Our New Home

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Let the Training Begin ... Round Pen 101

Jack here, I get to go first today because I got to work in the round pen a day before Jill.  Let me start by saying that this was the first time that I had been led that far and the first time that I went anywhere without Jill.  I had to go past the big boys who were out and I had to stand and wait while Jackie opened a gate and  then we had to walk down the big hill that was kind of slippery because of all the rain we have been having.  I stopped a couple of times to check everything out.  Jackie asked me to continue and I did and she told me that I was a good boy and she was happy I wasn't acting like a mule.  I don't know what she was expecting; I haven't done that mule behavior in quite some time.  She also seemed surprised that I wasn't calling for Jill.  I am almost 3 years old, what does she think I am, some sort of baby?

Anyway we got down to the sandy rings and the footing was much better.  Then I was taken into a round pen (didn't look very round to me) when after a couple of laps around the round pen I was unhooked and I could trot around.  Actually it was nice to move without worrying about slipping; I just wish I had more room to really run!  To start with I just trotted around and Jackie seemed really pleased with the way I was moving.  She made some comment about me being free in the shoulder and easily over tracking by 2 hoof prints.  I haven't a clue what she was talking about but she seemed pretty happy with it.  When Jackie's happy I'm happy ;)

After a little bit Jackie started pressing me a little more to change direction and canter some.  It seemed like a big game so I let out some pretty good bucks; the leap up with a twist.  Jackie was impressed, but she also seemed a bit concerned.  Not sure why.  All of a sudden I heard the mini ho starting up by the barn and I had to stop and watch it and for some reason I let out a big whinny.  Jackie laughed and after a little more work decided that I had enough for the first time so she hooked back up to my halter with the lead rope and we walked back up the hill to the barn.  I was much more willing to walk back to the barn, but I had to be reminded to stay out of Jackie's space.  Doesn't she realize that she's my security blanket?

The next day it was Jill's turn.  She didn't have to worry about gates and stuff like that because Jackie was there to close the gates while Kyle led her.  From what I hear she led down to the ring with no stopping and no whinnying either.  She was pretty good in the round pen but she really wasn't paying much attention to Kyle.  Apparently she wasn't ready to 'join up'.  I hear that is something that you're looking for when you do round pen work, I guess I didn't do it either.  I still don't know what it is, but when it happens I think I'll understand better.  Anyway Jill got hot and sweaty and went down to roll but she didn't get to enjoy it because she was too close to the fence and they were worried about her getting caught in the fence.  On her way back to the barn Kyle practiced stopping and starting with Jill because she sometimes wants to go too much some times.

Kyle had to go to work when he was done with Jill so it was just Jackie and me today.  For some reason I just didn't want to go down the hill today.  I don't know why but I just didn't want to go down the hill so I told Jackie by planting all four feet and refusing to move.  She asked me nice to get a move on but I stood my ground.  Well I guess that was the wrong thing to do.  She tapped me with the end of the lead rope and I ran in a small circle and stopped before I slipped and fell and I planted again and she called me a mule!#$@ I didn't like being called a mule so I went a few steps before stopping again.  This time she called me a cow and she said that she can play this game too and she just planted like me but with pressure on my halter.  After a little bit the pressure on the halter was getting uncomfortable so I jumped up in the air to relieve the pressure.  WELL ... I was told in no uncertain terms that rearing was against the rules and that I better shape up NOW.  I did as I was told but now I was upset because I got into trouble.  Don't ask me why I did it, but all of a sudden I found myself letting out a cry for help.  Jackie laughed and rubbed me and reassured me that it's not big deal and I should chill out.  Easy for her to say.

By the time I got to the round pen I was already mentally whooped so Jackie took it easy on me.  She shot a video of me but I hear it didn't turn out maybe next time.  She did manage to get a picture of Jill though.  What work we did do in the round pen really helped me to relax and when I was done Jackie worked with me on my leading, backing up and moving when I was asked.  We practiced that ALL the way up the hill.  I did not have to be reminded to stay out of Jackie's space and she was really happy with me and gave me lots of rubs and good boys.  I think she has forgiven for my earlier inappropriate behavior.  Next time I will be better but that may be a couple of days, more rain ;(


Jill - First day in the round pen
Well I must say that my behavior was much better than Jack's.  He's such a drama king sometimes.  I don't know why he made such a big deal about walking down the hill especially since he did it the day before.  Oh well, not my problem.  I thought it was a nice change of pace and a chance to move around on good footing.  I just wish there was good sandy footing in the whole pasture like there is in the round pen so we could really run.  I guess we wouldn't have any grass to eat if it was all sand but I'm getting tired of the rain always messing things up. Right now we're locked up in a smaller pasture so we don't mess up the big pasture. 

One more note; Kyle put a proper saddle today.  It was a little heavier but still not a problem.  He said that next time I do round pen work he's going to put the saddle on me so I can get use to it .  So far this training stuff is going pretty good.


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