Horse Training: Spic and Span 5/19/14

SPAN JRL 5 19 14 (1)SPAN JRL 5 19 14 (2)The round pen was dry enough, so I resumed my work on Spic and Span. When I come into their pen Span is often snorting and shy, bolting away from me. This compels me to work with him first.

I saddled him by the barn and then led him out to the round pen. He burst into a sort of “Yahoo!” buck with the saddle for the first time. And he kicked his heels at me. I received this behavior as disrespect so I pushed him harder but later Spic acted the very same way. Disrespect doesn’t seem to be in his nature. So I re-interpreted the behavior as a youthful springtime frolic. They were  rejoicing to get out to do something different. I presumed that I had read Span’s behavior wrongly.

Because of the springtime exuberance we spent more time getting a solid join up. Then I worked on ground driving with a snaffle bit. I mounted both horses in the round pen. Spic would not move. At this point in their training I’m very cautious about too much pressure; even using the kiss sound can appear to the beginner  too violent and provoke too extreme an action. I gently pulled his head around and lightly squeezed with my heels. He stood solid for five or ten minutes. I led him to the end of the driveway and after several minutes of gentle prodding he finally moved out. I did the same with Span. He moved out right away in the pen and when I led him down the driveway and mounted, he moved out freely with my gentle coaxing.

There is a clear difference in their general attitude. Span has a hot-blooded attitude; Spic is definitely a cold blood. This character difference seems to be consistent for each when mounted. Aside from being broad across the back, Span feels and moves like a light riding horse. Spic is quite different; he feels and rides lumbering like a draft horse. I wonder if this will change as he gets accustomed to having a rider.

F0r Spic and Span this was the first ride outside of the pen.


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One Response to Horse Training: Spic and Span 5/19/14

  1. Joy Hayenga says:

    Spring must have come to northern Minnesota, too. Glad the horses are enjoying it — and you too!

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