Horse Training: Here’s Johnny, Day Two

Johnny' 2nd Day

We did all our introductions with lots of time devoted to round penning. After the round pen I saddled him and he bucked the saddle the same as yesterday. Then I introduced the bosal and we took a trail ride. Our lesson for today on the trail was the halt and walk-on. We repeated this many times. The cues for halt include in this order: a verbal, deliberate, long and clear “whoa”, shifting my weight back or rolling back on my pelvis, taking my calves away from his sides and finally pulling one rein straight back to my stomach. With Johnny not knowing my “whoa” cue as yet, he took two or three steps into my pull before he would stop and then wanted to commence forward immediately. I made him stand for thirty seconds or so. He was calm so he was willing to stand with just a little encouragement.

I chose a rawhide bosal because I could see from yesterday that he didn’t have much respect for the halter as bridle. I want my new trainee to thoroughly understand the reining cue before I introduce a bit. I use a halter or bosal rather than a bit to save his tender mouth. In Johnny’s case I never applied more than a few ounces of pressure but shortly he will learn to stop as I lift my hand, anticipating the pull.

The walk on cue includes in this order: a kiss sound, squeeze my legs starting at my hips to my calves and finally my heels. In Johnny’s case he starts immediately with the kiss sound.

As a side note: In the first few days with a colt who is new to me I am making a lot of tactical decisions about how to proceed with the art of horse training based on intuition and first impressions of the colt’s character. I can make a more scientific, methodical plan if I already know the colt. It is interesting that Pearl and Johnny, though both Stampin Kid foals and both very willful, are quite opposite in their social aspect of character. Johnny is very gregarious and outgoing and Pearl ,though not shy, is aloof and reticent about forging into a relationship. This causes differences in the way I preceded with Pearl and now with Johnny. With Pearl I had to be careful about pushing myself on her to too hard with the next step not wanting to invade her sense of propriety causing her to rebel. With Johnny I can push him into new situations quickly because everything seems fun and interesting to him.

Pearl's 2nd Day


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