Baby Dino Learning Half Pass

Baby Dino is growing up and beginning to learn some big boy dressage movements! Dino is still 3 (4 next month!), and spent most of the year riding-wise just goofing around hacking in a relaxed frame. But, his young age hasn’t stopped us from working on some upper level movements. We just do them in-hand!

The half-pass builds on the very basic lateral movements that baby Dino began learning in-hand as a 2 year old. Dino knows how to perform haunches-in and shoulder-in from my touch. This was then used to build the side pass. When Dino had these movements down, the half pass, was the next logical progression.

Half pass is a forward and sideways movement where the horse is bent in the direction of travel and around your inside leg. Although this sounds similar to the side pass, it is a much more difficult gymnastic for the horse to perform. It is a great exercise to teach in-hand as there is no weight of the rider to influence the horse’s balance. The horse is free to figure it out himself.

Dino picked this up fairly easily at the walk and is progressing to the trot.  He still has his 3 year old moments, but he really does try. You can see his concentration in the pictures below. Gotta Love the Dino!!

Oops! Never forget the basic rule of liberty jump training….

There is a right way to liberty jump train and a wrong way. You would think after 30+ years of training, that I wouldn’t miss the #1 fundamental rule in liberty training.

I took Kelsey and pony off site for some jump training, but pony was a little too spooky for her. So lacking all necessary lunging equipment, I decided on an impromptu liberty jump training session. Pony is pretty new to liberty jump training, but he really loves it. I thought it would be the perfect way to get his extra energy out, and it definitely was!

I found 3 out of 4 of the basic “issues”, but judging by the video, finding the unknown last “issue” was the key!

Dino Learns to LOVE Ear Clipping

Training Dino (Wiley) to love the ear trimming process was easy to do with clicker training. It just takes time. I started Dino when he was 2, and practiced every couple of months while I was clipping pony anyway. I got a little more practice after I purchased some handy cordless $12 mustache clippers. I was just too lazy to get out my real clippers and go find an electrical outlet (I know, pretty bad!).

Dino is only 3 in this video, and he is already pretty decent at the ear trimming process. I can trim 1 handed with Dino untied.  I prefer him untied, so he feels like he can move away if he is uncomfortable. Dino started out like most horses and wanted nothing to do with clippers inside his ears (or on his bridle path). He was OK with them on the outside of his ears though-but by no means relaxed. I slowly desensitized Dino to the feel of clippers and then to their sound. Only after he was relaxed with the sound and feel, did I try to go inside the ear. Even then, I stopped after the first swipe and gave Dino a nice jackpot reward. Now I can go deep into the ears with no resistance. What a good baby dinosaur!

Tucson’s Liberty Jumping Featured in Horse Nation!

Tucson's Liberty Jumping makes Horse Nation
Tucson’s Liberty Jumping makes Horse Nation

My “once in a lifetime” horse Tucson passed away back in 2013. So, imagine my surprise when I found out he had been featured in Horse Nation. I love the idea that he is still doing his “demos” for people, even long after he has gone. I hope he is still getting carrots in heaven every time someone watches him jump at liberty!  As of today, there are over 30K views….that’s a lot of carrots!

Baby Dino Goes English!

Baby Dino's first English ride
Baby Dino’s first English ride

3 years old,  a little over 2 1/2 months under saddle. Yep, it’s time to go English! Kelsey (13) volunteered to give Dino’s his first ride under English tack. I am so proud of them both!

Dino (aka Wiley) has been doing really well. I spent the majority of the first 2 1/2 months just getting him to understand the forward aids. Now that he is moving forward with decent rhythm and relaxation, I’ve started adding a bit of connection to the equation. In this video, Dino had 4 days of connection work….just enough for Kelsey to keep his head down and out of giraffe mode. Dino is starting some long and low exercises to get those back muscles working, but I didn’t want Kelsey working on that. It was her first time trotting him, and I was just happy that Dino kept a level frame. He has that long brontosaurus neck that he loves to stretch up in the air!

Dino has been so good with everything, I forget he is only 3 sometimes. I’ve ridden him bareback and hacked him around the barn. Nothing.  He has basically been good at everything as long as I take it slow. Personality wise, Dino is growing out of the colt like angst of his 2 year old year and moving straight into grandpa mode. There are still some days where he pitches a fit because he can’t play with his friends, but they come only once a month or so now. It won’t be long before those behaviors are extinguished, and he is just a totally sweet old-soul type of horse. He really is becoming a gentle giant. I LOVE him!

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