frustrations in horse training
Jasper won't stand still to be harnessed unless he is on crossties or held by the halter by another person. He fidgets, nibbles my clothing, pulls my pocketknife out of my jeans and throws it on the ground. Once in harness, he won't stand still, has to be moving. And he won't move forward from a whoa into a step-up unless he feels like it, 80% of the time he just turns around to walk towards me and gets the chains and traces tangled. So I need to unstrapped them, move him back into position, tell him to whoa and try again. It gets so frustrating I want to scream. Yesterday, we were ground driving without any chains or weight, just me and the reins and he just decided to lie down and roll around in the grass, hooves in the air scratching his back. I stood there like a moron holding the reins, asking "Are you kidding me?" while he showed me his belly and acted like a toddler having a fit in the grocery store. After a while he starts walking on his own and some progress is made, like what you saw in that video, but I think the writings on the wall here: he needs an experienced trainer. And I need to hit the books.
I was in the break area at work talking with a friend about Jasper and I, and the struggles I'm having. I said out loud, but to myself, That I should have apprenticed under someone with cart horses first. Should have done my homework. Should have studied, and prepped, and so on. "That's not the Jenna way." was his response. This is very true.
I'm not giving up. I just need to keep at it, and go about it differently. But I would be lying if I wasn't getting disheartened.The upside to all this is how sound of an animal Jasper really is. He acts the way he does because of my poor handling an inexperience, but even with the confusing commands, wrong bit (we now have a properly fitted driving bit), and new chains and people: he has not kicked, bolted, bit or caused any harm. To put up with me and my learning curves proves there's some patience and kindness in this pony. We'll get through it.
So this weekend, and experienced trainer is stopping by the farm. A Haflinger trainer from a town over, and she'll help me get right with Jasper. In the mean time, I'll train him the most logical and successful way I know how: with help. If I am driving from behind and another person is calmly walking him by the halter, we can make progress. Tonight two friends are coming to the farm, Tim and Geoff, to help train Jasper and Tim will take some photos as well. He hasn't been up to the farm since it was muddy, cold, and lamby so it'll be quite the change with grass and three times the sheep!