So far the names of the new guys are Toby and Huck. We will see if those stick, but for right now that’s what we are calling them.
Last week we started working with the boys on the ground and focused on having as many people as possible handle them and groom them. This will be helpful in getting them used to what every day life will be like for them at Orchardview.
As you can see in the picture here Mary Kay is working on groundwork with Toby. Groundwork is great because it helps the rider establish his/her leadership role and fosters a connection between the rider and horse. Toby and Huck are very responsive to groundwork and have done very well with every thing that has been asked of them.
In this picture Toby is starting to learn how to pick his feet up. This is important so that you can clean your horse’s hoof before or after a ride, for the farrier to do his/her job, and also in case the vet ever needs to see the horse’s foot. We clean our horses hooves before each ride. This ensures that they don’t have any stones or debris in their hooves that could cause them pain.
In this picture as soon as the Toby picks up his foot with the pressure of the rope, he is given a release and can let it down. He is encouraged to hold his foot for longer periods of time (maybe 30-45 seconds and then longer with more training). Once he is calm and alright with picking up his feet with a rope (without kicking) we move on to asking him to pick up his feet with our hands instead of a rope, by running our hand down his leg. The feet are the last thing that a horse will give up control of during training, so when your horse trusts you to pick up their feet that is a big step!