Training Scratch for His New Job
My job - as I see it - is to spend as much time as I can with Scratch. The pressure of the competition is over. He needs to settle in to the fact that the "just surviving" part of his life is going to be taken care of from now on. There will be things expected from him. Things like work. He'll have to get used to other people and cars and other scary things that inhabit civilized worlds. He'll have to work cows and maybe rope. Much more will be expected from him as a rider's horse. He will need to be more responsive to cues and, most importantly, he will have to trust the rider's judgement.
We have been spending quite a lot of time riding and working in the snaffle. Riding around the stable with other horses and the equipment that operates around the place. Gradually, I've taken him to events and worked him around the other people and horses.
It's difficult for me to know if I am boring the shit out of him with the riding. I understand you can do this. The horse just sees nothing in it for him. I'm just OCD enough to create this in my horse and just aware enough it might be a possibility. While I'm not sure how I would know if Scratch was bored, I knew I was getting a bit bored with it all and chose to turn my focus to groundwork for a week or so.
We've been working on the ground playing with some liberty exercises. He doesn't trust me enough to stick around. Our area is quite large and when I take him of the line, he usually leaves, We continued to work and he is getting better with things. I think the break does him some good, although I really think he just like to work.
He got good enough at some of the exercises I filmed some so those of you who are interested might follow along. We did do some cool lungeing stuff, but it's boring as crap to watch on video. I don't want to bore you any more than I want to bore Scratch. Enjoy!