It’s been another great day working with Jewels. She is getting so soft and responsive. I’ve been working with her at liberty. She seems to be more willing to do things at her own pace. I’ve figured the less restrictions she has makes for a happier horse. Boy, was I right! Believe it or not, she learns far quicker using this method than anything else I’ve tried with her. We spent most of the morning setting up a small obstacle course. First we set up the bridge we had built a couple of months back. Then I got a brain storm in my head and decided to make it a teeter bridge. I used a 4×4, 8′ long and put it under the middle of the bridge. It teeters nicely without causing bad footing for the horses. Next we placed some long limbs we’d cut off a tree. We placed them so the horses could jump or walk over them easily. Next we laid 3 plastic barrels on their sides to use as another jump.
Our horses followed us around the whole time we were setting up the course. They’re a bunch of nosey critters. Jerzey being the pushy one of the bunch stayed in my pocket constantly. She’s quite the character. You have to watch her out of the corner of your eye all the time because she gets pushy towards the other horses and will run them over you if you’re not paying attention. As annoying as this can be, I try not to run her off. I don’t want any of them to be afraid to come to me when I call. Jewels has gotten to be just as bad as the other two. She’s always looking over my shoulder. And, for a horse who had previous issues being caught, this is a tremendous accomplishment for her and I. When we got through with the course, I had the grand-daughter grab the bag of treats when we got done.
The horses are vacuum cleaners on legs. It doesn’t matter if they’re in three separate corners of the pasture, they start collecting together and funneling towards the food. They never miss an opportunity to eat. For the most part, I can get them to do almost anything on the ground they’re capable of doing with treats. It sort of reminds me of dangling a carrot on a pole. Just point and lead the way. I grabbed Jerzey’s attention first. Coaxing her towards the teeter bridge, I asked her to walk over it. All of them will cross it flat on the ground. The true test of their confidence in me, will be, if they move over it while it rocks. Drum roll please! She did it! I was so impressed! Jerzey really is like a big ol lump of clay. I can mold her any way I like. She wasn’t trained well when I got her, but she’s proved to be an exceptional student. If she understands what I’m asking her to do, she will do anything. I have a great deal of confidence in her, either on the ground or in the saddle.
Handsome was so busy messing with his kid, I grabbed Jewels attention next. Jerzey unfortunately was still flanking me, but I let her observe any how. I messed with Jewels for a minute or two, then asked her to step on to the bridge. She was hesitant at first, but she was trying to step on it from the high side. Pointing her in the direction of the low side, she caught on quickly and placed a foot, then the second foot and finally all fours. Yay! With a bit more coaxing, she walked right over it, rocking it to the ground. She snorted loudly and lowered her head to investigate what just happened. She stepped off, turned around and congratulated herself. I could see in her expression. We both stood in a moment of glory.