Bridling behind 2

In our last video we worked on our mat training. Now we are moving on to the next step.
After improving on our mat training I show him where I want him to come stand when I finally get around to calling him. I reward him for stepping up onto the wooden platform. Then I stand him back on the mat… and reward him for coming before I call. I’m a terrible trainer. But. Well. Anyway.
He was where I wanted him so we went to work on the next step. Sitting down on the platform I ask him to target the bit again. After rewarding him a few times for dropping his head clear down and mouthing the bit I start to ask for more. Until he takes the bit all the way in. Soon he’ll be putting it on all by himself!

Bridling Behind 1

Here is another bridling method we have been working on. Eventually the hope is that he’ll come up behind me, stand on the bridge and put his head down in my lap to take his bridle. It is a little easier than having him fetch his bridle and bring it to me. There are lots of little pieces to improve upon and string together. First he needs to be very good with his mat training so he will stay until called. Here we are working on staying for longer periods and while I walk away. Then he needs to come when called.
In these videos he’s wearing a halter and lead rope. We don’t usually wear them when working but the fresh spring grass is more than he can handle. Standing around eating, something besides grass, is his job, when it’s time to work he needs to pat attention. This way I can remind him that it’s me time not grass time if I need to. I don’t like having the halter on him, I notice a strong tendency to grab it even though he does just fine without it the rest of the time. It is there though so I reach for it. It’s a hard habit to break. I am looking forward to summer and the grass drying down, turning brown, for this one purpose at least.


Bridle Fetch 1

When we did our little mounting challenge I mostly skipped to the end. There were quite a few requests for a how to though. So this time around I’ll start from the beginning and show as we go through all the little steps and put them together.
Trying to come up with different ways to put a bridle on has a few limitations. The bridle has to end up on his head. But, I guess mounting has the same problem, I have to end up on his back.
Wouldn’t it be nice if your horse could just bring you his bridle?


Our Next Big Goal

The mounting challenge was fun. But once it was finished I needed to think of something else to work on. I contemplated the Spanish walk or bowing and all the variations of those we could do. In the end though it all came down to doing something practical. So we are working on biting.

Here is our first step. Teaching him to target the bit. Once he’s touching the bit with his nose then we start asking for a little bit more. Just to open his mouth and bite the bit a little with his teeth is plenty. Of course he already takes a bit fine. He drops his head and lets me touch his ears. But fine is not good enough for this challenge. By the time we are done I want a self bridling horse!

Good bridling manners are so important. Nobody wants a horse with its head stuck way in the air trying to reach way up over the ears. It wont be as exciting I don’t think as the mounting one, then again, thinking about it. it could include mounting. Hmmm. Interesting. I have about three ideas to start working and shaping. I would appreciate any ideas anyone else comes up with and if you have a video of you putting a bridle on in some weird and unusual way please share them!!


Anniversary Gifts

A good place to keep children

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary. I got all kinds of really good gifts. The more normal ones, we got a sitter for the kids and went out to supper. By ourselves!

And the special, unique, and catered just to me type. My husband put back up the clothes line that rusty and I destroyed last fall. I can’t hang clothes out to dry much over the winter anyway but as spring warms the days I’ve really missed having the option. Now it is back and I immediately made use of it, getting a load of laundry out to dry on the gorgeous warm day. Long before I started wanting to, my husband who knows me too well, forbid me to bring a horse into the house. Now I am not allowed to have them in the yard either. Some weird thing about wanting to keep the clothes line up? 😉 It is unfortunate because I had some really fun ideas involving the swingset 🙁

He also took our son with him in the tractor for his afternoon nap. That gave me a couple of hours without having to worry about children to actually put a saddle on Rusty and go out for a real ride!! The reason we spend so much time trick training is that it is a way for me to get my horse fix with children underfoot. Without them we were free to roam.

Rusty was not thrilled about the roaming.

On the way out he kept stopping and asking me if I was sure about this. He said he was perfectly happy staying at the house and getting lots of treats. We persevered though and made it to the end of our drive then across the road into the neighbors CRP ground. There we rode over the hills and through the beautiful tall orange grass that nearly matches the color of my fiery orange pony. My dog, Daisy, ranged about underfoot chasing scents and rabbits. Rusty regained his go and we got to work on circles, stops, and being a grownup horse. The ride home down the long drive gave us a perfect chance to work on leg yields and haunches in. Back at the house we trotted a few circles, practicing transitions in hopes of doing a couple of western dressage shows this year despite our lack of riding time. A few steps of Spanish walk and I dismounted, pulled the saddle, and got one lay down before he went back out with his friends.

Today I am sun burnt and not hopeful of another ride. It was wonderful though and we’ll take what we can get. It was the perfect anniversary present.


