Boullet lays down on cue now both outside and inside the “lay down” stall inside the barn. He has been completely willing and sweet about the process. Next, he will learn to “sit up” in the deep shavings (about 2 feet). I let Visten watch from outside the stall, and he is curious and calm.
Yesterday I started hobble training Visten. This is the introductory training that is done prior to a horse learning both the laydown and the kneeling. I was very interested to see how he would react. We approach moves of this sort that we call “moves or tricks of submission” as a process and not a move in themselves. Each horse comes to this series of moves with his own baggage, resistance or lack thereof. To treat the teaching of moves of submission with other than a humble and empathetic attitude does the horse a great disservice.
Visten could have easily been scared or resistant, considering his plight early in his young life. He was not… he was trusting and patient and compliant.
He has been wearing a light pad and surcingle for some time, although not in every training session. He is also accustomed to having his legs wrapped and wearing hobbles around his pasterns.
I took him into the laydown stall and asked him to pick up his near leg, which he did without hesitation. I did this a number of times so that he understood that I would let him put his leg down in a reasonable length of time. After a few repetitions of lifting and holding his leg with the rigging, I asked him to take a couple of steps in that position. He did so confidently and with no struggle. He did curiously look at me but was completely confident in me and the process.
I did not have company, so the pictures that I snapped were not of great quality.
I believe that learning to lay down* on cue will be non-eventful for me and Visten.
*We commonly use the term lay down, although lie down is grammatically correct.
– Suzanne De Laurentis