dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Steele learns to drive!

No, not a car. Can you imagine? The mind boggles at the thought of Steele behind the wheel.

This is Patches. You can find him on Youtube
As you know I've been lunging Steele and introducing side reins. He's been doing fantastic with it. His responses to verbal commands is very very good and his gaits are generally steady and rhythmic. I've been wanting to introduce him to ground driving- which is where you attach two lunge lines to the bit and walk behind the horse. It's a great way to teach them to respond to the reins without weight on their back. The problem is that to start you need two people- one at the head and one behind.

I've been introducing Steele to the concept of yielding to rein pressure. I've also worked on getting him used to ropes and lines around his legs and haunches.  I knew he was ready but I didn't want to push it by myself and lead to disaster. As a wise friend posted on FB: "if you don't have time to do it right you better have time to do it twice". (yes there is wisdom on FB although I'm not sure if it's Glen's wisdom or if he was quoting someone else).

So this morning when my friend Cindy said she was coming for a visit I immediately hatched a plan. Cindy is an experienced horse woman who has a quiet and gentle approach with horses. I admire her horsemanship very much. I did my usual lunge work with him and then Cindy and I got him ready. He stood there while we set up the lines.
kinda like this
Cindy stood at his head with the lead line and I moved to the back and asked him to 'walk on'. He started off beside her but when he felt the lines on his haunches he spun around and got a little nervous. Cindy simply brought him around and we walked off again. That was the only thing that happened. The rest of it was just like it should be- no big deal. It was so cool to walk behind him and feel him in my 'reins'. We walked forward, turned left, right and 'whoa'. Cindy commented that you could really see him thinking about this new twist but he was not in any way upset.

We walked around for about 10 minutes. Then Cindy unclipped the lead line and stepped away. Steele stood still and I asked him to walk on. He looked and saw Cindy far away, looked back at me and backed up! I could understand his thoughts-' I'm supposed to be at someone's shoulder, not up here by myself!'
Cindy came back to his head and walked beside him. As we walked around she slowly increased the distance between them until it was him and me. I did a little more and then brought him to a halt and ended the lesson.

I was so excited by the whole thing. Steele made sure that his behavior was rewarded with lots of carrots!

Mr. Totally Awesome
Update: Cindy sent me some photos that I didn't know she took!

from the lunge session
Looking terrific (note the photo bomber!)
left? right? how about we head to the grass!


  1. It is wonderful to have a helper and some photos! Steele is one smart boy to figure all that out in one session.

  2. Yay Steele! What a good boy!!! He is sooooo handsome! This makes me want to work on Chrome's ground driving some more. We did the basics and then never did anything else with it lol. It might be fun to refine it. :) I'm glad you had a helper and that it went so well and that you all had fun. :D


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