Thursday, February 7, 2013

James Trains Cinder!!

Sunday morning was fun and exciting as James and Cinder had a training
session. They saddled up and headed out all bundled for the cold
weather, without knowing how their first session together would go.

I helped James understand what to do when training, and James worked
through the motions with Cinder. James started with some traveling
circles to let Cinder get a feel for the saddle, the footing, and
remember his responsibilities.

Then James tasked Cinder with putting each front foot up on the table
– something Cinder hadn’t done before. This helped to get Cinder in a
thinking frame of mind and taught Cinder both that James was a good
leader he could trust, and how to have emotional control.

After about an hour of ground work, we pulled the quarter sheets off
and started some saddle work. This was only Cinder’s 3rd time having
an in saddle session with Partridge Horse Hill – and prior to
Partridge Horse Hill his previous owner had tried to start him, but
Cinder accidentally broke her nose when he reared up with her on his

To help get Cinder comfortable and ready for a rider, James practiced
putting weight in the stirrups from the ground. He simply leaned on
the stirrup and hopped up and down and did this from both sides. This
helped to get Cinder desensitized to the pressure and prepare him for
the next step.

Then James stood up into the stirrup and rested over Cinder’s back –
with his tummy over the saddle so he could easily slide off if Cinder
was nervous. Cinder was great though, and didn’t flinch. Cinder had
really relaxed posture, so we rewarded him for being so calm with a
rest break and friendly rubs, and then continued.

Next James stood up in the stirrup and then sat down in the saddle.
Cinder seemed relaxed, and we allowed him a few minutes to get
comfortable with James on his back.

Next we asked Cinder to move – asking him to yield his hindquarters,
back up, and move forward. I helped lead Cinder forward when he was
unsure - but I didn’t make Cinder feel trapped because I kept a loose
feel on the lead rope. We stopped and rewarded often with rest breaks
and rubs.

As the session continued, I clipped the lead rope and we had Cinder
follow another horse, Angel. Aaron rode Angel around and Cinder was
able to follow which helped make steering easier for Cinder. Once
Cinder understood the basic cues James started steering Cinder for
basic commands on his own, like halt transitions and simple circles
around objects.

Cinder was doing amazing, and so next we tried the trot. Cinder was
perfect and picked up a very relaxed trot. James and Cinder did
several short trots around the ring with long reward breaks after each
one with lots of rubs to let Cinder know that he was being a good boy
– it’s really important that horses know when they are being good.

Next we decided to take the horses for a short trail ride around the
property, around our track and into the back of the property, down the
hill, and around our back field. This gave Cinder some purpose to
riding and he realized he could follow a trail together with his
rider. It helped to develop a partnership and show Cinder that James
and him could travel somewhere together.

Cinder and James were amazing together – Cinder didn’t have any spooks
or startles and they were fantastic together. James even said Cinder
is pretty smooth and might even become one of his favourites!

Check out pictures of Cinder and James at: 

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