Welcome to my work with my Josie. This first post is a catch up so you have some idea of where we started. Future posts will take you forward on what we are currently working on!
Josie is an 11 yo blue roan American quarter horse mare at the time of this post. Her past includes working cattle as a ranch and trail horse and had 3 owners prior to me. She came into my life in April of 2021 as a traditionally trained, well educated safe horse. Thinking back to those days I was riding her in a western saddle and a high port leverage bit as that was her standard equipment, I slowly transitioned her over the next couple of months to my dressage saddle and a full cheek snaffle bit. All the time I rode her she felt tense although she had (has) the most wonderful walk she had a very rushed, rough trot as well as canter (lope). There was no jog, she felt like she just was in a hurry to get it all over with. Her head position was mostly curled (and still can be) I imagine to avoid the bit pressure. Usually on her forehand even when standing. The photo above is the result of LOTs of in hand and liberty work over the last year to begin the development of a collected, balanced frame.
Over this last year we have taken it WAAAAYYYY back to the beginning using a +R systematic constructional training method. This was a challenge at first as I love working with horses in hand and close up and she did not understand (or accept) this from me. Lunging was not willingly offered when cued with traditional equipment (long line and whip). The request and equipment were highly poisoned so I needed to find another way. I could not even stand on her right side except when grooming and tacking in a stall. Otherwise she would move herself and place me on her left. We started teaching the foundation behaviors per Alexandra Kurland's program such as ears forward, targeting, backing, head lowering, grown-ups, rope handling and so much more. The future posts will further document our journey.
Please check out Alex's website www.the clickercenter.com for more information and how to access her online teachings.
You can see some of journey as the last year has passed on my YouTube channel HERE.