14November2019

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Ground Driving Illustrations: Doc

 

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Leslie     prepares Chiricahua Doc, AQHA, to understand the feel of release from a     single long line.    

 

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Start     on either side, in this case the off-side, the plan is to set the horse up     to turn left and “change eyes” on Leslie as he comes through the turn.     Unlike humans, horses’ depend on bi-lateral vision, and some become     frightened when the handler momentarily “disappears” from view.   

 

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Without     crowding the head or neck, which can cause the horse to resist or leave     before you want him to, hand the rope to yourself under the neck, and hold     the rope up off the ground until you release him to go left.   

 

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Walk towards the horse’s nearest hip, and allow the rope to touch him on the full length of his body, from forearm to hip, as you prepare to invite him to leave you, and follow the feel of the rope in the opposite direction. This is simpler than it looks, once you get the hang of it.   

 

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Chiricahua     Doc now realizes that the point is not to follow Leslie as she walks off to     the right but, instead, to follow the feel of the float in the rope to the     left. To pull the rope tight at this point is apt to load the left foreleg     unnecessarily, thereby causing him to doubt whether he should move freely     to the left in order to prevent the rope coming tight on the left side of     his head. To prevent the appearance of resistance from the horses, his left     shoulder needs to be available. There is a critical factor of time to     consider here, and waiting for him to come to the right conclusion about     your intention, cannot be overstated.   

 

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Although     Doc comes through the turn a bit heavily in front, he makes it without     confusion setting in. Some horses that are not well prepared will freeze     up, walk off, or pull away.   

 

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After     the horse is taught to follow the rope freely through a turn when the     request to do so is presented from the opposite eye, he is unlikely to be     disturbed by the presentation shown here. If he is concerned, one simply     lifts up the rope so he can pass his hindquarters under it. This restores     his confidence in his ability to change eyes on the handler while he gets     used to the feel of the line across his back.