Test yourself each week as I challenge you to answer the question below. I mean this. Sit down and write an answer. Don't wait for my answer next week. If you have been reading my Weekly Questions and Answers for the last six months, you should be in a position to do this. Send your answer to my team at:
Why should you bother? Because it will help you focus. There is probably a comparable question in your life that needs answering... or will be. If you can gain insight into how to go about answering a practical question that is loosely related to your problem, this exercise will help you answer your nagging question. Then read my answer. I want all of my students to learn to be better trainers than me.That's good for you and good for horses!
NEXT WEEK'S QUESTION
While listening to the Live Ask Monty, I had a question about training my gelding. (It is long.)
Some background on my horse: I got him when he had just turned 12 and he has just now turned 15 a week ago. He’s an AngloArab (TBxArab) that has some distant history as a dressage horse and more recently was a lady’s endurance horse.
He lived mostly in a stall with small turnout. Now he lives out in a herd of 25 horses on 2x 60 acre pastures. When I purchased him he did flex positive for arthritis in his hocks.
When I ride, I mostly ride out in the open fields and trails and he loves it. He will NOT pick up his right lead for canter ever, including the round pen. (He will when he’s running with his buddies in the pasture.) He also hates, truly hates, ridden work in any arena at home. (Away from home it’s different as he is usually too interested in the new surroundings). He is sluggish at the walk and trot. When asked to canter he balks, swishes his tail and throws up his head. If I get the canter, it’s for a few strides and he quits. I have recently purchased a Giddy Up rope but have not had the chance to use it in the arena yet.
My question is this: how do I understand the line between potential pain response from him and a learned behavior of getting his own way?
His previous owner was very indulgent when he didn’t want to do something. He’s extremely intelligent, brave and sensitive. I have learned more from this horse than any of my previous horses.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my question.
Chelsea Scriven and Blue