Monday, April 6, 2009

Megan's Turn

So a couple of weeks ago...you know, when we had one day of spring, one day of summer and one day of fall weather before we slipped back into winter...Teeheehee

Miss Megan gathered up her favorite little black mare, Snip and gave her, her once a year handling session. I'm just kidding. Actually, Megan has a very soft spot for this little mare and has been determined to use her to practice her groundworking skills with. Although I have been hesitant to turn Megan loose with anything that is not reasonably well broke...the fact is, she is not as little as I like to think of her and she does know what she is doing. The only way to get better is to let her work with horses that are not tremendously strong and although green, do have basic leading skills.

So here is Megan, doing her thing...
**caution, the wind is blowing in this video, so it is annoyingly scratchy sounding. You may want to turn your sound down.

video

I'm sure most everyone has watched clinicians do this exercise, so it's not anything new. But I think this is a pretty good example of what it looks like when your horse is being less than cooperative. It's really noticeable just how much moving of your feet it takes to stay in the correct position. When the horse doesn't really want to move their feet, that is when the person has to work harder to stay just behind the shoulder and work at pushing the horse forward.

I stopped videoing in a spot where Snip was not wanting to move her feet at all. Megan was doing all the right things, but Snip just didn't want to move. At this point you have several options. Myself, I would step toward the shoulder and swing the end of the lead toward the shoulder in bigger and bigger arcs until the horse moved away from me. I would just keep swinging that lead and letting it pop the horse on the shoulder until the horse could not stand it anymore and moved away. Megan chose another route. She stopped trying to push the mare away, pulled Snip so she faced up, stepped to her and then led her a few steps. She kept doing that until Snip finally moved off in the circle again.

There's always more than one way to do something and still get the same end result. The point is that you are working toward an end result. It took Megan and Snip a little longer to work through things, but they did and the end result was Megan leading Snip all over the corral, through a gate and in and out of the barn. Something this mare has not done in years. I told mom, we better be careful or we will look up one of these days and that mare will be saddled and Megan will be riding her...I was only about 1/2 kidding!

10 comments:

Mikey said...

I'm surprised she doesn't have her saddled already! She does great! She's got a good teacher :)

Paint Girl said...

Wow! Megan did a great job even with all that wind whipping through! My horses would have been bucking and kicking and not cooperating with the wind!

Pony Girl said...

What is the background on Snip? Is a broodmare or just a young mare that isn't broke yet?
I'm impressed, I think Megan did very well! You could tell after Snip's last big pull-away, she was just resistant and being stubborn. I'm glad Megan found a way to get work her through it.
In a situation like this, I like using a carrot stick, or whatever you want to call it. It is a nice extension of the arm and the rope end is like tossing that line from a safer distance. I toss it at My Boy's shoulder to drive him forward. However, one of my sister's mares, is so resistant and bull-headed at times, you could toss that thing at her and she stands there like a wall. With some horses, it's so hard to get them to move their feet!

Leah Fry said...

That little video was very helpful to me, since this is exactly what it looks like when I try to get Poco to move around me. He gets the same attitude as that mare! You've seen videos I've posted where he'll move out if it's "play," but the second you get "business" in your head, that horse turns on a stubborn streak just like your mare. Watching Megan move herself was helpful to me.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Paint Girl-There is "always" some wind at mom's-LOL. There can be not so much as a breeze at my house-drive out to mom's and the wind is blowing.

Pony Girl- A lot of times, I'll use a buggy whip too. Megan said she wasn't comfortable trying to handle the leadrope and the whip, so I just let her work it out. Snip is another one we raised. She is 10 this year. She wasn't broke because she got kicked in the knee as a 2y/o and was never really sound for several years. Mom wanted her broke, but was afraid to send her to anyone-worried they would ride her to hard and permanently wreck her knee and I was in AZ so couldn't do it for her. This last couple years, she has not been lame at all so we went back and forth as to go ahead and break her or not. Obviously I never got that far with her, but Megan likes her and the mare is gentle enough and small enough for Megan to practice with. I told Megan I would help her take this mare as far as she wanted to go with her. If she gets to a point where she doesn't want to go any farther-thats fine. Snip isn't going anywhere-eventually we do want a foal out of her, but this year we will let Megan play with her. She really wants to break something to ride and Snip is the only thing that is small enough and strange as this may sound-mature enough, where I am comfortable letting Megan experiment. It'll be good for both of them.

Leah-Moving your feet is the hardest thing to explain to people. Clinicians make it look too easy(IMO) because they are experts in "reading" a horse. But the rest of us have to work harder to figure it out. Snip is pretty good at getting that head swung to the outside, that gives a horse leverage to yank a person around. This mare definitely has a snotty streak. She is one of the top ranking mares in the herd-it doesn't set well with her to have someone else telling her what to do-LOL. Once she gets worked past that point, she becomes very soft. Nice thing about her-you can read her eye like a book-there is no deception in her. That's another reason she is perfect for Megan to work with.

gtyyup said...

I think Megan was doing a great job...I agree; forward is really hard for a lot of horses and the clinicians make it look so easy!

Stephanie said...

She is doing great! I can't wait to see her riding the mare.

City girl turned Country Girl said...

Megan did an awesome job with Snip!!! Tell her to keep up the good work! It's so great watching younger ones taking on such a challenge :)

Andrea said...

What a great little horse woman you have there. I sure wished I had had a mom like you when I was growing up. I would have LOVED to work with horses like Megan gets to. She did a great job!!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Megan is a real powerhouse hanging onto that horse. I might write a post about my latest discovery regardling lunging Gabbrielle, but basically she was in the habit of moving off at a gallop when I kissed, and then immediately stopping after 4 beats and turning toward me. I could never get her to keep moving, but at a slower, more controlled lope. Anyway, the other day I kissed, and instead of pushing her at the shoulder or hip, I turned my back to her, and she loped several rotations until I turned to face her. Then she stopped. Every horse has its own little quirks.