Week 4- Bridle and Girth
Graduating halter training
I am proud to say that Cooper has graduated halter training, he has developed softness to all of the ground cues that I use to move his feet and establish my role as the leader.
He is soft to lead, back up, side step, he is confident to move his hind quarter and shoulder independently of one another.
This is not to say that cooper never needs to work in a halter again on the contrary. Every time I interact with Cooper in a halter, we will use and repeat the cues he has learnt in the past 4 weeks. If I am leading him in from the paddock or standing in line for the wash bay I can always practice or improve his halter skills.
Cooper has been calm and relaxed in response to all of my groundwork cues, so I knew he would respond well to the introduction of a surcingle and bridle.
Introducing a girth
The importance of inside bend/ flexion can’t be overstated, from day one Cooper has been learning to bend and flex his head and neck toward me and move his hind quarter away when I ask. This sets cooper up so that if he were to get a fright, his hind quarter is free to move away.
This week I used inside bend while introducing a rope and then surcingle around Coopers girth. By using a ground work exercise that Cooper has done many times and is now quite good at, the rope and surcingle were a non issue. The session was about following my cues, and less about the new piece of equipment. Check out “Equine System”- YouTube channel for the full video.
Introducing the Bridle
Last week we had Gary Mudgway professionally fit Cooper and Wrangler with brand new Bomber bits. This week Cooper got to try his out for the very first time.
There are three things that we have been working on in the lead up to bridling
- Inside flexion
- Head down
- Handling Coopers mouth
Setting Cooper up for success is about breaking down the task into simple achievable movements and training each one individually before we add them together. In the case of bridling, Cooper added it up perfectly.
He was easy to bridle over the top of his halter and within 15 mins of us working through the exercises he was good at his mind had switched from being worried about the new thing in is mouth to confidently following my halter cues.
Tips and tricks - Always leave your bridle a little looser than usual when bitting for the first time, I find that horses learn faster when they can move their tongue freely over and then back under to the correct position. For more tips and tricks follow Coopers training @brumbydiaries on Facebook.