I spent last week going over ground work with him. I'm also working on teaching him to ground tie. That seems to be coming together. I did manage to have Royce out yesterday. As always we started with groundwork. Royce and I have been working on getting a 'whoa' very firmly established. He was doing some things to startle Steele and then asking him to stop. The idea is that his first response is to stop when spooked, not run away. A friend came over to watch and she observed that while Steele had one ear on Rocye at all times he was also checking in with me as well.
After the ground work Steele was tacked up and Royce rode him first. He worked on steering and brakes and showed me how he rides a horse to keep them balanced right from the beginning. He trotted quite a bit more and then started cantering under saddle. Once again I was impressed with how balanced Steele seems carrying this extra weight on him. He didn't look too upset by the whole idea either. Not a hint of stress sweat at all.
Then it was my turn. Royce asked me if I was okay with it. I'm thinking that he must be used to more nervous riders. I hoped up without hesitation. He gave me some instruction that I did my best to apply. It is different than what I'm used to so I got a bit confused at times. However, I always try to listen. he then told me to ask Steele to trot and then he was going to say 'whoa'. He explained that he wanted a way to shut him down right away if things got 'exciting'. So I urged him into a trot and then Royce called out WHOA. The brakes slammed on and I slid forward a bit in the saddle. So with that info I went back to work. Then Royce asked if I was okay if he put his stuff away.
Oh yes. I wanted some time to process this on my own. So he walked away and I worked on steering, brakes and trotting. His trot is very very smooth. We were totally focussed on each other- me trying to give clear signals and him trying to figure out what I want. He whoas right off my voice and of course I told him what a good boy he was.
So we're still working away at it. I can't wait for our saddle to arrive.....
These photos were taken by my friend Joanne.
|steering? what steering?|
|steele and I doing our best to be attentive students|
|standing stock still while I dismount. I love his expression|