The weather is cold and rainy and the horses are in today. Just because it is cold, does not mean we cannot train. Reign Day needs to truly understand that he is not at a race track, so back up to the arena he goes. I expected that he would gallop around the arena and blow off steam. He quietly started trotting and exercising himself with his head down low.
I do not like to push a young horse too much mentally. They have a short attention span and they are not used to working more than 20 minutes or so at the track. Reign Day needed a “play day”. It is important to keep the lessons short and different each day. Thoroughbreds are very intelligent and they learn quickly so you need to keep them interested. What would take three months to teach a warmblood, a Thoroughbred can learn in a week.
We believe in the basic concepts of natural horsemanship. The horse needs to see you as the leader. He needs to respect you as the herd leader. There are many ways to accomplish this but overpowering or punishing the horse will not work with Thoroughbreds. If you beat them they will get angry and fight back. If you can communication and then reward when the horse does as you ask, the Thoroughbred will try to please you again and again. Reign Day wants to please, so training him will be easy.
After letting Reign Day stretch his legs and trot around the arena at liberty, it was time to get to work. I need to build Reign Day’s trust in me. I need to control him with my energy and not project weakness. If I show weakness then Reign Day will take charge so that he remains safe. I want to create situations that make him see that I will take care of him and not let him be hurt. I use natural horseman techniques to move his hips away from me and throwing my energy at him to make him back, show him that I am in control and he needs to move when I ask him too.
When Reign Day is paying attention to me we can add outside distractions like a big ball. Some horses are terrified of anything they do not know. Race horses have had all kinds of distractions to desensitize them so they are a lot easier to train than a home bred horse. Reign Day was not at all worried by my rolling the ball around the arena – instead he was interested in what it was. A true sign of intelligence.
We finished with lots of praise and a peppermint.