Annie, I'm willing to leave this link up as it might make a good focus for further discussion.
List for me if you will, four things that the trainer on this tape does that we would tell you NEVER to do.
It's a young horse, and the sort of 'toys' presented are great for his mental development. I am particularly pleased at the "no hurry" approach -- absolutely not the 'extreme' thing here, and that's the right way. We never want to see little obstacles or toys used where there is any hustle or hurry at all.
It's also great to use scrap materials to build toys and/or arena furniture. However, it's possible for the standard there to dip a little low. Which of the trainer's toys would you improve in either design or construction, and why?
Under saddle, the young horse is being asked to untrack, and it is from the untracking that the bends unfurl. This is very good. Also, I am pleased to see the man's hands in the correct place -- never low! Never prying back or prying downward!
Can you list for me the 'lateral movements' that the horse is asked on this tape to make? Are they all of one class, or are they of different classes? Which class or classes do they belong to?
Do you feel that this trainer has a complete awareness of where the horse's feet are at all times? In other words, when he is asking the horse to step laterally or to step in a small circle, is he always aware of which end (i.e. which pair of legs, front vs. back) the horse is going to move -- or instead does he sometimes 'blur'?
I agree that the trainer has a very good relationship with the horse; the energy between him and the horse is just right.
Now the last question, which goes back to the theme in this thread: yes, this is a good example of how you can drop the reins and use hands palm-forward to help the horse step back. The question here, as before, is for you to explain the mechanism in terms of Birdie Theory. What (metaphorically, or really) comes out of the horse's eyes when the man raises his hands? -- Dr. Deb
Toys - The see-saw (at around 1:45) is flimsy plywood and not clear what it is rocking on; could break. Though not a 'toy' longeing the horse over the jumps is unsafe especially when the handler reverses direction and has to flip the leadrope over the jump standards. For the former I would want a more solid see-saw built to hold the horse's weight and with a stable base so it would not tip over to the side if the horse was not centered or stepped off one side of the apparatus. For the jump, I would create jumps without standards, or would setup a free jump instead and not use the lead rope/longe line.
Lateral movements--definitely different types. I'm not sure what you mean by their different 'classes'--but first he moves the hind quarter around the forequarter, then he asks the horse to move sideways as in a leg yield, with no crossing of the legs (no bend, but if the horse was bent it would be moving away from it's bend), then some nice leg-crossing; here the horse is also fairly straight but if bent it would be moving into the direction of it's bend.
Complete awareness of horse's feet at al times - No, I don't think at all times. I think he is best in the groundwork. When he rides, for instance during the lateral movements, it is not as deliberate and I think he is more focused on getting the overall movemement rather than each step (i.e. each needed shift of weight, then moving the unweighted leg, etc.). I think the horse runs through a little bit here and could be slower. One movement he does not blur is the stop at around 12:50 or so. It is a complete stop; the horse is not rocking forward to take the next step; he stops moving all his feet. I think this is something riders blur all the time.
I will have to review the Birdie book a little before I can answer the last question. When he first drops the reins he is using mostly his weight to ask the horse to change direction and move; then at about 13:50 he puts his hands up higher, palms forward, and the horse's ears go back, he straightens up, and backs. I would say his birdie landed right on the man's hands, maybe attracted by the open palms, which are very powerful, but not sure what you would say flew out of the horse's eyes.
Thanks for your good questions and helping me to take a more thoughtful look!
Last edited on Wed Mar 20th, 2013 12:22 am by Annie F