Drew and Apache Learn New Skills

Yeah, yeah, non-horsey people. It’s another horse post. I’m very proud of what my horses and I have been learning, though, and I want to be able to look back on our good days and smile. I need smiles and kindness, and I got those in huge doses yesterday!

And I got hay!

We just had the best lesson yesterday! So much learning and progress, and we all had fun! Drew is making great progress in trotting and cantering in a calm and upright manner. And I am making good progress correcting his tendency to barge into me, which concerns Tarrin. I got all up in his face just like she does. Woot.

I know I have to listen up when this human talks.

I’m extra proud of Drew, because he learned a new skill today, dragging an object. I enjoyed watching how carefully Tarrin introduced this, so it would be a positive experience for Drew. I probably learned more than he did!

This thing is interesting.

The deal is that the sight of the thing being dragged, along with the sound of it, can unnerve a young horse. By first just dragging it herself and only attaching it to the saddle after Drew got used to it, Tarrin set him up for success.

Here, she’s pulling the tire

Drew showed some signs of concern, but didn’t get really upset. He got chances to inspect the rope and tire, too. By the end of the exercise, he wasn’t phased even when the rope touched his flank. Yay Drew! Here are more pictures of him learning.

Apache and I both learned a lot, too. I’m figuring things out and doing way better with my riding form, even if I do look like a lump still in photos. And Apache is getting much closer to a controlled trot to canter transition. It’s a struggle for him. Many years of not having a clue are hard to undo.

Doing our best.

We did a lot on the ground and mounted, then headed back to all his “scary” spots, where he got upset by a calm old horse and then was a bit jumpy. But we handled it. Both Lee and Tarrin were kind enough to take some pictures of us. It helps me analyze what I need to work on.

Here we are going back and forth getting closer and closer to the dreaded trailer.

We had some success and I was happy. He also was! At one point when he figured out we were asking him to canter, he stopped and looked so energized that Tarrin said he looked like a magnificent Arabian for a brief moment. For me it was the look in his eyes, as if to say, “I did it!” It’s so nice to see him enjoying his learning.

Here is lumpy Suna working with nervous Patchy on the approach to the scary trailer.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

5 thoughts on “Drew and Apache Learn New Skills”

    1. No. I doubt he will use one. You don’t really need them if you use your body for cues. He’s used to halter cues after 15 years bitless other than a few times with Sara.


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