SAFE’s volunteer riders and their horses spent last weekend working with Joel Conner. Here’s a report from Lori about her sessions with Prince:
Prince and I entered the Saturday groundwork class. Prince started out being extremely herd bound and more focused on his buddies rather then on the tasks at hand. He would try to push over you instead of moving away. He was pretty worked up and a bit stressed. Prince has a great heart. He did not know about personal space and how to keep a safe distance. After working a while with Joel he started to get these manners down. The more we worked on the method the less he was looking to his buddies and the more he was looking to me for security and guidance. He soon learned how to yield his hind quarters and forequarters. He learned how to move out of my space when I would approach. Prince also learned quickly how to give when I would pick up on the lead to bend him. Bending to the right is his tightest side.
The afternoon we entered the riding portion of the clinic. Prince is more comfortable with you on top then on the ground. I spent a great deal of time bending him from side to side. He would relax for a bit and then have to move again making me put him into another bend until he would stand and relax. He was able to yield both his hind quarters and forequarters. I worked on getting a soft feel off the bit and teaching him to drop off. He excelled at this. I chose to keep him at the walk this afternoon since he was so eager to move. Teaching him to relax and be quiet was my focus.
Sunday morning we participated in the second half of the ground work. Prince was so much better this morning. Much quieter and moved out of my space with more enthusiasm. Only needed a few corrections to remind him not to crowd my space. His backing with the halter got to barely touching him with a finger and he was matching my speed when leading and stopping. Much improved. What a nice boy he is becoming with his new found manners.
More photos of Prince at the clinic: