Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Carol Coppinger Clinic: Guinness

This clinic was a wonderful learning experience for us.

Aside from helping me with my skills, immersion in the entire clinic environment was so incredibly great for Guinness' development into a confident partner.

In the interest of brevity, I'll just list his accomplishments & challenges.
  • This was his first over-night excursion and he relaxed in stall enough to lay down each night.
  • I shut his stall window whenever he banged for attention or got too mouthy to give him a "time out" - he seemed to get the point.
  • He had no spooking problems in the indoor arena, even near doors and with birds, spectators, and many other horses.
  • He sweetly met and played with two mares at liberty in arena. They both thought that he was polite and cute enough to hang out with.
  • He learned to retrieve and hand me my carrot stick with me mounted, saving me from having to dismount to pick up up each time I dropped it!
  • During our waiting time in the arena, he learned to turn in direction of neck pinch (injection preparation).
  • Once, he decided to roll with me mounted with the bareback pad - I stepped off when he was on the ground. (I won't ignore his pawing again.) Maybe in a year or two I'll teach him a cue to lay down with me on him?
  • He rolled in the arena almost every time that I cued him for it by pawing my foot.
  • We practiced lots of patience (and some skills) while waiting for others to complete task with their horses, and patience in his stall and on the trailer.
  • He really bonded with me in our "herd of two."
  • Although he left me for a moment during the group Liberty exercise, he returned as soon as he located me and then stuck with me through rapid turns. He even handed me his halter when we walked back to find it.
  • This was his first long trip in our trailer (alone) since bringing him home a year and a half ago. And he only pooped one time! Only a horse-person would understand my excitement.
  • He didn't react to popping balloons and other weird noises.
  • We practiced riding using one carrot stick for guidance with our reins looped over pommel.
  • He trotted/gaited willingly behind a lead horse, and several times when alone.
  • He showed me an excellent back up, & pretty darned good (for him) circling game and sideways at a distance.
  • We played some awesome Liberty while alone in the arena. I think that the only thing really lacking is a true circling game.
  • He showed no personal space issues with other horses or people.
  • I slid off over his rump to get off, not knowing that Carol was watching. She commented, "Now that is an interesting dismount."
  • He enthusiastically tried to get all four feet on a pedestal, but kept falling off. He even put one hoof up on an adjacent barrel as if to climb up onto it. (Spectators laughed.)
  • He peed on cue.
And best of all
Am I gushing too much? :-))

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