I don’t currently have internet at home, so posting is slow. Also, with the new camera, pictures take editing before posting- so hence the silence! Cello came home from Justin Dunn’s over a week ago. He came home AWESOME. I was writing a thank you to Justin but it turned out too long to post on his Facebook wall, so I curtailed it. However, there is no word limit on a blog!
I will get to the training stuff, but the most important change in Cello is how happy he came home. This horse looked borderline depressed when I sent him to Justin. Now, he has is more energized and his personality is back. When I pull up the driveway, he perks his ears and looks interested. You can absolutely tell that Justin puts his heart into these horses, they aren’t ever just a job or another training project. Plus he is able to train horses to their owner’s individual personalities- he doesn’t have a one-size-fits all training approach. I was really blown away. So many people have asked for Justin’s phone number after seeing or hearing about Cello.
You might recall that getting to Justin’s was difficult. Cello did not, on any level, want to get into my trailer and was not about to be coerced in. It was the last thing I had expected. Well, after only 2 days towards the end of training Justin had him going in and out. He isn’t amazing about it and we are looking for a new trailer, but it works for now, and the point is he gets in and gets out. He was trailered four more times this week after coming home to keep his willingness to trailer going. It’s a 2 person job for sure- he won’t hard tie in it, and if I leave his head to close the door he shoots out backwards. He doesn’t do that in a stock trailer, just in mine. So we are looking for a 3 horse stock or larger.
When Justin took Cello, cantering was top of my wish list. I could talk him into a few strides in an arena. To the left sometimes a lap and a half. To the right, it wasn’t happening. After 14 rides with Justin, Cello came home with a willingness to move his feet, the ability to balance on both leads, and even lead changes. And he canters on the trail, something I never tried with him because he is going to be a kids horse and it wasn’t necessary. We’ve definitely enjoyed that newly installed feature this week!
When I picked Cello up Justin showed me ground work and what to do when riding him. I went over how strange the groundwork seemed to me last post, with the huge differences. I am way better at the motions, but still pretty uncoordinated. I think I confuse Cello more often than not, which isn’t good. (As I’m editing this post I feel like noting that today groundwork went way better, I’m getting it dialed in I think. Still needs works.) We also went on a trail ride where we did a few transitions and talked about the homework I’m supposed to do (specific groundwork before and after each ride, flexing, etc.)
One other awesome thing: you know you have a good trainer when he chokes up that your horse is leaving. Plus his son was sad that Cello was leaving- he was definitely loved and well-cared for while he was in training!
So, in a nutshell, the things Justin accomplished in two weeks:
- Giving to pressure/flexing
- Quicker response time to requests from the rider/handler
- Cantering on both leads for extended periods
- Lead CHANGES
- Responsibility for his feet. Cello had no idea what his feet were doing when, almost like they were just a by product of his legs or soemthing. He now is more aware.
- Steering & stopping bitless
- Happier horse!
- What else did Justin do? Picked up my horse himself, trimmed Cello’s feet, helped me with my trailer, and a lot of other things I’m forgetting to throw in here.
All of that, in 14 rides.
Cello & Dani