|Testing the limits|
The rain had stopped when I got to the barn and the Red boys were naked, which made them irresistible. I put the surcingle and bridle on Roscoe with the side reins ready to use. I warmed him up by lunging him. He burned some energy while getting into work mode. Once he showed he was done being a tourist, I hooked the side reins on a loosely with just enough resistance if he raised his head high. This allowed him to begin to figure out the exercise.
When did he not show any negative reactions, I tightened the side reins a hole. This was enough contact to get him thinking. His trot slowed down as he tested the limits. Up, down, left, right, Roscoe was very thorough. When he reached down and forward, I clicked to reinforce the movement I supported. As I saw him working with it, I decided to increase the contact.
|Working, Thinking, Trying|
|I know fuzzy, but he is opening up his trot again|
I unhooked the side reins and asked him to trot on. I wanted to let him stretch out, relax. What I got was confirmation the previous work was on the right track ( a constant worry for me with him). Roscoe trotted around long and low. That was absolutely the best looking stretchy circle I had ever seen. I wish I had the camera out so I could have a picture.
This side rein assist worked better than I expected. At some points in training, a horse has to figure things out for themselves. Side reins provide an unchanging, consistent contact, that Roscoe had to work through all by himself. All I had to do was keep him moving and watch the show. I can't wait to see how this will translate to his under saddle work.