Slowly but steadily, Dandy is making progress here in Nevada.
I’m using a mixture of natural and classical methods to teach Dandy. For example, so far the only thing I’ve been doing with him is lunging and desensitizing. Dandy doesn’t really care so much about the rope or handy-stick so that’s going pretty easy. The only thing is that he’s still learning that the rope on him doesn’t always mean lunge. When we lunge, I send him off using Clinton Anderson methods but I am also working on rhythm and transitions in the classic English way. Dandy is getting really good at the sending. I even used it to send him through the gate when I put him away.
Anyway, today we worked on transitions and voice commands. Halt-Walk. Walk-Halt. We spent almost 30 minutes just walking and halting and switching directions. Then at the very end I asked for a few walk-trot and trot-walk transitions. His worst transition is definitely the walk-halt but I was proud of how hard he tried. I don’t think we’ll be working on canter transitions for quite a while for a few reasons. One is that the arena is incredibly slippery right now. I’m pretty sure Dandy’s legs would slip out from underneath him if I asked him for canter. The second is that Dandy is just not ready to canter. He is not balanced at all and he doesn’t have the muscle for it. Even at a trot and on a 14ft lead, Dandy is constantly pulling at the rope because he isn’t balanced. He’s better to his left, which makes sense, but it’s still not great. There will be a lot of lunging before I ask to canter. Same thing with putting the side reins on.
Afterwards, I took Dandy for a walk up the road. Today was his best day leading as he only invaded my space once. As we walked, he only got nervous from being on his own once and was otherwise curious but willing. I even made him walk over a little ditch twice. One of my goals is to be able to take or ride Dandy anywhere so these hacks along the road are really good for us.
Dandy is starting to gain weight so that is good. He also got his first serving of grain since being out here. No surprise, he wolfed it right up. He has also upgraded to being in with the main heard full time. Perfect timing as we’re supposed to have a big storm later this week and the main pasture has the biggest shelters. Dandy doesn’t seem to have a close friend yet but I do see him hanging with William most of the time. I suppose they are discussing their times at the track.
Now I actually get to relax and tonight I get to have the tatter-tot hot dish I just finished putting together. I added Italian sausage to give it a little zip. Yum.