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A Showmanship Lesson
Our shows start the end of April, so I have been making an effort to work with Cruiser on showmanship and halter.

I fit him with a thick leather halter and a fat cotton lead rope. We have been working on staying together, stopping when I stop and standing still, and moving feet. He is coming along nicely, and really does try to do what I want, but some times little boys are, well, little boys.

Feet are supposed to be set square - side by side - and directly under his body. That is a difficult concept for a baby to understand. I pull his head down and toward me, push or pull to move the diagonal back leg. Cruiser responds by moving his head - leg stays still. I push harder and the leg moves. That's good, it didn't stop where I wanted but it moved. Good Cruiser!! No Cruiser do not put your nose on me, you must face forward!! Good boy!! Leave the rope alone!! So we walk ahead another few feet.

We stop, he keeps his head forward, I pull down and he moves his leg. Yeah we got movement - good Cruiser!!! Nose is ahead, mouth is closed. Now we need to place the front feet. I take hold of the halter in my left hand, lift up to get the weight from his front end, step back to hold on his withers with my right hand. I can't reach!!!! From his halter to his withers is longer than my arm span!!!! Ok, so I compromise - I still hold the halter and catch hold of the top of his neck as close to his withers as I can reach. Now I start pulling and pushing to get those front feet unstuck. I reach out of put my foot behind his front leg to help, and - I can't reach!!!! So we compromise again - this time I step on the front of his foot. Not ideal but if I can't reach, I can't reach!!!!!
By this time Cruiser has lost his attention and is trying to figure out what there is on me that he can taste.

We move forward again, stop and repeat the back leg movement. That one is getting better. Now I know what to do with the front end, so I get in position and lift up and step on his foot. He brings his foot forward as I ask - but very quickly. Mental note, put my leg out to block that forward moving leg so it stops in sort of the right place. I push his head over straight, I praise him well and step across as if the judge is coming - Cruiser thinks this would be a good time to grab the rope in his mouth and play a game of tug of war. After I get the rope from his mouth, we go back walking.

Then, I trot - he walks, I pull, I trot - he walks. I reach back and flop the end of the rope in his ribs - he trots. Yeah, good Cruiser!!! We walk and set up a bit, we get to the end of the arena and I start trotting down the long side. Cruiser is trotting nicely beside me when I feel the rope start bumping - look sideways and there is this big horse bunny hopping along beside me with his mouth OPEN, reaching toward me - saying "Hey this is fun - lets Rumble". Ooopps!!!!! Bad Cruiser!!!!! So, we stop and the coiled up lead rope gets forcibly applied to Cruisers nose!!! We then go back out walking, and stopping, and setting up, and even more trots.

Practicing showmanship is sure a lot of fun - just ask Cruiser!!!!!

Now before anyone suggests it, there are no pictures available - nor will there be for awhile. Ed laughed and laughed when I explained about the difficulties of training a big horse - he has already suggested the picture idea and I have already vetoed that one.
Aw, c'mon... it sounds like pictures of that trotting lesson would be a hoot!

Ah c'mon Mrs H, now your description of the whole lesson is fantastic but thats just your side, pictures would show Cruser's side of the lesson[Big Grin] He will make you proud
Colleen who hopes to have a horse soon.

The air of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears -- Arabian proverb

I could just see the whole thing in my mind! Cruiser has an excellent sense of humor!


haha! FUN story...I could see the mental picture of the "Let's be serious" you, and the "C'mon, don't you want to play?" Cruiser!

I think you nailed it with the, "Boys will be boys"!! [Big Grin]

He's such a good boy....I bet you were smiling too!

It's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years.
Karen-Anchorage, Alaska
I think video would give you a much better picture of how Cruiser is progressing. You could see what he's doing right & wrong as well as what you're doing right and wrong!

Of course, putting the vids online for us experts to review would be very helpful to all of us. [Big Grin]

How's that for arm twisting??? LOL! Did it work?? [Wink]
<div align="left">Karen ~ Trails & Joe Paint Gelding Paoli, IN</div id="left"> <i>"My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sun and neigh in the night." </i> [Image: th_horse-galloping.gif] ~~~~~~

Oh, I agree with you PG! It would be a good training tool for those of us who are not so expert too! Kind of a how to video, or how not to.[Big Grin]
A good rider has a thinking mind, fine emotions and a sensitive hand.-Tu Yu,72 BC

Too All that Requested Video Coverage:

I have been giving the video showmanship idea a great deal of thought.

Now I know all you people who are practicing showmanship every day would like to see how someone else is progressing, and I understand that. I also know you would like to see how cute baby Cruiser looks with a rope in his mouth, and I know you would really like to see him bunny hopping along. I am not sure you really want to see the wide open mouth pointed in my direction though, nor do you really want to see the repercussions of that action.

You all must understand that watching showmanship practice is about the same as sitting and watching grass grow. Baby Cruiser has promised faithfully that he will behave to the utmost of his ability, which takes away all the fun stuff like fast trotting and bunny hopping, refusing to move his feet, tasting anything on me he can taste, playing tug of war with the rope -- well you get the general idea - he is going to be extraordinary good and just stand perfectly square and perfectly still. See as interesting as watching grass grow.

Sooo, the conclusion is NOOOO!!!!! We are not going to do any video footage!!! But it was a really good try guys. Mawhaaahaaaaa!!!!!!!
Hee hee hee! At least ya gotta give us credit for trying! [Big Grin]


Darn!!! She saw right through our thinly veiled plot!!![}Smile]
A good rider has a thinking mind, fine emotions and a sensitive hand.-Tu Yu,72 BC


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