Training Suze

diplomaticandtactful

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Apr 25, 2003
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Given I have time on my hands at the moment through unemployment, have decided to get back into training Suze and to back her myself. For those of a classical training bent, this will not be the way we do it....

I have had a couple of sessions with her to see what she remembers from when she worked with me and Antoine before we got Buddy and she got a reprieve then. Buddy wasn't well yesterday, so who knows she may have to step and try to fill those enormous shoes, at least she has bigger feet than him....

So today I decided we would do one thing only. We would stand at mounting block and lean over. She has done this a couple of times years ago. But she is much more relaxed and confident now. Also she understands stand and wait, you can leave her and tell her to stay and she stays much better than Harrison poodles does. Maybe take her to dog training too.

We approached the mounting block, she stood alongside it, on her fore side i.e. wrong side. got up leaned over. She has a rope halter on but wasn't being held or touched just loose as she appreciates knowing she is free if she needs to be.

She couldn't do it on her near side, wouldn't line up straight, tried a couple of times but no. So using the Antoine method of your horse rarely wants to displease you so if they can't figure it out try to make it easier for them. So I made her stand and wait, and carried the mounting block to her, and lined it up where I wanted it to be, popped on it and leaned over her. Made a huge fuss of her and took her back to the field.

Will be interesting to see if she can manage it tomorrow herself. She tries very hard, I find it difficult to do her feet as she is heavy and tends to lean, so I have taught her to stand with her toe level with the ground and I kneel beside her and do her hinds that way. Not very safe but I know that she will not kick me, I can do her fronts holding them up but the hinds she puts her full weight on my back and my back doesn't like it at all. So we find a compromise where we can do the job and both of us are happy, She is very smart, she gets it once she understands it. And she is very soppy and kind. Very pleased with her today.
 

Huggy

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Nov 11, 2018
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This is going to be a fascinating thread! Looking forward to each instalment.
 

diplomaticandtactful

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Apr 25, 2003
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Buddy is now having extra food, oil, sprays to open airways and help him breath better, so he is enjoying ill health. Suze was too exhausted today to concentrate, we managed a few half hearted half passes before she rested her head on my shoulder and gave a big sigh. So we gave up.
 

diplomaticandtactful

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Apr 25, 2003
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Briiliant morning with Suze. We have a routine, she comes in at breakfast time, and stays on the yard while I muck out etc. Then she is groomed, she really enjoys being combed and hair brushed. Then she either goes back out to field or she does a little work.

Today we went out on the road. She hasn't left the yard since Buddy came, so six years. So given Sunday morning dead quiet, why not. We walked out the yard gate, along the road to the entrance to the house, in through the main gate. Then we played with the narrow gate in the garden stone wall, you can get a barrow through it, it is enclosed i.e. you have to walk under the top of it, and it is on the tight side for a comtois. But she can fit through it and good for her to learn narrow gaps in case she ever needs to do it. Fine walked through it both directions. Stood her outside the kitchen door while I went in and got her a carrot.

Came back out and along the road the horses in the field next to road charged down whinnying and running around. Suze did a huge snort and some wonderful piaffe. But she did not pull or do anything wrong, stayed right at my shoulder on loose rope. So we halted, while the horses galloped up and down, she did some sideways and downwards yielding, then left her standing out of my space, then collected her and walked back to the yard. Didn't put a hoof wrong. Reacted how you would expect with the other horses but she ignored them apart from a loud snort and trotting on the spot. You can't reprimand her for that and she continued to listen all the time.

When we got back, Buddy had brought himself from the far field and was standing at the gate with a face like thunder. What was I doing with that other horse....oops.
 

diplomaticandtactful

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Apr 25, 2003
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Buddy has been sheltered from watching further interaction with Suze in case it delays his recovery.

Suze worked really well today. First of all she had to face, literally, eye wipes, as her eyes are usually clean but today we did a little tidy up. She was horrified at the sight of the eye wipes, but gradually allowed her face to be wiped with them, then around both eyes. She also was brave enough to sniff the hoof cream container and have hoof cream applied.

Did some yielding on the yard then decided to try long reining. She had to go through the gate to the little paddock, tried it from her quarters but too scary, so moved to her withers and she was then confident enough to walk on. She hasn't been in that paddock since we put in some muck storage containers, so was a bit scared to approach them. Undid both reins and led her to them so she could take a good look. Then reconnected both ropes and we moved off again. She then went past them several times, halting, backing up in front of them, turning across them. She did lots of walk then halt, then back up. Each time she halts she turns her head and gives me a nuzzle. She is very sweet. Called it a day then, back to yard and out in the field. Faced scary things, coped with them, did everything very well.
 

diplomaticandtactful

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Apr 25, 2003
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Five minute session all that was needed. After pampering including hooves washed and oiled, on the yard we did some yields then straight into long reining first from shoulder then from at her rump. She understood and walked on, halted, did a turn to left and then right, halt and back up. That's enough, let her go and think about it then we will try it in the field tomorrow and see if she is confident in the bigger space. Wonder if she would like to do veteran in hand. It would be a huge ask but maybe something for her to consider.
 
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