Sunday, September 11, 2016

Moving forward

Ok so you have started your horse in long lines and have ground driven them a few times. Big deal, right? Well Yes!!!! It really, Really IS! Because once you get them going in the lines, you can let the horse/ pony/ mule/ donkey/ four legged beastie sort their own bad self out with a little guidance in the right direction from you. Should we call that a WIN? YOU BET! Why Wouldn't we?

Just yesterday I drove my little man. It all seems good fron the pic's, right?

What you Don't see from this is the battle of wills that happened on both the way out and the way back in.... On the way out a mule came up from our left, behind us a bit and Little Man couldn't see it, but could hear and smell the mule. Then on the way back in, he got a little wigged out over the reflectors marking the sides of a small culvert going under the driveway. Lately he has been throwing out things like this. As. If! Whatev's babe... I don't have time for that crap so he needs to get over it.

Tonight I put him to work. This is where your hard work in ground driving pays off in S.P.A.D.E.S! I put his work harness on and we went to the round pen. Once little man was warmed up and had blown off steam I took him to the heart of His issue. Using my lines to keep him moving straight ahead we went thru the reflectors and a little ways down the driveway. There was times Kat would pause and just stop altogether, but using my voice I pushed him on and kept him moving. I aimed him a bit to one side and turned him around to go back.

As we approached the culvert and reflectors again, I kept Kat moving forward and expected him to walk right past everything with no problem. That's exactly what he did this time. We went a little ways past the "scary spot" turned around and went back thru. We did this several times in both directions without issue, going thru close to one side both directions, close to the other side and straight up the middle. I didn't let Kat stop and look at things until I felt he was comfortable knowing nothing was going to get him. Then as we approached I would stop him and wait a few seconds, take a few deep breaths and then continue on.

I know its not practical to be able to ground drive your horse and face every scary spot or obstacle, but times like this, it is a useful way to let the horse deal with their problem on their own terms and with your guidance and support, they know they can get thru it without a problem. This is building their confidence in You as their herd leader and the horses trust in you that you're not going to put them in a bad spot and that you can get them out of it if the horse just listens to you.

I also realize that Kat and I are further along in our work in the lines than someone just starting out trying this. If you're not comfortable working your horse in long lines yet and they are having an issue with something, by all means, wait and deal with it another day. Build up your confidence in Your skills first and then you can work on things effectively and make progress. You want to try to always set your horse up to succeed when you can. Ground driving and long line work is like riding and many other things. You don't just pick up the lines Knowing all about how to do this. Some people are gifted and more talented at it than others, but with horses, we all learn new things as we go along.

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