Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Starting Over - Opposite Ends

Bo and Leah are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to horses.

Bo is... "dull" as another trainer put it. He's naturally very lazy, has a stubborn streak, and though he is friendly, he's not terribly respectful on the ground. He doesn't have much concept of personal space and he's not very responsive - at all. All of these things have continued to grow throughout the years and I've come to realie that he's gotten away with it all, because he's such a good horse in so many other ways. He's quiet, he's gentle, anyone can ride him, he'll do (just about) anything you ask - though he may be slow to get there. He's also pretty much unflappable, not much scares him at all. He's probably been coasting along with a comfortable "B-C" grade all these years.

Leah, on the other hand, is highly responsive. Anything you ask her to do, she does it yesterday. In the early years I fell off of her so many times, because I'd ask her to turn, she'd flip a 90 or 180 - and I'd be in the dirt. She's quick, flighty, tense, and afraid of ev-ery-thing. She's been a pretty good girl all these years, pretty easy to handle, scary smart, I'd say overall she wants to do good. She's been allowed to coast too.

Both of them have gaping holes in their training, primarily because their early years pre-dated me knowing much. I started them both under saddle and did all of their early education, but looking back there was SO much I didn't know. (there's STILL so much I don't know...)

I've learned that Bo needs sensitizing. He needs to learn that he can't coast anymore, when I say move, he needs to MOVE. Leah needs DEsensitizing, she needs to learn that she's not going to die at any second and that it's okay to chill out.

I've already gotten started in what is sort of starting over with them both. I've been doing groundwork, making Bo hustle his feet. Then I switch gears and encourage Leah to stand still as plastic bags go whipping past her.

I have to say that I think it is a great deal of fun working with the two of them. If Leah gets all spun up and I feel nervous about being on her, I can go get on Bo and decompress with an easy ride. If I get frustrated with Bo's lack of responsiveness, I can get Leah out and smile at her "snap-to" way of doing things.

I think they balance each other out quite well and between the two of them, I can learn a lot.

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