So we got the Nikon D80. We are figuring out how to use it slowly. Some pictures of Cello turned out great, some not so much. He has been pretty great lately- his ground manners are solid. I thought for a while we were going to head downhill there, but we worked on some key things that straightened it all out. For instance, the catching in the field thing wasn’t happening over a month ago. Then he only wanted me to halter him if I let him run to the corner where we first joined up. I worked with haltering him in other parts of the dry lot, then closed the gates and worked on haltering him in the large pastures. When he went to run I would head him off until he slowed or stopped, then back off. When he turned to face away from me I would stomped/lunge/make kissing noises at his hind end, asking him to disengage and turn to face me. Back off the pressure again. When he stood nicely facing me, I would sidle up to him, give him a rub on the face, then drop pressure and walk away. Then rubs on his neck, walk away. Then halter. Then more moving of his rear end.
Eventually we became so in tune that I could ask him to move where I wanted him to from the other side of the pasture. He is locked on to me the minute I pull up to the ranch now, and I can walk up to him in any pasture and halter him without any questions asked.
Under saddle we are doing okay. Not great, to be honest. On the trail we are bombproof- nothing spooks him, we ride out solo, he carries himself and enjoys the hill work. In the arena we have very rough steering issues and majoring bracing. I can’t use the outside rein at all without him completely inverting and fighting me. It’s not unfixable, a strong inside leg gets him to move off, but it’s not consistent and balanced.
Oh yeah, and we worked on ground tieing. Now the poor guy ground ties almost too well! He stood in one spot for so long yesterday, after I had released him, and we almost left the ranch.. then I saw him standing stock still in the rear view and had to get out to go move him around. I had moved him around, offered hay, used my release word (and previously tried other release words in case Emilee said something different.) He just stood- to him, being such a good boy!
Like I said before, I contacted Jessica (who won Ft. Collins EMM with Norco) but she doesn’t have room until December or January. We are on the list. I’ve been playing phone tag with Justin Dunn, so we might go there sooner. I am also going to apply to be on Horse Master with Julie Goodnight. We have to get a decent video clip of us riding for submission.
Enjoy the photos!
Cello & Dani