Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Horse (DON'T) Follow (SO DARN) Closely!
I have a problem with my Johnnie: He is a close-follower on the trail.
Here you see him wearing his Granny-ears that keep flies off, on a typical trail ride 2 days ago. We are with one other horse ridden by a young friend, and Johnnie can't stand not to be right on that horse's posterior or preferably out in front.
John has a very high tolerance for close contact with other horses; he adores having a close follower himself. But not all horses are like this and on group trail rides, Johnnie's butt-stalking mentality is an embarrassing training failure on my part. I really struggle with it and find myself growing tired of the strategies of (1) halt, (2) circle, (3) halt again. The halts and circles just seem to give him an incentive to walk up even faster so that he can apply himself to the ahead-horse's rear end again. Anybody have ideas how to work on this without saddening his cheerful heart?
We saw some nice flowers on this ride: Lupines:
Pretty pink native wild honeysuckle:
These little flowers will develop into tasty thimbleberries:
And the native wild columbine, surely one of the prettiest-shaped flowers in the world!
But all this time I am fighting with my horse! In a typical example, we start out here and I have just halted & circled him to open up some following distance:
But pretty soon we are here:
And then here:
And then pretty soon I could not get a picture because the fight was on in earnest. And he won:
Here he is, the perpetrator of close-following, looking pleased with himself "Heh heh!":