Monday, October 26, 2009

More work inside

Since my trainer helped me get Panama inside on Friday, we've done a little more work in the indoor areas. It's going quite well.

On Saturday after taking the pictures of Panama playing in the arena, I took him inside the barn. He balked a few times, but it didn't take a long time to get him unstuck, using the techniques my trainer had me work on Friday.

While we were in there, the stall cleaners parked the truck in the aisle — the truck has a trailer on it where the put the manure and wet bedding to be taken to the manure pile. This gave me an opportunity to work with Panama on desensitizing him to that truck. I walked him right up to the truck, banged lightly on the hood, and then encouraged him to sniff it. Then I stood there and chatted with the stall cleaners briefly. They also had their dogs with them, and since Panama is very interested in dogs, that helped too.

When they moved the truck down a little, they parked it so that it was partially blocking the hallway to the indoor arena. I decided to try walking Panama in and out of the hallway with the truck parked there. I didn't think he would do it, but he did — without hesitation! I think it helped that we were right behind the dogs the whole time, but in any case he is doing worlds better about the whole thing.

I also took him into the indoor, where a teenage girl was riding her horse. This turned out to be quite stimulating and challenging for Panama — all he wanted to do was run with the other horse. In his excitement he was practically bowling me over when I'd walk him, because he wanted to get to the horse.

He did eventually calm down a little, but I told my trainer that would need some more work. So this evening, when she was there for another lesson, she took Panama into the indoor arena with her (with my permission, of course). I arrived about halfway through the lesson to see how he was doing — he was extremely alert but seemed to be doing well. She said he had been quite worked up at first, but he calmed down just fine.

As I was watching, she also walked him over a jump that was set up. It was low enough that my trainer could step over it, but high enough that Panama had to jump a little bit to clear it. At first he was nervous about it, but then he watched her student jump it on her horse several times. Every time he lifted his head and watched with his ears forward, clearly very interested. And the next time my trainer tried to walk him over the poles, he did a lovely graceful little jump!

I asked her if she thought he was ready to start jumping, but she said no — he still needs some other work. So we've worked out a plan where she's going to start riding him once a week, in addition to my weekly lesson — starting tomorrow.

I'm pleased with how much progress Panama made in the last few weeks, and I'm looking forward to seeing how he does with my trainer riding him regularly!

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2 Comments:

At October 27, 2009 at 12:59 AM, Anonymous Veronica said...

Jumping! That sounds exciting.

 
At October 27, 2009 at 1:18 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Veronica, I'm trying not to get too excited, because it sounds like he needs some more work first. And even when he does get there, it'll probably be my trainer jumping him, not me -- I'm definitely not ready for that yet. Panama learns a lot faster than I do, I'm afraid!

 

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