Five years ago I journeyed to Austin, Texas to watch Allen Pogue with his horses. One of the unusual things I saw was a horse sitting down. Allen showed me how he teaches a foal (under a week old) how to sit, then he brought out an adult horse and it sat on a bean bag. Another older horse sat down in a specially prepared stall that had shavings piled over five feet high. Both adult horses backed into the sit from a standing position. However, Allen taught these horses how to sit from the lay down.
So, for five years I’ve been contemplating: how am I going to teach a horse to sit? I’ve also been considering: do I want to teach the sit!
The sit is such a strange looking position…
Well, a few weeks ago someone directed me to Australian Guy McLean’s videos on YouTube. Guy is currently in Texas and plans on touring North America and Europe for the next three to five years. His horses sit!
It’s as if the stars are aligning…and it’s time for me to actually DO something.
I decided to start (and probably finish) with Zelador. He quite likes lying down and that’s a great beginning for the sit. Just need to slow down his return to his feet. About a week ago I put a halter and lead line on him with the hope that saying “WHOA”, having the clicker/treat at the ready and holding onto the lead line to gently would suggest slowing down his return to his feet. He politely did the lay down three or four times and it did appear that he was beginning to slow his ascent, but if you were looking for a hint of a sit, you wouldn’t spot it.
A few days later I asked Bill if he’d help me. I commandeered the lead line (off to Zelador’s side) while Bill held the clicker and treats in front of him. Can’t say that we were successful. However, I did notice that Zelador was thinking. He figured out that I wanted something, but he couldn’t discern WHAT that something was.
Today I approached the sit with no helper. Just as Zelador stretched his forelegs in front of him (the front legs had been tucked close to his chest during his lay down) I said WHOA, clicked/treated and fed him carrots while he maintained that position. He was as happy as a clam and quite proud of himself. I released him and he stood up. We repeated this stretched legged-WHOA several times. Wow! I’m actually beginning to think that Zelador’s going to create an incredible sit!!!!