Thursday, December 15, 2016

Going Slow

I'm a slow reader.  Yes, I'm still reading the biography of the great horse trainer, Don Dodge.  Don owned Poco Lena for a time.  The book is an interesting look into his life, the many wives he had, and his relationship with booze.

But, I'm trying to read between the lines; to see what horsemanship principles I might glean from such a successful trainer.

Don came across Fizzabar, a tiny little mare out of Doc Bar and Teresa Tivio.  He first bought him for one of the owners he trained for.  When the owner no longer wanted her, Don Dodge paid the enormous sum of $10,000 in 1967.  Fizzabar had been in the hackamore and cow classes, so she had some training.  The book states that Don worked her for a year and was almost ready to give up on her.  He stayed with her and won the PCCHA championship in 1967, 1968, and 1969.

This all leads me to believe that a horse can learn the basics in a relatively short time.  The fine-tuning, the good handle, however, takes considerably more.  Lately, I've been taking this approach with my horses.  I've been working with Scratch and Jessie with this "grazer bit" trying to get them to work one-handed.  It slow going.  I am breaking the steps down as small as I can trying to do the moves at a walk even.  But, if I jump ahead to far, it's back to the beginning.

To keep them from getting bored, I limit the workouts to 45 minutes.  Truth be told, that's about all I can handle too.  Doing things very slowly and repetitively is extremely tedious.
On the positive side, because there's no need to go on a two-hour ride, I get to work both of them on most days.  We'll see how long this continues between my schedule, the holidays, and the winter weather.
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