On Saturday we drove down to visit Eugene. My husband had a lessons with the trainer on ground work. Her style seems to be a bit of natural horsemanship, but also a lot of practical stuff. Which is good since I'm not a huge fan of NH. My husband, while a good rider, didn't grow up around horses and he has been spoiled by having a very well-trained and forgiving horse in Shasta. So he's not terribly aware of body language with horses. The lessons started off with one of her more trained horses and then moved to Eugene.
(Apologies in advance as a lot of the pictures are pretty blurry because I only had my cell phone and I was sitting far away to stay in the shade.)
They started by getting Eugene to "join up" and follow my husband around.
Then it was time for haltering:
Then they moved on to sort of lunging. I forget what the trainer calls this, but the objective is for the horse to move out when directed by the arm and to spin it's hind quarters away if the handler leans in and stares at the hind quarters.
I'm not going to really get into my opinions on this, but Eugene was being a good pony.
They moved on to doing grooming and hoof picking. Eugene was a little tense, but handled it well.
During the grooming, Eugene was quite interested in what my husband was doing. He even seemed like he might want to groom my husband back, but he didn't.
After grooming, they left the arena to do some hand grazing. Eugene was very interested in the carrots, but really wanted to get them from as far away as possible.
He did accept some pettings though he had to keep an ear on my husband.
In seeing him again, I'm more impressed with his conformation than I was when I originally got him. He certainly not a fancy purebred, but he's nicely uphill and he has a good shoulder angle. I also like his heavy, thick leg bones, which should hold up well to endurance. His hind end is a little too upright to me and his back is longer than I'd like, but overall, he's pretty good.
Because of Eugene's initial bought of unsoundness and then waiting on the farrier and then waiting on the chiro and then a lot of rain, the trainer ended up not doing much with him last month. Even though most of that wasn't her fault, she actually refunded us the cost of his training and just charged us for board for that month. While I appreciate her honesty and not trying to just take our money, I also want her to train the damn horse. Given that we dropped off an - admittedly green - but ridable horse, I would like to get a more rideable horse back in two months. He's got another month of training coming so we'll see how that goes.
Labels: Eugene the Mustang