Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Working to make Biscuit a top notch trail horse

I have spent quiet a bit of time working with The Biscuit.  I will own him for 2 years on November 1 of this year.  I took possession of him on October 22 of 2010. 

When I got Biscuit he was terrified.  He was outside of his comfort zone and was scared someone was going to hurt him.  He wouldn't pick up his feet, his ground manners weren't the best, he ignored commands from the saddle, was a nose to tail trail horse, couldn't hold a jog, and couldn't transition to a canter softly, tossed his head constantly when asked to slow down.

He has improved so much but he still has a long way to go.  I think he would have improved way more if his owner was a trainer!  Biscuit is smart as a whip but he also has a head like a rock!

The first was consistant in his paces.  Biscuit gets a B.  He has greatly improved and I can set Biscuit at a pace at times and yes, he will keep that pace for a long time.  Will pick it back up instantly when having to slow down to cross a log or muddy spot, etc.  He will keep that jog at a very consistant, easy to ride speed.  He will walk a slow walk nicely and sometimes a fast extended walk.  Generally more on the way back for that one!!!  As for cantering, we are working on it.  Biscuit is handicapped in that area by a sissy owner.  I am working on my own issues and learning to relax so I can canter.  Biscuit will also balk about going out by himself in places he is unfamiliar with.  He is like pushing a tractor down the road that is not turned on.  We are working on riding by ourselves and he does a great job in Tyrrell Park woods by himself but not so well out on the bayou section.  He was nervous.  He will also throw it into reverse if he doesn't want to go somewhere so he does evade at times.  He doesn't jig.  He doesn't kick.  He is never aggressive with other horses.  He has stopped crowding up a horses backside when riding so it that area, major improvement.  So, Biscuit gets a B - he has improved greatly but has a way to go. 

His gates are enjoyable.  He can jog like a pro and his trot is nice.  His walk is nice.  His canter is getting better and it going to be very nice. 

Neck reining - Biscuit can neck rein but I generally have both hands on the reins. 

Independent?  Well, sometimes.  I am working on the walking away from other horses on the trail.  Getting way better.  I took him back to the trailer after a ride and then turned and made him go back to the trail.  He did it willingly.  He is not totally there but getting better. 

Stand for mounting - most of the time.  Sometimes he will take a step forward or move laterally towards me.  I would give Biscuit a A- on that.  He was always good on the trail mounting.  It was more of a problem in an arena.  He stands now perfectly in an arena.

Ground tie.  I can let Biscuit just stand somewhere and for the most part he will stay right there.  He is still a horse though!

Standing tied.  Biscuit is terrific when he is tied to something.  Never ever have a problem with that..

Crossing water.  Biscuit will cross water easily.  He gets more icky about a mud puddle - Biscuit isn't a fan of mud!!!  It makes me laugh because he will cross a creek up to his knees easily and willingly, but looks at a mud puddle or little bit of water like it is the devil and will contort himself to go around it.  He will walk right into a lake up to his gut with gusto.  Gotta watch him though.  He starts pawing and could go down if not watched.  The first time I ever saw Biscuit, he dropped in the water at Ebenezer with Esther on him three times.  So I pay attention when I put him in water!

Biscuit will climb hills and go down them without a fuss.  He listens when I tell him slowly.  He would like to trot up and down and would if I allowed it but I don't really allow that!

Leg yield....he will leg yield but sometimes wanted to speed up.  He is getting that down pat nicely and his leg yields are nice!

Backing - Biscuit will back nicely and without a fuss.  He also knows how to turn on the forehand. 

Side passing - when I got Biscuit he would side pass to the right A TINY LITTLE BIT.  When asked to go to the left he would have a melt down.  I have worked with the leg yield every time on the trail just about to where I am sure people behind me thought we were drunken sailors but I was asking for the yield.  Now Biscuit will side pass nicely and I am so proud of him!!!!  It really helps with spider polo to know how to side pass!!! 

Stand and whoa means whoa.  Biscuit for the most part will stand nicely where ever I put him.  He is not perfect but he is pretty chill when asked to stand with other horses or on the trail.

Load in a trailer - Biscuit will load up in my ramp Brenderup, the ranches 3 horse slant and the 4 horse Featherlite, hops right in Kellie's 3 horse slant so once I taught Biscuit to get into the ramped Brenderup he is a doll about it.  He would sometimes not want to load for awhile after I got him but a tap with the buggy whip encouraged him to go.  Now my boy is strickly self loading.  I walk him up to the trail and he easily walks in by himself and stands there quietly.  He unloads just as quietly where it is the ramp or step down. 

Drink and eat on the trail - Biscuit would eat anywhere.  He loves to grab a bit of grass on his way through tall grass!  As far as drinking out of a nasty puddle we have never had the occasion to do that but Biscuit is pretty much a "do what you have to do" kind of boy.

That is the list as it was posted by Jamison.  I personally would like to add:

Non spookiness - Biscuit isn't a real spooky horse.  That is not to say he hasn't spooked on a trail but he has never bolted or thrown a fit even when pigs literally exploded out from under his feet.  He jumped to the right about 1 foot.  He got his back feet tangled in vines earlier this year at Kisatchie.  He worked to get his feet untangled and quietly walked away.  Biscuit mostly spooks in place or within a few feet and I just go with him.

Ability to that the lead.  Biscuit will SOMETIMES.  We are working on it.  Yesterday was not a day he would take the lead until we were basically half way through the ride and "heading" home. 

Go where you point them.  Biscuit will do quiet a bit that I asked him but not everything.  Sarge is way better at that!!!. 

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