through his entire body! He wasn't 'on the bit' but head carriage was level with his withers maybe a tad higher but defiantly not in the air and it was soft not tense. I took my leg off - bend gone, put leg on - bend back! Remember when I ride in a halter it is with one rein. THIS IS HUGE!
I changed the rein at trot and down the long side Sam moved off my inside leg. This time we are talking about his bad side - the left rein. Usually if i go down the long side on the quarter line and ask him too move off my leg he braces through his entire body and speeds up. I had tension but he didn't speed up and he moved off the leg and kept going until we reached the side! I tried on the other long side to make sure I wasn't dreaming and he did it again! THIS IS MORE THAN HUGE!
I changed the rein again and pushed him into a canter, around the riding area and few times then using my seat and voice I asked for trot, walk, halt. Nothing new to this except that he did it all on a straight line with no fence to keep him straight!
The last breakthrough we had today was - if Sam steps on his lead he usually freaks out, throws his head in the air and rushes backwards. I didn't notice but I was standing on the lead, HE GAVE TO THE PRESSURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I kept my boot on the lead and continued to move his hindquarters. He kept moving his hindquarters and giving to the pressure of his lead rope. I then slung the lead rope up over the saddle and Sam happily followed me back to the stable area. I also played the YOYO game just one more time and he was a lot happier to come to me.
Just to recap, our breakthroughs
- Moving the hindquarters using the carrot stick on the ground
- Moving the hindquarters using the carrot stick while riding
- Bending around the inside leg on the right rein in trot
- Moving off the left leg in trot without speeding up
- Transitions down from canter to halt on a straight line with no corrections required
- Not panicking when stepping on the lead rope