on sunday we gathered as a group first thing and had the pleasure of watching an animal training video that david made with one of his mentors, Jenifer Zeligs. she works in CA at Mosslanding Marine Labs with sea lions and is doing amazing things with them!
afterwards we had a question and answer session. i asked if he thought billy was ready to ride yet and his answer had many parts. the first part was that he feels that billy still has too many of his own ideas. he is not obedient enough yet. this made me feel a little sad because i’ve worked so hard on getting him to respect me as a leader and yet i can see what david is saying because i have not been particular enough with him. i’ve allowed him to be sloppy with his answers. if my communication is mushy, then his answers will not be snappy.
another part of the answer had to do with the parelli guidelines for riding a young horse.
at 2 1/2 years old put 10 rides on him. at 3 1/2 put another 10 rides on. then at 4 years old he is ready to ride! i thought this was an excellent guideline and one that i’ve basically followed with my other young horses. though i didn’t put 10 rides on at 2. i just waited until they were 3. i must say that billy is farther along right now, at 3 years old than some of my riding horses were at 6 and 7 in my normal days!
he read off a list of things that billy “should” be able to do. a few things on that list include:
- cantering with a tarp on him
- dragging all kinds of different things
- the tail flip (keeping his tail relaxed as i move it up and over and all around)
- moving around with the flank rope
- stand tied for hours and hours and hours
- 1500 hours of trail walking
there were many more… but i couldn’t write fast enough!!! basically what he was saying was get creative. think outside the box. if it’s crazy, try it!
david said that my goal of passing level 4 online and at liberty before i ride is a great one and i should stick to that. he also talked about not chasing the levels. just put the pieces together and before you know it, level 4 is behind you!
he talked a lot about animal psychology and this really fascinated me. i think i may look into some college courses on that. jenifer zeligs, his mentor, does a week long animal training/psychology course in CA that i am going to look into as well.
a woman named Kayce Cover does some classes on animal psychology as well and i’m going to start investing in those.
the way horses, dogs, cats, deer, etc. see the world and why they do the things they do has always fascinated me. i remember my mom watching a horse do something and then being that horse’s voice when i was growing up. i was certain that my mom KNEW what the horse was thinking and always wanted to have that ability too. watching body language and paying attention to how the horse reacts to things has been a focus for me since i was little. taking these classes just seems like the next natural step!