Week 16 (11/26- 12/2)

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Easy week for her. We did a lot of leading this week. It occurred to me we never actually dedicated some time to it so that needed to be remedied.

I chose to do this in the pasture just so she didn't have a rail to follow like the round pen would have.

At first she really didn't want to walk forward with me so I had to use my stick and tap her butt to get her feet moving. Once we got that sorted out I had to teach her to stop with me and that really threw her off. When I stop I lean back a little and close my hand on the rope to create a "wall." If need be I will bump the rope and back the horse up so they are even with my shoulder. She caught on to this really quickly.

I challenged her a bit more on this by taking her out and working on leading over grass. I wanted to do this so I could introduce her to the other cues I use with my horses. At first I just focused on her basic leading especially stopping when I do. Throughout this whole time she was pulling down to try and get grass. I simply was ignoring the behavior and holding my hand up so she would bump herself when she ran out of rope. She caught on quickly and was able to walk around without consistently pulling down to get grass.  I then taught her the cue "grass." This is me saying the word grass and pointing down. She was really excited about this one and was a great way to reward her when she was leading well. Going along with grass I use the cue "up" to ask for their head back so none of that tug of war over grass nonsense happens. My horses are also lesson horses for a nine year old so this comes in handy. Flicka was less happy about this cue and leaving grass. In the beginning I had to bump her rope a few times after saying up to get her back but this will decrease as she catches on.

Leading is such an important fundamental of training yet not enough time is dedicated to it. Flicka is a bit more of a pushy horse as well so she definitely can use the extra practice and a few more handy cues in the book are never a bad thing either. After working on it all week her stops are really coming along and so is the grass cue of course but up needs a bit more work.

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