Yesterday, I saw a little improvement in yielding the hindquarter, but little else worthy of comment during my round penning session with Ophelia. But last night when I brought her in to feed her a beautiful thing happened: she didn’t bulldoze the gate. She followed me at a respectful distance and stayed out of my space until I invited her in to get her food. No ear pinning at all. She was very polite. For Opie that’s really saying something. It would appear when someone calls you a horse’s ass, it’s because that’s where horses keep their bad attitudes.
But it also rained yesterday. (Hooray.) 3/10ths is enough to turn the riding ring into quick sand and the round pen into a pig wallow. The round pen dries out more quickly than the ring, but it’ll be a couple of days before it’s usable. So this morning I put Opie in her stall so her feet could dry out while she ate breakfast. (She spends her nights in the round pen to keep her from eating the entire planet and everything on it. You’re welcome.) But being in her stall meant she was in the barn. By herself. Unable to see the neighbors’ horses. You know – ALONE!
To her credit, she didn’t have a full blown panic attack. But when I pulled her out for her workout, she was extremely “anxious.” She had her Percheron on and our workout today wasn’t really productive. We worked in the pasture, walking and trotting circles on the 14’ lead. She gave me two eyes, but no good turns. The rest of the workout was spent yielding hindquarters, backing up and desensitizing. She needs a lot more of the desensitizing; I mean she’ll stand there and take a gentle flogging with the rope and the whip, but she won’t relax. Well not today. Too many distractions in the pasture. Much too agitated to begin with.
What I really learned today was that I need to learn how to yield her forequarters. When she goes Percheron, she uses her head and forequarters to bully me. A couple of times today she really got in my space and all I could remember from watching the DVD’s last night (I was really sleepy) was whack her on the head between the ear and the eye, after I asked her nicely, of course. She didn’t like that much but she did get out of my space. So there you go. A horse keeps her bad manners in her rear end and her will to dominate the universe is in her withers.
Which brings me back to the Clinton Anderson Fundamentals DVD’s.
DUH Review Part Two: The first disc is philosophy. Discs 2 through 5 are round penning and cover what Anderson does with a horse over a three day period. And you really need to watch them all, and digest them all before you begin to work with your horse. I didn’t know that. I assumed you watch the first one, go work your horse. When you’ve mastered one DVD you move on to the next. But nah. Not like that at all, mate. Watch them all. Watch them again. And then again. It’s going to take you a couple of days. Just so you know what to do when things really don’t go right.
My second complaint is Anderson admits that most problem horses are like mine – cold blooded, fat and rude. Yet the focus of his DVD’s is a hot blooded horse that is extremely sensitive and fearful. He does bring in a “cold-blooded” horse, but to my thinking his cold horse is luke warm compared to Opie. Other than a few minutes of camera time with his “cold” horse, the viewer is left to pull little nuggets of cold horse training wisdom from Anderson when he mentions them in passing.