Tuesday, December 1, 2009

End on a Good Note

This is a phrase that is ever so important in horse training. And this is what Louie did tonight- well, not really "end," more like temporarily put the training on hold. We're going to our national field trial in a few days and Louie doesn't get to go this time, so this was Louie's last cart work for about 2 weeks. And the good note that we ended on- we made progress, Louie did great, and so did I.

Tonight we got the whole arena to ourselves, so after a nice long lining warm-up, Bjorn grabbed the cart and we set up in the usual fashion- shafts through the tugs, but nothing secured. We walked a few steps and stopped. Then we repeated that process. Having success in two small bouts, on the third time we kept going. We made a turn around the end of the arena and continued on at a walk- Bjorn holding the cart, me leading Louie by his halter and lead rope. We walked around for several minutes, both directions, practicing turning, which at this point seems to be the biggest challenge. Bjorn bounced the shafts on Louie's sides and he didn't care too much. All Louie really wanted to do was eat his lead rope. I swear this horse is stuck in his Freudian oral stage. . . as long as he's got a pacifier, he's happy. Bjorn pointed out at one point that Louie had his "fifth leg" out, which is a sure indicator that he was relaxed and happy walking along pulling the cart.

So after a few minutes of that, we moved on to the next challenge, instead of me being right next to Louie's head leading him, I moved back to his flank and took control of the lines. Still holding the safety line on his halter, we successfully long lined Louie with the cart in tow! We walked around a few minutes doing that, with much praise, and called it a day. A very positive accomplishment to "end" on. Now I think if we could trot Louie in this set up (not sure how easy that would be for my poor husband), I wouldn't be too nervous about hooking him. So we'll see what our adventures bring when we return. . .

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