This week, we once again spent a lot of our time working on Pick Me Up From the Fence with our other groundwork exercises mixed in. He's really pulling up nicely next to the fence for me. I haven't been able to get him to give me a reaction with that right flank this week, so he's definitely making progress in that regard.
Since I've had a lot of time sitting atop the fence rubbing him, I began to consider taking a different approach as I did with the half-draft gelding I had last fall & into this past spring. Instead of doing our first rides in the round pen where we get our walk, trot, lope right off the bat with a round pen helper, I spend more time working on Pick Me Up Off the Fence & turn that into our nice & easy first rides, often around their pen. While that gelding was particularly touchy about the saddle, Hickory isn't bothered by that. However, I think Hickory could benefit from this method. My hunch was confirmed when Randy came home & Hickory's usual quiet, go-with-the-flow attitude turned into stranger danger on high alert. I'm going to have Randy spend a bit of time doing some groundwork with him if he doesn't have to head out in the truck on Monday. We'll see if he settles with that & he may show that he can handle my traditional round pen first ride. Otherwise, we'll progress in the other direction initially until he understands that he doesn't need to get tight & reactive. I'd also like to incorporate some clicker training so that I can target the behavior that I want, as well as put him in more of a rest & digest state.
Next week, we'll do some Pick Me Up Off of the Fence, which I may just turn into an unconventional, relaxed & easy first ride. If need be, we'll do my more traditional first ride on Sunday.
- Lexy Nuesch
Next week's update will be posted on Sunday.
I do my best to get these updates posted in a timely manner, but it's not uncommon for me to be outside until after dark, depending on the weather, my schedule, & who gets worked when so updates will sometimes be posted quite late in the evening. Don't be alarmed if you don't see your update right away. In rare cases, I may have to push them until the next morning, but I'll reach out & let you know if so.