Working Colts off of experienced horse... learning opportunities
Several decades ago I made a choice to leave any of the cliches in the equine world that are associated with specific types of riding.
Nowadays my approach is a culmination from my experiences from both the competitive and non-competitive world, along with real life riding such as on ranches, in the mountains, working with livestock, mixed with working with troubled horses after mainstream ways of doing things led to dramatic and resistance and fearful behavior.
Today I was working with a three year old who when he arrived, I was told was "very quiet" and his nonchalant behavior made him seem to be pretty easy going. He came from cutting Bloodlines and was far more athletic than what he knew to do with himself.
Anyhow he is very much a common example of the outward appearance "quiet," and yet the inward because of both mental and emotional immaturity, has yet to decide how he honestly feels about things. So he tends to seem "fine"... until he doesn't.
My goal is that when he's unsure or has concerns, that he can offer me an honest answer, rather than an obedient one. I would rather sort out anything that's bothering him than gloss over concern and let it build.
One of the things I like to incorporate is working training horses off of another horse. One of the most dangerous ways that people get in a wreck is by not having a solid enough equine partner that they're riding as they are working with a young or inexperienced or defensive horse on a lead rope.
Anyhow as you can see from the picture, by the mixture of my jumping saddle, side pull roping reins and jeans and boots, I blend the lines and use the tools of what works for me, versus following trends and cliches.
The conversation between the Colt and I today, using my confident partner as an extension of me, helped reiterate just how light his softness to pressure needed to be, and the mental availability the young horse needed to offer, rather than just brainlessly following the older confident horse.
The colt's conversation with me via the lead rope, should not differ if I was sitting on another horse. There's so many important tools that can be learned from this sort of scenario for being able to redirect a horse's thought, to being able to create an independence in him, irrelevant of how close in proximity to another horse he is, to teaching him to experience energy and spatial pressure from above and behind his viewpoint and get used to it.
The conversations I had previously had on the ground I continued as I worked the colt from my horse's back. It was amazing to see the light bulb moments go off as a young horse realize the conversation I was offered him was no different, consistent whether I was on the ground or on horseback.
All the tools and things that I'm asking of him, such as the less common standard of first look, then think, then move, was a priority in our conversation. All goes towards building the foundation and preparation for the first ride. People don't realize how much you can prepare a horse for an uneventful ride if you put in the time and effort to have quality conversations.