Well quite a lot has happened on my trip here in Tasmania, unfortunately the internet has been a bit of an issue, but I’ll try to give you an idea of what I’ve been up to…
Ty has been started under saddle and is developing very nicely. He already feels like a seasoned trailer horse! All of the stubbornness he has on the ground vanishes when I ride and he is calm while still being responsive to my aids. It’s the dream! Yesterday I must have ridden him for about 4 or 5 hours and most of that was trail riding. Wallabies rustled in the bush and scurried across the trail in front of us and Ty didn’t even flinch.
I just started riding him at the beginning of this week. Where did his 3rd ride take place? In the ocean!
At first we swam out in to the (freezing) water and Ty walked in without hesitation. It was a good thing he is so confident, because the only way I managed to heave myself out of the water, was to jump up with one of the larger waves.
Other than that, I have been riding him around the property and going on long trail rides with him. Unfortunately, Lace got a huge gash on her head from being trailered to the beach (somehow), so she won’t be ridden for a few more days.
But it’s not all just horse things here in Australia… we also went to watch a few sheepdog trials earlier this week. I love to see such advanced communication between handler and dog and then the herd of sheep. Every little aspect makes a huge difference. The sheepdog has to be fast on his feet as well as calm and listen to his handler very well. The last trial we saw made me cringe quite a bit.
A larger farmer was working with a slow, probably older dog, and the man barked out commands. His voice was rough, loud, frustrated and highly irritating. Not only was it effecting his dog, but it was spooking the sheep! Every time his dog finally got these fidgety sheep close to the gate or ramp, the handler barked “STOP!” really loud to tell his dog to stop putting pressure on them. Hearing the handler’s loud, harsh voice, the sheep ran back and scattered – losing them points.
The quieter the handler was, the more the dog paid attention and the more respect he had. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be strict or that they never have to raise their voice. The difference is that their goal is to reach a quiet, calm, harmonious communication and the man doing the third trial didn’t care about that.
You can learn a lot from simply observing! Stay tuned… only one more week here in Tasmania!