Tex is moving forward under saddle. At least, that’s the goal! Recently, I posted a bit of video footage from Tex’s second ride. He’s had about half a dozen rides now, most about 10-15 minutes long. We’ve been playing around with stop and go, as well as steering. I want Tex to be really confident with the basics before we begin more complicated tasks, such as faster gaits and riding outside the round pen.
One challenge for any training program is deciding how fast to introduce new concepts. If we move too quickly, the horse is liable to get frustrated and confused. If we go too slowly, some horses will get frustrated and bored. Finding the balance is the hard part!
Tex is a laid back little pony and learns new concepts quickly. Once he was pretty comfortable walking around with me on him, I started introducing a bit of steering, as well as adding a cue for moving forward. However, I realized over the weekend that he’s still a bit confused with the moving forward when I ask and definitely has trouble sustaining this for longer periods of time.
So, I think we need to scale back and just focus on moving forward for longer durations. At the end of our ride on Sunday, I had him moving back and forth between two cones, which was working really nicely. Having the cone to move toward gave him a reason to move forward.
Next ride, I plan to hang several more cones on the round pen so that we can spend some time criss-crossing back and forth, touching the cones. Our aim (eventually) will be continuous forward motion. Right now, we’re still at the stage of ten steps forward, stop and contemplate our surroundings, then another ten steps forward. Which is fine for now! I want him to have plenty of time to think through things.
However, I think I moved too quickly to working on adding a cue for moving forward, as well as steering. He was a bit confused a few times over the weekend and I think it was because we were trying to train for too many new things at once. If we can get steady forward motion, it should be easier to work on steering, as well as working on discriminating between appropriate times for starting and stopping.
I did get some video, but I haven’t had time to edit it yet. I’ll try to get a bit of it on youtube later in the week. He’s actually doing really well considering he’s only had half a dozen rides. It’s important, though, that we get some of these basic components really solid at the beginning. This will make later tasks much easier to teach.