Training Dina: day five through eight

These photos illustrate the exercise of pulling. I’m normally mounted on the horse, but I was doing this exercise on this horse when she fell over. When Kathy took these pictures I was  in too much pain to mount.

In these photos I am applying very little pressure to her nose, just enough to tighten the mecate. She was relaxed and compliant this time.

A friend called to offer condolence after our fall. He told me that his horse fell in a similar way as described in the last post. He reminded me that the horse gurus suggest this method for disciplining and settling a horse down. It is not an aggressive correction. The exercise needs to be done mildly. When the horse is stationary, you pull the horse’s head around. If they are tense, they will relax. Pull both ways left and right. It seems to change their attitude. I’ve done it many times on all my horses and I’ve never had an incident.  The trouble is, if the horse attempts to move forward with it’s head pulled back in the manner previously described, it will fall. The horse must remain stationary; if not it is a recipe for disaster.

Stunt riders on the old western movies, before the humane laws, used this method to knock their horses down for battle scenes and such. It generally happens at a gallop. Next time you watch an old Western you can see the riders, usually at full gallop, pulling their horses, forcing them to fall. I bet the riders sustained a lot of broken bones when doing that stunt.

For the past three days Dina and I round penned gently for 15-20 min. I saddled her up and rode her two miles out and back. I kept her at a fast trot and slow canter the whole way. We worked at keeping a steady speed and keeping her from changing gaits on her own initiative, which she attempted often. I consider it a misbehavior for a horse to change it’s gait without my cue.  She was pleasant with no sign of crabbiness. As we walked up our own driveway, we practiced the half pass, halts and rein back.

I am slowing down the training and regimen. For the time being I just want to put some miles on her back. I will still make an effort encouraging her to relax, slow down, be soft to my aids and lose the crabby attitude.

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