Have you ever seen a film that took place in a prison in which the prisoners didn't have some sort of secret world? Every prison film details the "secret life" the population carries on, the guards (seemingly) oblivious. They've got a whole "underground railroad" thing happening - with goods and services flowing back and forth, even their own currency. (Isn't it always cigarettes?) The underlying current making this all possible, of course, is their secret pipeline of communication, secret signals, informants and couriers, their own unique language. One tap of a tin can means the guard is coming, that sort of thing. The warden locks up for the night, hands the keys to his next-in-charge and goes home to the wife and kids. Meanwhile, prisoners 001 and 3924 are hatching some evil scheme to heist egg noodles from the kitchen.
And if your horse is stabled with one or more equine friend, he's doing the same. (Keeping him in "solitary" has it's own issues. "Cribbing" and "weaving" come to mind.) The very moment your car pulls out of the drive they get down to concocting their mischief. Maybe it's a feed room break in, maybe they're gonna kick a door in, maybe somebody's getting roughed up. One thing is absolutely certain, the older, more experienced horses are spending their evening counseling the others on ways to drive us nuts. "Move right before they put their foot in the stirrup." (Big horse laughs here) "That's a good one." I've got five horses and I know without a doubt that they get together and pass along what works, what doesn't, and how to make me crazy.
It certainly doesn't take them long to learn that a saddle on their backs means they're getting put to work pretty quick - so it's no wonder that so many bad habits develop along this point. They weren't born yesterday: You approaching with a smile on your face, a saddle in one hand and "Riding for Newbies" in the other can only mean one thing: Work. It's no wonder they...
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A guide to round pen training and essential ground work for horses using the methods of John Lyons.