Before Dante was injured and work halted, I had noticed a big difference in his attitude when we did clicker training with a target and NO halter/cavesson on him, VS. when I did the same work with clicker and target, but he had a halter or cavesson on. I mean a HUGE DIFFERENCE in his behavior.
When without equipment, he had more enthusiasm and joy. With Equipment, he was going through the motions more. Now that second attitude might have been because we did a lot of lunge work and this was putting strain on his weak stifle, thus he was in pain and thus his attitude wasn’t as chipper. I don’t discount that this might be a mitigating factor on the level of eagerness he approached the work.
And here I am between a rock and a hard place which makes me very uncomfortable.
Work with a headcollar (halter or cavesson) is needed because the consistent workout is required to get stronger. Lunging on a circle for 30 minutes is far more likely to happen then me chasing around a field for 30 minutes. Working on a lunge means I have more control of what he does – how much walk – how much trot, and the way he uses his body, which would be good for his rehab.
Lunge work means back to the Straightness Training and Art2Ride lunging with nose down and forward to work the back.
It is also a traditional, conventional way to work a horse so is more acceptable to me because of my history of training horses.
The downside is I’ve gotten a LOT of resistance from him – bucking – when worked on a circle – which could be pain related or just flat out doesn’t want to do it. Whatever is promoting this resistance, that impacts our relationship of mutual accord and puts us back into a domination relationship.
The thing with Liberty is that I find the work there slow going. It’s hard to move forward and I find ourselves plateauing a lot in terms of progress from him. I am not interested in the Parelli games stuff (I consider him a con man and I’ve seen more detriments to horses from his system then pluses) – so I’m back to reviewing books by the Cavalia team, Klaus Hempfling etc… and those people who I love but whom offer very little in terms of training regimes so it means I operate a lot in the dark in terms of working through what we do.
This merry-go-around is what is stumping me on what to do – as well as hampering my creativity in us moving forward. Couple that with his injury where I don’t want to hurt him, and I’m scratching my head on how to get him stronger, while also encouraging a positive attitude.
So back to the books and videos this week, and experimenting with what we can do. Most likely it will be a mixture of both.