Horse Training: Johnny, Day Six through Eight

The Pin Wheel

In the pen Johnny dawdles along so. He trots and canters, but at walk he acts bored.  On the trail perhaps he is a little slow as yet, but he moves out with some curiosity. Some horses like to work on the trail, some in the pen.  Johnny is one of those horses who enjoys the trails.  I have been dividing my time on him pretty equally between the trail and the pen.  Day seven we took a nice trail across a creek, through mud, over logs and through brush. He responded to the obstacles as good as any seasoned trail horse.

The exercises on the videos are Dina and Molly and Johnny and me doing the pin wheel. This exercise proves a certain amount of dexterity in steering and comfort level for the horse in moving close to objects.  Most horse at beginning levels are claustrophobic about being ridden too close to fences, barrels etc. This is Johnny’s eighth day of training with me.  I normally wouldn’t or couldn’t introduce this exercise so early in training, but Johnny is generally bold and unlikely to fall apart (so I thought).  Since we were doing the video of Molly, I thought it would be interesting to give it a try with Johnny.  At this point everything is new.  He barely notices my ‘thumping’ forward leg cues and is completely clueless about lateral cues from my legs, and of course he does not neck rein.  One of my hands is preoccupied holding the pipe, leaving only one hand to steer.  It is a wonder that we could do it this good.

Dina does not neck rein, but she is responsive to Molly’s leg cues both forward and lateral.  In the video you can see Molly adjust the shape to a more perfect circle when she needs to. These lateral adjustments are done with her legs.

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