ROUND 2: Colt Starting

This striking 12 year old paint gelding was a bucking stock stallion for all of his life until a couple of days ago. He is now on the road to recovery and trust as he learns that not all humans are bad!

ROUND 2: Colt Starting

Postby Juliane on Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:23 pm

Today, Ace and I finished day 2 of our second round of the intensive 4 day Colt Starting Clinic with clinician Jon Ensign. We had such a great experience last time (August 2007) and learned so much, that I was eager for the opportunity to attend it again. While Ace and I advanced a great deal in our training, trust and bond, I was never able (or brave enough?) to push Ace to the next stage in our training - solo riding.

As often as I was able, I played with Ace - reminding him of our Colt Starting exercises, from bumping up to the fence, to sitting on him, to basic desensitizing exercises and saddling. I even progressed to getting on him bareback using the mounting block. Ace was always very good, but his fear was still evident - so I never asked him to move while I was on his back.

I feel like Ace is ready to advance to a riding horse. This time, at the clinic, Ace is very good at all of the exercises we are doing. His only real fears seem to be with other people. I am attending the clinic with CSRDT member, Jenny, who is taking a Cowgirl Spirit rescue, Grace. So, we intermittantly trade our horses so that both horses get used to working with other people. Ace has been super at working with different people. I intend to hand him off to anyone and everyone tomorrow.

I am confident and hopeful that we may ride tomorrow. I'm content if we are not ready for it - we'll just keep working towards that goal. But if we do succeed and can ride! Wow, what a dream come true for Ace and I! If he does become 'rideable', he'll never be a performance horse. He'll just be my 'poke along' trail pony. Someone I can hop on bareback and ride around. I am so in love with this horse, it's not even funny!

I didn't get any pictures from yesterday, but here are a few from today. I will be sure to get pics AND video tomorrow and Sunday. Wish us luck! Mr. Ace-Man is my hero!

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And just because I thought his expression was silly in this picture:

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Feel the Spirit, Keep on Riding!
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Re: ROUND 2: Colt Starting

Postby tmoore on Sun Nov 23, 2008 8:17 am

Ok, that last picture of his expression is absolutely **priceless**. I also have to say that this is the first time that I have seen him genuinely looking happy to be participating, like he feels really good about himself for conquering his fears 8) I can't wait to see pics of you riding :P
If you want to get close to the horse, you have to get close to yourself. Then the horse can come to you. ~Carol Nichols
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Re: ROUND 2: Colt Starting

Postby Juliane on Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:51 pm

The Colt Starting Clinic ended on Sunday, 11/23/08. And while Ace and I progressed much further than the last clinic, I still wasn't quite comfortable riding Ace aside from being ponied on him from another horse. It wasn't so much that I was worried about Ace being scared of me, as I was worried about Ace's fears of other horses and riders in the small round pen. I didn't want to have to worry about any other interruptions the first time I asked him to move when I was on his back.

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All in all, I felt that Ace was ready to take that next step and certainly would have tried riding on my own had we been in the round pen by ourselves. Jon agreed and suggested that we have a private session when he got back to town in a week and a half, to make sure Ace's first ride was a success.

I left the clinic feeling proud of Ace's accomplishments and excitement about the upcoming private clinic. I then came home and watched the videos of our 'rides' (being ponied off Jon's horse), and quickly came to the conclusion that Ace probably was ready for the solo ride and that maybe I didn't need to wait until Jon came back in a week.

Here is a 10 minute video of Ace being ponied by Jon's horse on the 3rd day of the clinic:
http://www.serenitytraining.com/blogima ... -22-08.wmv

And here is a 10 minute video of Ace being ponied, and me working on mounting/dismounting on the last day of the clinic:
http://www.serenitytraining.com/blogima ... -23-08.wmv

Can you see that he was relaxed and seemed to be ok with everything that was being asked of him? Well, seeing that, I just had to pull him out yesterday and take him to the round pen here at home and just see what he'd do. I didn't want to 'commit' to riding him if he wasn't ready, so I did not saddle him. I just hopped on bareback after tying his lead rope to his halter to form reins.

For the first few minutes, the only steps I got were in reverse, but that was ok. Each step was a huge, monumental achievement for us both, and what you can't quite tell in the video is that with each step, there was a huge release and let down from Ace. It was like he just couldn't believe that it was really ok to take a step. He was obviously trying so hard! I was completely grinning from ear to ear and practically blubbering. When he finally took a tiny step forwards, I knew we had finally broken through the barrier and crossed into 'riding horse' status. I have complete faith in Ace that he is ready. I absolutely cannot wait to go play with him again - and had it not been raining today, I would have ridden again this afternoon.

Note - I will probably keep playing around with him bareback. I prefer to ride hm bareback and I think he prefers that too. For some reason, I feel more secure on him that way. Once I know he understands what I'm asking, I'll try with the saddle. But for now, I'm pretty happy with what he's offering. (That, and he's like riding a plush sofa!) :)

Here's a short video of our first solo steps - I know it doesn't look like much, but they are BABY STEPS and the door has been opened to our unlimited future together. I am so proud of Ace for conquering his fears! Watch for many photos/videos in the near future of us exploring the great northwest together! I can't wait to take him to the beach!

http://www.serenitytraining.com/blogima ... -24-08.wmv
Feel the Spirit, Keep on Riding!
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