Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Progress for Oak and Sick Baby Gray

Grayson has been sick for almost a week with some kind of virus. It is always so stressful when an animal you care for is sick. The poor guy had a high fever and was off his feed for several days. His symptoms were especially scary for me because that was how Bodhi's illness started. I know horses get fevers for all kinds of reasons, but my brain could not help but to go to the worst possible place. Luckily he is on the upswing now, and is recovering nicely. He lost some weight despite my best efforts, so I look forward to spoiling him now that he has his appetite back.

Getting fit and shiny
I have been too busy with work to update Oak's training log but we have had three sessions working on confidence with scary objects (using the ball and a flag) and two sessions ground driving. We also worked at liberty in the round pen on walk, trot, halt, and changing direction. He is prone to both anticipation and trepidation, so I am trying to balance keeping a routine so he can be comfortable, and keeping things interesting so he does not go on autopilot. Every day we work I notice improvements in his confidence and retention of new cues and tasks. I can bump his legs with the ball on both sides without him getting worried for example.

Ground driving is hard. I am not sure l if I am bad at it, or he is green, but we still have trouble traveling in a strait line. I guess it is a worthwhile activity, though I am not sure how often I should do it... or even why I am doing it... other than it gives him confidence with ropes around his flanks and legs and with me behind him and gives us an outlet to practice our frustration tolerance. Not sure if I should keep it up or not.

Do you use ground driving in your training? Do you have any insights or tips?

Oak Training Log April 10 and 11 2016

Location: Round pen, arena, and pasture

Duration: Three 30 min round pen sessions, one 30 minute arena session, one 45 minute session in the round pen and pasture.

Activities: Confidence building with the ball and flag,working at liberty on a circle, lunging in open spaces, ground driving, targeting, and confidence at the mounting block.

Observations: His biggest issue is anticipation.We need to be careful to really wait until he is listening before giving a cue. We continue to work through his lack of confidence with people, and his environment.

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