Two short video clips today of Tex, the pony who I recently started riding. The first is a clip of him getting his ears scratched. He was absolutely LOVING this! I wish I had the camera zoomed in a bit more, it was pure bliss on his face. However, you’ll get the idea. I think this clip is a good reminder that there are lots of ways to make our horses happy, besides just treats. If we pay attention to our horses, they’ll tell us exactly what they really do (and don’t) like. Then it’s just up to us to use this knowledge while training. If a horse appreciates a good ear scratch or belly scratch, this can be a great way to tell him that he’s done a great job.
Here’s the second clip, several minutes of riding Tex from this past weekend. This is the end of ride six. I wrote at the beginning of the week that we were having a bit of trouble sustaining forward motion. Things were going a bit smoother by the time we got to the point of this clip. We’re moving back and forth between a cone and a black halter rack (which is hard to see in the video). Moving between the two objects gave him a bit of direction and helped encourage moving forward. We’re doing sort of an “S” shape to get from one object to the other, so that it’s a bit more than riding from point to point.
One thing we need to work on is food delivery during riding. Tex is super flexible, as you’ll see in the videos. However, sometimes when he stops suddenly and then swings his head around too quickly, he throws himself off balance and has to compensate by moving his hindquarters. I’d like something a bit more calm and controlled! I have a few ideas I plan to try this weekend for modifying this behavior, so I’ll let you know how it goes.