Friday, February 6, 2009

According to H.T. Part 5

Our electric is back on, and we are starting to get things lined out around the farm. As Kentucky is noted for...if you don't like the weather today, wait until tomorrow. Today it is 55 degrees. While we have lots of mud, we are out of the ice age. :o)

We should have our horse moving well enough to start asking for direction. I try to guide my horse as much as I can with my legs. I try to stay out of the horse's mouth and keep my hands as steady as I can, with little pressure in the reins. Remember, we have already gotten the horse to guide with just a halter and lead, by teaching him from the ground. The pressure we applied during our ground sessions was in preparation for the time we would mount our horse and ask him to change directions and all the other things we have covered with our ground work. My methods may differ from what a quarter horse trainer would tell you, but it works for me on my gaited horses. If I want my horse to side step to the left, I put pressure on his right side with my leg, just to the back of the girth, the same as I would if I were asking from the ground. If I want to turn to the left, I extend my left arm just a little to the left, therefore putting pressure on his head or mouth and then squeeze with my left leg just behind the girth. This is asking my horse to bend around my leg. Once our horse starts responding we should start releasing the pressure. Remember your horse has learned to yield to pressure and once he has done what you asked, we always release the pressure as his reward. The less you have to get into your horses mouth, the better. We always want to keep the horse's mouth soft. We do not want to develop a habit of throwing or tossing the head, or pulling against the pressure. Don't ever try to force your horse into turning his head by trying to out pull him.

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