Hahaha..I totally thought I would get bored with this long lining thing...But if anything, I'm enjoying it more and more.
One day of rope training Jet, one more day of rope work plus added long lines...
And here we are on Day 3...
Tootling around the yard.
Under normal circumstances, I would not think this was a big accomplishment, but this is J.E.T., the horse who hasn't had the best track record of getting over his uneasiness about ropes. When the trainer who started had him, he told me he had to give up trying to ground drive the horse because he just couldn't seem to stop coming unhinged about the ropes touching his body or his legs. I tried to ground drive him a year or so ago and did a lot of rope work with him...and I can't say that I had any better luck than the trainer. Sometimes persistence is better than skill!! Hahahaha
I also added LJ to the long lining group. I wasn't sure if he had ever had any rope training before and well, since everyone else is getting lessons in it or a refresher, I decided to give him a whirl. He was a little nervous about the ropes for like a moment and then just took them in stride. I could tell he had never been ground driven before...But it ended up being an even more successful lesson than I anticipated. LJ is a goer. He's a hot-blooded, quick moving little guy and his previous training was geared toward capitalizing on his natural abilities. W.A.L.King was not a large part of that...or at least it doesn't seem like he really understands the idea that it IS okay to just walk. A large portion of what I'm trying to instill into LJ is that it's okay to relax at Casa de Tiller. Life moves a little slower around here than what he is used to. Lots of things happen...But getting excited or staying excited is not necessary...or desired. LJ's previous training was so thorough, that it has been hard to get him to disregard it. Finally being able to teach him something he did not already know, popped him out of his regiment and we was able to get and sustain a nice relaxed walk. He finally grasped the concept of 'it's okay to slow down and completely relax' and he was even able to maintain that relaxed mind for some riding time. FINALLY, just a nice, relaxing walk around the yard, through the pole pattern a few times and the barrel pattern a few times and even over a log (gasp).
When I talk about LJ's previous life experiences or his previous training, I am not in any way 'bashing' his training. LJ is an excellently trained little horse and there are no holes in him that way. I'm not in the least bit disappointed with any of it. I knew what he was when I bought him and I knew I would have to work him through the exact things I have already talked about and more. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the horse and if I wanted a full-on reining prospect, I don't think I could have found a better one. He is cool, cool, cool. I just expect my horses to be more well-rounded and I like them to be as calm and relaxed as I can possibly make them, otherwise barrel racing will fry their brains. I strive to instill an on and off switch in my horses. The only time I want them to 'act' like a barrel horse is when I flip the switch on (going through the gate to make a run) and I want to be able to flip the switch off (coming out of the gate).
The key I have been looking for was a way to 'reset' LJ's frame of mind so I could start over-riding some of his specialized training and get him to look at things from a little different perspective...and I think I found it. :-)