Archive for May, 2012
Last year right before the Extreme Cowboy Race I taught Boomerang to smile. Quickly this trick has jumped to the top of the list as one of his all-time favorites.
I have a hand signal cue and a verbal cue for this trick, but most days Boomer just likes to smile for the sake of smiling.
Most times if he just sees me break out the camera he gives me a big beaming smile.
Other times I call his name and he’ll flash me a toothy grin – always followed by the cutest nickering to let me know he heard me.
I love how each smile is different and quirky, just like my silly little Boomerang.
If you follow us on Facebook then you may already know that Minnow has been working on learning some new tricks. Most of these are in preparation for Pony Penning 2012 as I’m teaching him some new skills for a brand new performance.
Now, you may remember Workout Barbie – well this is Workout Pony! And Workout Pony is way way cooler!
We’re still in the planning stages of our performance and I have lots of ideas for new tricks, but I thought I’d share a video of our first training session with Minnow’s barbell. It’s important to note that this video was shot after I had spent about 10 minutes working on the skill with clicker training. Yes only 10 minutes!
As you can see on the video he has two skills he’s learning – “lifts” and “curls”. I was actually quite shocked he picked it up as fast as he did and he already knows the cues for each skill. As we continue on in his training we’ll work on duration and I just finished making him a more permanent barbell that looks a bit more realistic.
I’m really excited about all the new tricks we will be working on and it will be so much fun to showcase the new performance during Pony Penning.
So, anyone else teaching their horses new tricks this spring? Have any ideas for new tricks for Minnow? We’re always open to suggestions!
Over the weekend I packed up Boomerang and headed down south to Maryland to compete in the MGAA Mid-Atlantic #1. It was the first of the mid-atlantic mounted games series for the year and we were excited to attend.
Boomer and I were dusting off the cobwebs a bit as typically I give him the winter off due to being pretty busy at my shop – so this was sort of a “getting back into the swing of things” competition for us.
Boomer was the only pony at the competition to compete in a Bitless Bridle and Treeless Saddle – and you will also notice our treat bag hanging from his saddle, used when I am clicker training him during competition – because the training is never done.
I think one of the common mis-conceptions about treeless saddles is that many people think that without a tree the saddle won’t be stable on the horse’s back. But, all you have to do is watch me play games in it to prove this wrong. All weekend I was leaning off the saddle like a monkey, and vaulting on from the ground.
I’m in love with my freeform saddle for so many reason, but mostly because it is the most comfortable ride I’ve ever had, for me and my pony. And as much as treeless saddle are rare in the mounted games arena (in fact I believe you are not allowed to compete in treeless saddles if you ride with the USMGA organization – why, I do not know!) Bitless bridles are probably just as rare.
I think with equine speed sports especially probably a lot of people think you won’t be able to control your horse without a bit when it’s in racing mode. Now Boomerang may not be the fastest pony out there, but he wants to run towards the finish line just like the rest of them. Because I took the time to clicker train him a really nice stop, and to respect my seat and leg aids just as much as the rein pressure I am able to successfully compete him in his dr. cook’s bitless bridle.
Many riders in the US now compete in hackamores – yet these have a much different way of steering/stopping the horse by using sensitive pressure points on the nose. Bitless Bridles use painless and even pressure to help guide your horse in the direction you want to go and does not interfere with the horse’s breathing.
And while I personally am an advocate for the bitless bridles I do believe that using a bit or not is a personal decision that most times depends on the horse too. Not every horse may be a good fit for a bitless bridle and I think it just depends on what works best for each animal in the most humane way possible.
And finally, here’s a quick video I put together of Boomerang having a blast competing.
We hope to make it to some more MGAA competitions this year – and for anyone who is interested in getting started in the sport be sure to take a look at our upcoming competitions at Iron Horse Farm.
You can read more about mounted games here.