|Step One: "At Liberty:"
This clip took place over a 45-minute session, and shows the early stages of using "Pressure and Release" to establish connection with a wild horse. The horse is tiny, but older than he looks (due to a lot of Pony ancestry - he's about 10 - 12 months old here) and very wild. He's in an 80-foot diameter round pen, so there is nothing I can do to force him to pay attention - I have to use my own body language and energy to draw him to me. This process takes longer than the usual method of confining the horse to a small pen (actually we would have used the smaller pen but it was "busy" holding a 6-year-old rescue horse at the time), or having a halter and rope attached to him at the adoption site, but it allows the horse time to accept and understand each step of the way, and to develop trust, which in turn allows quicker progress later on in the training process.
|It is easy to see places where I
could have done better - could have taken my time in some places,
could have released quicker in others, could have stuck with it
longer in still others. So this clip also shows how amazing wild
horses are, in that they can make progress even if you aren't The
This process allows the
horse to progress at its own rate, without forcing anything. Any
progress comes from the horse's own will to cooperate with the human
in this new environment. This process takes a while, however, and
progress is shown in small things such as how close he will come in
to circle around me. At first he stays out on the fenceline, then
gradually comes in closer and closer.
Still At liberty, but moved to a smaller pen.
|Step Three: First Leading Lesson, using a makeship rope "halter"
|Working With Feet #2 (#1 hasn't been
edited yet - that would be the first steps of working from the
safety of distance, using a rope, lungewhip and bamboo pole, to
start getting him comfortable with having his feet handled)
|Parade of Mustangs - Napa Mustang Days 2009 - including Piney
and Sparky, Ruby & Benny
Piney has learned to be ponied by Sparky, and he is calm despite the stimulation and excitement of being in an arena with lots of other horses and people, and having a loudspeaker and live audience.
|Jerry Tindell riding Sparky to work a 2-year-old Mustang from Horseback
Piney's First Ride
|Teaching the Bow - First Lesson -
For this method to work (and there are LOTS of ways to teach a horse to bow - this is just one) you need to already have a good back-up and a generally soft, trusting and compliant horse.