Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Training Shiraz: Part 1

I am having so much fun with this sweet little 2-year-old! Not all horses are the same, we all know. What I ask of a young horse is pretty much determined by where their mind and body are at. When training Miss Tea, her body was not ready for a rider until she was 4 years old. Her mind at 2 was happy to learn, but was easily overwhelmed. Savvy was also not ridden until she was 4--although her body developed nicely for the weight early, her mind was...well lets just say we are now at 6 years old starting to see she might actually have one.

Shiraz is pretty much blowing me away with her stable mind, ability to stay on task and interest in learning something new. I am not about to let that boat sail and I am jumping right in on showing her all the things.

I have discussed what she has done up until now in an earlier post. Now it is time for some more serious ground work which will be the foundation of all her future schooling. I like to think of it as teaching her the alphabet. All the ground work I am starting with will be the letters we need to make whole words later. Much of the early training techniques I will use, I have learned from Glenn Stewart, a natural horsemanship instructor in Canada. I have mixed that knowledge with my own experience working with horses and have come up with a plan of action that works for me. Horses and people are all different, so it is good to be flexible. If one thing is not working, I am always open to try something new.

Poles help us both work on straightness in the backup
I am starting with basic yielding. I want to be able to move all parts of her body independently with different types of pressure. I am not just looking for a yield, but asking for her to use her body correctly with each step.

Yeilding her forehand - looking for outside front to cross over and put weight into haunches for turn

I will do this type of ground work with her not just now but later in her training to keep her on track with correct use of her body as well as maintaining respect and softness.

Sideways - looking for straightness, crossing legs closest to me over the others. A tough one!
Not surprisingly, Shiraz is doing incredibly well with all I am asking of her so far. She is so laid back, my biggest problem is getting her soft and reactive. She has really lovely natural carriage and conformation; she pretty much walks like a ballerina and it is easy to get the correct movement so far.

Practicing mounting block parking...ya, the you think I got on? ;)


  1. what a neat horse - i love how calm and sedate she looks in all the pics, while still being quite attentive. she must be fun to work with :)

    1. Hahaha! Sedate. Yes, my sweet little mule has that down pat!

  2. Great to read that she's so responsive!

    1. Yes! A happy, willing horse--pretty much a trainer's dream! :)