Just a couple of weeks earlier some major work had been done on my stallion's issue. Getting the horse back on track was a priority for me. I didn't want any reinforcement of inappropriate behavior so I had been taking what little barn time I had working on issues in his stall just like I had done with Rhet. Once he was responding well in his stall I was able to enlist help with him outside.
Knowing the horse's personality and his previous circumstances I saw no point in setting him up to fail by asking him to learn when he was too exited to think straight. It would be unfair to expect him to focus on learning without freeing the horse of the energy excesses contributing to the problem whenever he was taken outside. To do this two of us did some round pen type work to get the horse thinking about the need to pay attention before any in hand work was even started.
The reason there had been two of us had to do with my lack of physical condition and the only location available to do such work. It had nothing at all to do with the horse and his personality or the issue at large. In fact I would not condone two healthy people working together under normal circumstances because it would be too easy to overdo and cause harm for the horse.
When I do round pen work one on one I use my own physical stamina as a measure for what is too much for the horse. That way my horse has a reasonable chance to learn without being subjected to physical stress.
The paddock in front of my house is larger than a round pen and it had a wet area we didn't want the horse in. With two of us we were able to move him at will and keep him contained without getting him in the mud despite my lack of endurance. Even at that I used my stamina to determined what my horse could tolerate. I just wanted to take off the edge caused by his excitement about turnout while maintaining his brightness. I didn't want to dull his thought process with fatigue because I believe it is more difficult for a tired horse to learn. I wanted this horse's mental state to be optimum for learning.
The other thing I wanted to do was to get this horse to the work area safely without causing him any undo stress. To accomplish this I decided to add another lead rope with a second handler.
With lead ropes attached to the halter's side rings the horse had a handler on each side of him. Just adding this new dimension was enough to get this horse thinking. He immediately recognized something different was expected of him during this trip outside. Wanting to please he paid close attention trying to figure out what it was we wanted. He worked hard to contain his exuberance making only a couple of mistakes.
Once turned loose in the pen, the horse exploded. He was so charged up I didn't know if we could even get him focused on learning without totally wearing him out but he surprised me. By controlling his feet, frequently turning him whenever his attention drifted, he quickly came round looking to us for signs of what we wanted from him. By the time I was exhausted and needing to quit my horse was dialed in and ready to learn.
With that done the horse was ready to begin the real work of re-establishing those dulled cues and getting back into his own space. I was curious to see how Linda Parelli's method of doing this with the gelding would compare with what had been done with my horse.
To be continued.....