Sunday, April 15, 2012

baby steps with the LIttle Man

Just have to take a moment to jot down what I did with Apache Moon today. I went and got him in from the field a little after breakfast and spent a fair amount of time with him in the barn aisle - doing some targeting with the clicker, then working with him to stand while I groomed him and tacked him up.

The wind was gusting through the barn and there were various mowers and things running in the neighborhood, so I was extremely proud of him - he stood nicely without being tied for about 90% of the time and the other 10% entailed a few half-hearted attempts to walk away, no more than one step each time. He really did a good job.

The big thing we did that made me really happy today was our first baby steps in ground driving. My husband was out doing chores and able to help me just to make sure nothing wild happened. I got the long lines hooked to his bridle and through the loops on his bareback pad, and husband stood at his head so I could make sure the lines touching him behind and all down his hind legs didn't spook or upset him.

He really could have cared less.

We did three little sets of walking and halting with the lines in the barnyard, with me in full control and husband at his head just in case. I really wanted to do more but on the other hand really wanted to stop with a very solid success and not push him past his limit today.

But based on how it went I'm extremely excited about what we have to look forward to as we learn more and do more together. The wonderful thing about the pony is that he is small enough that I can easily see his entire body, including head and neck, from behind him, which will be such a great learning tool for me as I get further into this kind of work.


Bravo, Apache Moon!


8 comments:

Kate said...

Very good stuff! Ground driving can be very helpful for all sorts of things . . .

billie said...

Kate, I am eager to learn this new thing, and also happy that it's giving me something do very specifically with the pony. He's looking at me with great interest now when I walk out - the way he has done with daughter for years now. Yesterday they were all busy grazing and as son as I walked through the gate his head popped up and he waited for me to get to him. A big day will be when he meets me at the gate like Keil Bay does. :)

Grey Horse Matters said...

Ground driving with the Little Man sounds like a wonderful idea. I know he misses your daughter riding him and this will be a fun new way to keep his interest up in learning and he'll feel useful again. It's just a matter or time before he starts coming to meet you at the gate too.

billie said...

A, the clicker work was all aimed toward getting to this step - I wanted to have a very clear way of working with him before we launched into something so new to me. He was a total champ yesterday so I'm ready to crack a bottle of champagne over the proverbial stern. :)

Greta said...

What fun!

billie said...

Yes, it WAS! :)

Victoria Cummings said...

You're inspiring me to get back to ground driving lessons with Siete. I have Mark Rashid's video on ground driving , which I recommend as a way to get started and avoid potential train wrecks. So what kind of driving cart are you looking at? I think this is a great idea!

billie said...

We're really fortunate to have a huge driving community here, so I've been in touch with several trainers over the past few years and am hoping we can find something used in the way of harness and cart when/if we get to that point. :) The pony's breeder told me she did a bit of this work with him early on in his life so I am thinking that's why he is not at all bothered by the long lines!

My ideal plan would be to get him going with the ground driving, get him used to harness and pulling poles on the ground, get him used to blinders - and then go with him for two weeks for the actual cart training. Happens that my favorite writing retreat place rents out their stable to a driver, so it could possibly work really well.

We're not in a hurry with this though - will see how things go and if he enjoys it!