Mounting Compilation

As long as people have been riding they’ve been debating the best way to get on.
It’s good to be able to get on from the ground.
Stirrups can be a big help.
Mounting blocks are good for the horse.
But when you’ve lost your bounce,
you might need to get more creative.
And sometimes it’s best to take a step back and rethink things.
And that is exactly what we did!
This is it, the closing chapter of our personal getting on challenge. We may revisit it if we find new ideas. It has been fun. A good way to stretch the imagination. A wonderful training exercise. Rusty has learned so much more than the obvious letting me on him part. I have crawled all over him. He learned to walk under things. To squeeze into tight spaces. To listen to me without fear or hesitation through all the weird things I ask of him. “Silly” training of tricks like this have taught Rusty far more than any running around a round pen or “desensitizing” ever did. Rusty comes running when called in the pasture and the only time I need to put a halter on him is to make him go back out with his buddies. His under saddle work, though sadly neglected most of the time, improves by leaps and bounds between riding times because of the trick training time we put in.
I am still trying to decide what to work on next. Any ideas are greatly appreciated! Until then tell me about and share videos of how you get on!

Not My Trick Video

Before I get to the final get on video here’s a fun trailer for a horse trick training book. She has Morgans and all the horses in the video are beautiful Morgans. She has a couple of babies she’s trick training. I can’t stop thinking about what wonderful horses these are going to be to start. By the time they are old enough to ride they’ll be so used to having people all over them and working off cues they’ll be a joy to start. It’s making me want a baby


The Laying Down Mount

Here is our last getting on method. Our first and, probably, only attempt at it. The video is a bit long because it’s a long involved process. Theoretically I knew we could do it. All the pieces were in place it was just a matter of putting them all together. And I had to catch him in the mood. We’ve been working on laying down for awhile. He does a good job of it on command-ish. But when he doesn’t feel like it he doesn’t feel like it and we don’t do it. I had tried before to catch this but he said no and I turned him out instead.
There is some danger to this method. Not that there isn’t in anything to do with horses, or anything we do in life. Not just in the getting up, but in the laying down. Rusty very nearly broke my foot doing this a few weeks ago. He was doing a perfect job at it. I was standing safely on the side away from his legs and he stood up. watching him now I can see the issue. As he stands he jumps back with his right front leg then pushes hard off of it. I made the mistake of standing in that exact spot and he pushed up off of my foot. It hurt. I may have yelled a little. Not at him, just at it hurting so bad. My yelling scared him and he thought I was mad at him. I was worried it would affect his lay down and had to comfort him before I could limp off to find some ice.
Today was one of his willing days so we gave it a try. I wasn’t sure exactly what would happen when we tried it and was pleasantly surprised when he just stood there. He was a bit confused when I sat on him and started asking for up. I’ve been adding an up cue to his bows. It seems like a good way to extend duration if he knows to stay down until I ask him to get up. I also thought it might help here. He looked at me for awhile like you want what!? Then very politely stood up.
This very nearly concludes our exploration of different and unusual ways to get on. Now I’m trying to think of what we can take apart, examine closely and put back together in new and unusual ways next?? Spanish walk? Bowing? I would like to do a riding something but most of this was done in small pieces, short amounts of time, with children running under foot that I need to keep an eye on. It’s hard for me to find time to saddle up and ride. If it is something simple I can do bareback, that would be good for both of us. Please let me know if you have any ideas!


Unaccomplished Goals

I got it! Today I accomplished the last weird way of mounting that I could think of. To celebrate here are two of the, many, really cool ways to get on that I am not capable of. These people do such a wonderful job with their horses and supply so much motivation and so many goals to work towards.


(Inspiration) Neck mount (not for everyone or every horse)

The Neck Mount – this was something I saw at a Parelli Event some 15 years ago and thought WOW! It is indeed a lot of fun, sometimes Mia can be so enthusiastic she can put me a metre up in the air or land me on the oher side on my feet :-DJust like everything I show it has a few isolations and needs to be practiced perfectly in order to not injure the horse.Therefore it comes with a WARNING LABEL:As mentioned not for everyone or every horseI weigh 51 kg, Mia's neck and head weigh probably triple that Notice I correct the balance firstI mount high up on the neck on the lifting muscle (trapezius)I land not on the center of the back Ask a profesional to help you who can actually do this themself and not just because you assume they know how to, or they tell you they know how………I know very few ;-)My advice is simply that if you do want to learn it, do it just for fun and not as a daily tool ♥♥♥

Posted by ZOE'S HORSE BYTES on Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Bareback Lift

Just wanted to share a video of a new trick I taught my TWH mare, Bella. She is wearing padded boots in the front to protect her legs. Excuse the wobbly camera, my 9 year old daughter was filming this and holding her pony at the same time.Disclaimer: I want to add that this really should not be done long term. I did this to see if I could do it not to perform over and over. If you notice in the video I have padded boots on her front legs and hooves to prevent rolling a tendon under my boot. Also, if you see when she gives me a lift she twists her knee out a little to give me that boost. Again, fine once in a while but that movement could possibly be bad if done alot. Thanks everyone for your support! Bella and I never thought it would get this reaction <3

Posted by Yvonne Lucius on Monday, July 28, 2014