Now that the weather has turned back to sunny and warm I’m finally able to really sit down and start working Jack again! And I must say he is a lot different then I thought.
When we get a new horse we both have to learn one another and Jack and I are defiantly on that learning curve now! He has buttons that I’m inadvertently pushing and he’s misunderstanding some signals that I’m giving. But thats ok! We are both very new to one another.
Take yesterdays session in mind. I wanted to free jump him in and out of the water puddles that are in our arena. When I started I lead him over the jump. I’d get him into a trot and jump the jump with him. Now he scared himself cause he tried to step over the rails and when he hit them and they fell and splashed him and it caught him off guard. I couldn’t get him to go over it again free lunging him.
So from here I had to put the halter and lunge rope on. I lead him over it several times before I asked him to do it by himself. He would cautiously jump it. I began to lunge him and ask him to go over the jump on his own. I was lunging him in a circle but as I asked him to go over the jump I went to walk with him so I wouldn’t catch him and jerk him as he landed.*Insert Miscommunication here* As I moved forward to go with him he assumed I was signaling for him to stop. So he slammed on the brakes and stopped! At this point I would ask him to move forward with a click and a swish of the lunge whip. He was royally confused and would start to feel trapped and run which ever way he could. This was very frustrating as we tried this several times with the same result.
It wasn’t until he ducked out from infront of the jump and circled to the left and jumped the jump while I stayed where I was. When I just made him do a big circle and come back to the jump to the right with my feet planted that he happily jumped it to the right.
The light bulb went off in my head! I was telling him one thing while asking for another and he was just trying to do what I asked. Needless to say we both have some figuring out to do! I ended on that happy note and let him graze on the grass while I groomed him. (He now is shedding like its going out of style)
With new horses it’s easy to forget (at least for me) that they don’t necessarily understand everything like the other seasoned horses do. Their buttons might be a bit different. I know my body language is most likely very different then the trainers. With a few more weeks of working with him I think we will both happily figure each other out. Until then I have to remember to not get frustrated and realize that I may be just as confused as my horse on why he’s not doing something I asked.