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Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

Driving: Juniper’s Training

by Lynn R. Miller of Singing Horse Ranch

A final sneak peak at the Second Edition of Lynn R. Miller’s “Training Workhorses / Training Teamsters.” Today’s excerpt, “Driving: Juniper’s Training,” is from Chapter 11, “Starting and Training Older Horses.” Click here to order.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

A. At the same session as the harnessing, after Juniper is accustomed to her harness, we snap a bit back into her halter and buckle single lines on.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

B. As I give the first command to go you can see Juniper trying to figure out the pressure on that bit in her mouth.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

C. Then Juniper reverts and seems to say, “Let me out of here.” Which is fine because we just go round and round in the pen with me trying to convince her, once again, that her forward motion is my wish.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

D. By staying towards the center of the pen my circles are smaller and I don’t need to travel at nearly the speed Juniper chooses. I work to be matter-of-fact about how it all is going. Nothing bad can happen.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

E. & F. Here I can see and feel a change in her manner as she slows and begins to accept the process.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

F.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

G. Juniper stopped on her own and I said Whoa at that same instant. Then she turned 180 degrees and set off again with me following.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

H. As she slowed naturally I applied a very slight pressure on the lines and said a sharp WHOA. She stopped nicely.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

I. So I went to her and thanked her for her cooperation. All that roping-out has paid off.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

J. We go around a couple more times at a walk and I force her to turn across the pen.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

K. Midway across I set her head to make a U-turn, careful to be prepared to quickly stay behind her.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

L. She is resisting the bit’s position, a natural early reaction that requires a firm but compassionate perseverance on the teamster’s half.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

M. Making a turn that requires that you maintain nearly equal tension on both driving lines, it’s just that the line on the inside of the turn is a bit shorter and creates an angle to the bit in the horse’s mouth.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

N. The mare then turns her head to make the bit position in her mouth straight and therefore more comfortable. Next the body follows the head.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

O. Juniper stops on my command and seems attentive yet relaxed.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

P. I go to her with my full and genuine gratitude.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

Q. We make a few more rounds and with each pass she gets more comfortable and casual.

Training Workhorses Training Teamsters Driving Junipers Training

R. We end this forty-five minute session thrilled and a bit tired.

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