Hmmph! It’s so hard to be patient with Jewels when she pulls out all her naughty shenanigans. There are days when she’s perfect. Then there are other days when she tries every dirty deed she can think of to foil our progress. Those are the days when I just want to give up. Feeling defeated and biting off more than I can chew. Days where she’ll prance and dance, paw and rear on the lead line because she can’t see her buddies, and anticipating my every move. Days that I think her capacity for understanding is far greater than mine. Working with her every day has given her an edge on me. Jewels is in far better shape than I am, causing me to tire out far quicker than she ever will. When I get tired, her training has to stop. I just can’t go on any longer because, every bone in my body is aching
Jewels definitely has a way of forcing me to think beyond the box. And, think beyond the box I did. Yesterday, was a new beginning for the both of us. For once, I used the thinking side of her naughty little brain to my advantage. In the middle of our session she pulled her usual crap. I don’t want to move any longer. I would rather be with my pasture mates. Instead of putting her up, I sat my happy ass on an upside down water bucket in the middle of the exercise pen. It wasn’t an ideal position for me, but I was going to win this battle of wits. She looked a bit perplexed for a few moments. I let her settle in for a couple of minutes more, then gave her the cue to circle to the right.
She flew off like a raging idiot for a circle or two, then asked her to stop and change directions. You are, not, allowed to move faster than asked! Jewels got the message loud and clear. I closed up the circles to shorter strides, asking her to slow down to a walk. After she lowered her head I moved her into a slow trot. Opening up the circle when she maintained a nice frame and a slow pleasing trot. If she chose to move faster, I closed up the circle. I have a long stick that I attached a flag to. It works really well for training purposes. And, it didn’t cost a fortune to assemble. I love cheap training paraphernalia. In this case, I used it to gage the length in which she moves around me. She can slow trot around me of about a 6 foot circumference. She’s yet to learn to lean into the circle but she getting better from day to day. A huge accomplishment on her part.
We must have worked nearly an hour moving in an out of the circles at two different gaits. The walk and the trot. She maintained a really nice frame during the whole process. When we were done working circles, I asked her to back up and stand on the end of the lunge line. I moved her forward towards me and back again several times. Then would ask her to cross her front legs and move from one direction to another. All of this while sitting on my back-side. Not to shabby for a worn out old lady. My next project to end the day was tie her up and let her stand quietly. She did not stand quietly! LOL She got to pawing the ground, popping up on her front end and hollering for her buddies. I just went out in the pen and got my bucket.
I sat that bucket just far enough away from her I wouldn’t get kicked if she had a mind to. She never has, but I don’t take any chances. I sat my back side on the bucket behind her and moved her feet back and forth asking her to reach under herself with a hind foot. She pulled back on the line a couple of times before she got the drift. I moved her back and forth on the lead line until she got the message. When she stopped being silly, I stopped asking her to move. When she got silly, we repeated the lesson. Finally after all was said and done, Jewels stood like a statue. Her head was lowered and she was licking her chops. Now, that’s a good horse! For the rest of the afternoon she stood quietly tied up.
Moral of this story is: Don’t under-estimate the power of determination.