It's been a couple of years since I last saw Connie and her super Thoroughbred mare, Leah. Since then Leah has been professionally broken. Connie asked me if I could help her to persuade Leah to stand nicely at the mounting block as she has a tendency to walk forwards and then to spin to face her rider.
We practised first of all in the school. It seemed to me that Leah just didn't understand what was required of her and that a tendency to put more pressure on the inside rein rather than the outside one caused her to turn her head inwards and her bottom outwards.
I used the outside rein to gently agitate against her neck to ask her to go forwards and then a little pressure on the same rein to ask her to keep her bottom next to me.
As soon as she is in the correct position she was given a lovely rub and a click to say "keep on doing what you are doing". I have used clicker with Leah before in order to handle her feet and so she was quick to understand what I was asking.
Connie could then mount, give another click, pause and then three clicks together and a treat to either side.
Then we moved out to the gateway where the family static mounting block is set back from the road. Leah went back to her old pattern but within a few repetitions understood what she needed to do.
Once again it was a case of getting the mechanics correct, rewarding her for the position we wanted and then repeating it a few times.
Back at the yard Tracey went through the preparation exercises for long reining with Moses and he sailed through them.
|Touch all over with the line|
|Get used to the trailing line|
|Check how he feels about being driven|
|Make sure he understands he needs to follow a pressure and is fine with the line behind him.|
|...and off we go!|