Monday, May 23, 2016

So Much Progress!

I have been working on a lot of different skills in the past week with Oak and Gray and they have both been awesome. Not sure what I want to write about so I think I'll just make a list:


Confidence with obstacles
Working with walking, trotting, and backing over the tarp and between barrels.

Milk jugs! He was cool with trotting around with them attached to the saddle on our first session. Did not expect that! Got the idea from this video
Back Massager. My vet actually recommended this one as a precursor to clippers. Glad I am putting in the time on this one because Oak was uber skeptical of the vibrating noise at first.

Following a feel on the lead line
Remember I was failing at getting him to trot behind me? I watched this video by Stacey Westfall and tried out her technique. It worked! He was starting to trot behind me on the first

Increasing speed at the trot on the lunge line.
This is a precursor to cantering. Haflingers (and other drafty horses) can have a hard time cantering. From previous experience it takes a lot of patience and conditioning to get it right.

Catching Game

Had success in the pasture - our largest area yet!


 We have worked on lunging (he is now trotting almost an entire rotation which is great progress) and desensitization -he is getting pretty comfortable with the massager, but is pretty unsure of those milk jugs hanging off him! We have also played the catching game. Gray has caught on quickly to this as well.

What other skills do you think are essential before moving on to riding work? I have some thinking to do on what I think our next month is going to look like. I think Oak is communicating to me he is ready to progress, but I need to decide what that looks like.

Oak Training Log

Duration: 5/15 - 30 mins, 5/16 - 30 mins, 5/19 - 30 mins, 5/21 - 15 mins, 5/22 - 20 mins

Location: Arena, pasture, roundpen

Activities: See post

Observations: See post


  1. Nice work. In terms of what is essential before getting on is getting a 'whoa' installed. That way if you run into trouble and say 'whoa' he will stop immediately.

    1. Good point! He stops on line with body language but I have not been using the word whoa

  2. Looks like you're moving forward very nicely with the horses. I'm afraid I don't know too much about them right now but I'll start following you today.

    The only thing I might recommend that was a huge help to me is training on the longe. There is a wonderful book that is so helpful and easy to follow step by step and it has invaluable information on each page. The book is: The book is: HORSE TRAINING IN – HAND
    By Ellen Schuthof-Lesmeister and Kip Mistral
    I found it on Amazon.

    1. Thank you for the book recommendation! I have another one called "Lungeing and Long-Reining" but I did not find it very informative. I will look into the one you recommend though!