Today was about 70 degrees with winds up to 28 MPH! We got another round bale today and set that up. The last one lasted until last Sunday which was exactly 6 weeks and if he eats about 20 pounds a day that would mean the bale weighed about 840 pounds. Though, we did have to throw out the bottom portion which was about 20-30 pounds.
Anyway, I worked Pete again today. We had a refresher on cues which went well. Then I bridled him and worked him again in the bridle. Then I saddled him and hopped on. He was fine for that. I asked him to walk and he hesitated a little, but did it. His woah was fine, but he would balk and back when I asked him to go again. So, I pushed my hands forward, gave him his head, and squeezed until he went forward. Worked alright, though, once he backed into the round pen panel and actually moved the round pen a few steps. That was a scary moment, I was not looking forwards to going over backwards. Luckily, John stepped in and grabbed him and walked him forward. We just did a few walk/halt transitions and I got off. I was surprised at how little he seemed to know, but I am confident that each ride will get better.
Here is what I wrote in his log:
1/31/09 1 hour
I worked Pete in the round pen as a refresher and he did really well and responded to all of my cues. After about 4 minutes I saddled him and got on. He was content to walk around but had trouble when I asked him to stop. He would stop but wouldn't go forward again. I would push my hads forward and 'free up' his head while squeezing with my legs. This did work, but he needed constant reminding. We will try again tomorrow and see how he does.
After I worked Pete I got on Boomer. I really wanted to show John all that we had been working on. I showed him the leg yeild and it was really great today. I added a hand movement to help with his head after watching this Jane Savoie video.
The idea I took away was to turn my hand like I'm turning a key to get him to flex his head without bending his neck. Guess what? It worked. As soon as I tried that, he straightened up and flexed at the poll instead of bending his whole neck! We also worked on the turn on the haunches, which is still difficult. I guess we will just keep working on it, unless anyone has tips for us! We did more half-halting, which is really not difficult for us at the walk, haven't introduced it at the trot yet. We also reviewed the side pass. I was wondering if maybe it had been a fluke yesterday, because I didn't really 'teach' him so much as I just asked and he did it. Nope, today was the same. He side passes like 5-6 steps in either direction with no problem. We didn't work on cantering which I have been meaning to do, but I think this work is really important as well. Plus, I really wanted to show off for John all of the things we have been learning lately! Hopefully tomorrow will be less windy!