I'm hoping to get my 8 month old filly to an inspection in the next few years and started today working on in-hand manners--most specifically, setting up and standing still, and trotting in hand. She has stellar manners in hand generally, but had sort of an amusing problem with the trot. First I tried the typical and silly, tugging-slightly-while-stupidly-jogging-in-place, but to no avail, she wasn't amused. Not even a quickened step. After running out of enthusiasm there, I progressed to a crop, then even to a dressage whip--NOTHING. Luckily or unluckily for me, she's a rock...could not have cared less. I did finally get a good 15 second trot out of her and called it a day with much praise, though I have a suspicion it was just a wild hair from the wind outside. It was amusing to say the least... I've actually judged and taught showmanship/horsemanship and have never had a horse that a dressage whip didn't encourage after some patience. Short of having someone chase along and kiss behind her (which is going to have to be the next step I guess), any techniques of teaching your babies that have worked for you? How much focus did you put into them squaring up for yearling vs two year old classes? Thanks in advance
I've used a soft longeline attached to halter on left side then brought over the back and around the rump above hocks, loosely, then, holding the end in left hand as you stand on the youngster's left side with lead in the right hand, walk then ask for the trot. If the wee thing doesn't respond smartly, tighten the "rump line" and see if that gets a forward response. I loosen it after I get the forward response. I also incline my body forward (from the waist) for an increase of gait, and straighten up to walk and even lean back a bit for a halt. Then the horse has a visual cue and, hopefully, will learn to read you and respond. I do this from the get-go, even while using the "rump
line" and find I'm able to give up the longeline pretty quickly.
Carrots are always the reward. All of my babies have so far caught on quickly. Hope this might help you or may be forth trying!
dianehalpin, those are great suggestions. I'm going to try it with my coming 2 y.o. He's super sensitive and when we practiced with my helper standing behind with a lunge whip, I'd cluck and at the same time helper would slap the ground with the lunge whip a few feet behind JR, it was slightly too much pressure I think. He would Trot alright! Explode into the trot! Then when I would cluck to him with out the helper nearby, he would still over react.
Tidy Rabbit, the youngsters can sometimes be "explosive" when they feel the rump line, even slack, so do this with care. On the other hand, for a sensitive baby sometimes just using the leaning-forward-for-trot, straightening-up-for-decrease-in-forward movement works just fine alone or using a carrot. I've often used the rump line to load resistant youngsters because it enables me to load them quietly without assistance.