I'll start off by apologizing for not taking any pics (was a little busy), but promise that despite the lack of pictures, it did actually happen! Here are some pics from earlier in the year.
I have been feeling like we are floundering in my training of Red. I felt like I was not communicating effectively what I wanted from him, not progressing greatly, etc... So I called out my old riding instructor (also starts, trains and finishes horses) to come out and help me with the getting Red going on the longeline.
I will admit, I have only put about 7 training sessions into Red since I got him. The rest was just messing around while moving him here to there, a bit of trailer training (after taking him to a hoof clinic off site and having difficulties with the trailering). But only 7 real sessions with goals in mind. He is coming 4 in March.
Anyway, she came out today and started by her putting him on the longeline. I told her my goals for him, and what I'd already worked on. Walk/ trot in hand, head down (has high head set), yield on fore and hind, back, accustom to lunge whip (once), turn on the long line with it down far side of his body, and beginning hobble training (2 sessions). So she attached my 30 ft line and started longing him. Took a few minutes, but she got him doing a circle (my attempts yielded a square, hexagon and an isosceles triangle before I gave up and called an expert!). Walk and trot, transitions up and down. Then handed him over, saying I did a great job of putting a stop on him. I basked in her praise, not wanting to tell her it took 2 sessions to teach him that. And I achieved it by teaching him like I do the show dogs to free stack. LOL. I can now whoa him and walk 10-15 ft away to grab the whip, etc. And it is due to his innate awesomeness, not any skills on my part. But I let her believe it was my great skills for a while.
So I longed him for another 10 minutes or so, working on getting a round circle. He tends to collapse in to stand with me when he is uncertain. Walk, trot, transitions; he was doing beautiful.
Then she asked if I had a second cotton line. I ran to get it. We attached a line on either side knot of my rope halter (a home made one with rings it the side knots) and she walked in ground driving position while I led off the side to get him used to it. We wandered around like this for a while before she took over, running both lines through the surcingle. Took him a bit to understand since he didn't like the pressure on his nose AT ALL! But he REALLY hates the cavesson, so halter works better. She got him going pretty good, but we found out he would absolutely ROCK at twister! Man, that horse is flexible!
Then she passed him over to me to ground drive. Whee!!! She suggested he would do better at this with a bit in as he did not like the twisting the halter did. The bit would clear up the signals. So I'll be bit shopping sooner than expected!
Then she casually asked if I had a helmet handy. I ran to go get it. Thinking; she can't mean to...
But she did! Said he was doing so well and is so calm and accepting that we could try if I was comfortable. I decided it would be better with her there than with my inexperienced husband! So she boosted me up to lay over his back. Then I hopped down and we did on the other side. Rinse, repeat. Then the same but with a few steps. Then a few more times with me sitting like I was side saddle. Then she asked me if I was comfortable with astride. I thought, well, we've gone this far! So we did that too! When he stood completely relaxed with me fully upright we quit for the day.
She came in for hot chocolate (we had been outside for an hour in the minus 5 with 35 km/h wind) and we chatted for a bit. She was impressed with his mind and willingness. I told her how much work (or how little) I had actually done with him. She was even more impressed with him. And in her opinion, she feels I am doing fine by myself. Whew! I'm not ruining him like I thought! But I will be asking her back often to keep us progressing!
I am feeling great about this horse again! Because I totally credit him with ALL his great progress. I have never dealt with a horse who tried so incredibly hard to please me and was so careful around me.