We had a mini-training camp this week. Klara came three days and we worked with six horses at liberty. We had great fun with Pax. I haven’t worked with this six-year-old Canadian for many months. Ron, his owner, has been developing Pax’s Spanish Walk from the ground. As Ron says, “Pax’s Spanish Walk is a strong one!” Pax is very much like Zelador was at the beginning. He strikes out with great power.
Ron works with Pax along the wall to help with the direction of travel and straightness. With Klara and me we quickly found that we needed to work off the wall because Pax liked to cling to it, leaving NO room for the person at the wall. Pax is very studious. We learned to ask him, WAIT, and reward his try. We were astounded to see him put several steps in a row. Talk about an over-achiever. With the other horses I’ve taught we had a progression which was: offer one step, walk on, offer another step, walk on. Slowly but surely (over many sessions) we’d have a front leg lift every five steps, then every three, then every step. Pax zoomed through all the intermediary segments.
Bucephalus (age four) was the youngest member of the training camp. One morning a few weeks ago he was pushing the big ball and I got this feeling that he would be able to walk/trot/canter around me at liberty. We put the ball away and I tried it. I was careful to call him in to me after a half circle, just so he wouldn’t get revved up and forget that I exist. He loves this game and does a wonderful job. He also quickly learned to change direction at liberty. It took a few years to get that movement with Zeloso.
Bucephalus is also on the brink of figuring out that he can carry the toys. Right now he picks them up and occasionally takes a step with them.
Kye was his adorable, cute self. We took a few moments to help him learn colours. We have three cushions: blue, red and green. I toss one onto the ground, call out the colour, he walks to it and I click/treat. When all three are on the ground I position him equidistant from the three and call out a colour. I click/treat when he goes to the correct one.
During two of the mini-training camp days Klara and I worked on the piaffe in-hand with the boys. I put the piaffe board (a four feet by six feet piece of plywood) on the arena floor and Zelador stepped onto it. He quite likes the sound of his hooves on the wood. (Zeloso does NOT.)
Zelador is so very close to a rhythmic piaffe in-hand (under saddle, especially with Etienne, he’s already there). The second day of work we placed the board next to the ring attached to one of the support beams in the arena. We tied one end of a polo to it and tied the other end to the left side of Zelador’s halter. We attached a lead line to the right side of the halter, essentially creating cross ties in the arena. Klara held the lead line. I had the wand and the clicker. I asked Zelador to lift his hind legs alternately. Once he started that, Klara “piaffed” beside him while I tapped out a rhythm on the board/on the wall/lightly on his croup/behind him/just in front of his hind legs/where ever I thought I could help him keep the rhythm. AND, the boy piaffed! Click/Treat!!! He received a jackpot of treats from me and Klara. Talk about a horse being proud!!!!