While I continue to wait for Georgie to recover, I’ve been continuing my fun with Val. The other day I decided to throw some groundpoles out and trot him over them, to help break up the monotony of dressaging.
I threw them down and didn’t check the distance. I figured the point was for him to figure it out. Three poles, thrown down randomly.
We walked over them a couple times then came to them at a trot.
Val LEAPED over each and every one. Horse can JUMP. Sarah missed the whole thing so I yelled over to her “Did you just see that? Val jumped the groundpoles!” I was kind of laughing, kind of stunned.
Her answer? “He’s probably never seen a groundpole.” She was not surprised by his reaction to them at all.
Wait. What the what? This horse is 14 years old, is schooling 3rd level dressage and has never seen a GROUNDPOLE? Now, I will never state that I know anything about training green horses. But I feel like, when you ARE training baby horses, you would maybe, perhaps, walk and trot them over groundpoles? I mean, again, I’ve never brought up a baby horse, but I thought that was part of Baby Horse 101.
According to Sarah, no, it’s not. At least in Baby Dressage Horse 101. Wow. I felt naive.
So, kindhearted Sarah came over and gave me a lesson in how to teach a horse about groundpoles. We set out 5 poles. In a systematic and repetitive distance (all I know is they were three of my feet apart) and then she had me walk over them. Pet him. Then trot him over them. I kept my posting consistent and used a half halt if I felt him quicken. He trotted over the poles easily and happily and got a big pat. We did this a few times and have done it again since with no issue.
Looks like Val will be doing a lot of groundpole work the next few days with the hope that when he sees one, just out and about, he doesn’t want to fly over it.
Horse has got hops though!