Training a Wild Brumby (Mustang) Episode 32: Major Bob’s First Ridden Video – Taken at the end of the First Week
23.50 minutes – DAY 30 – In this video I explain what I did with Major Bob in his first two rides in the square yard. Then I explain how and why I transitioned into the big arena with Doc. I then explain what I have been doing over the last four days riding him in the big arena by himself. When I got up to riding Bobby without someone riding Doc next to him I let Doc walk around inside the arena to support Bobby on the first ride, then I tied Doc to the arena to watch the rest of the rides. This has really helped with Bobby’s confidence knowing Doc is still there with him. However, once Bobby didn’t have Doc to follow Bobby wasn’t offering much forward at all. I didn’t want to make him feel wrong or scare him by making him go forward, I had a feeling it was just a lack of confidence. I knew I had to think outside the square and make a game out of creating forward. So I set up two cones about 50 meters apart in the arena and played point to point with him. I asked him to walk to the first cone, at first this took about 10 minutes to get to one cone as he would only walk a few meters at a snail’s pace and then stop, so I let him rest for a bit and then asked him forward again, I didn’t rush him and let him take his time to make it to the first cone. As soon as we got to the cone I made a big deal out of it, I got off him and gave him some pellets (that he now loves) and we rested with lots of scratches then turned around and make the slow walk back to the other cone. After another 10 minutes we made it to the other cone so I got off and treated him again with some pellets and scratches. By the end of the first session he started to walk much faster and not stop as often, he was starting to figure out the game. The second day he walked faster to the first cone and then he remembered the game straight away. Before long he was trotting the last 30 meters to the cones and showing much more expression. I was then able to start to refine his upwards transitions and he was starting to trot off a really light suggestion. I was also able to take out the treats and only give them every few cones once he understood the game.
This video is the third day doing this point to point exercise with the cones and as you can see he is going forward nicely, relaxed and enjoying being ridden.
Without forward motion you can’t do anything and your horse can learn to jack up and go wherever they like. By using the game of the cones, positive reinforcement and lots of patience I was able to get forward without scaring or stressing him.
I have used this exercise in the past with really lazy horses that haven’t wanted to gallop or go. I have done it in a big paddock ad used barrels. I got them excited about running and within a few sessions they were offering me so much more forward. Not everyone wants to gallop but if you have a horse that doesn’t see the point in putting much effort into forward you could do a similar exercise and turn it into a game for them. It will really help change their attitude about forward motion.

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Angie Wicks