I have a 2-year old SWB gelding. For the purpose of this story, we can call him "Mr. Smartypants".
He is generally good-natured, easy-going and not easily daunted, so in many ways a dream to handle. However, he is also a bit cheeky and too clever for his own good, so when he was 7 months I called in backup from a friend who is very good at NH - mainly the Parelli methods - to help me with teaching him stuff like "get out of my face" and "move that butt, Buster!"
That part sorted out, our companionship improved greatly, and I wish I could show you how quickly he learned to load later that spring. (Thank you, Monty, for the vid-lessons on that! xox)
Now, a year later, it is time for him to start learning to be long lined, and I bought myself a Dually-halter to use as a side-pull to save his mouth for another year.
Not wanting to try that halter for the first time on my young horse, I enrolled his dam - a 20 year old lady - into this - and had excellent results. The fact that she is really well behaved and docile probably played a part in this...
So, on to Mr. Smartypants, who accepted this new contraption without objections, and off on a walk to get both him and me used to the feel of the Dually halter.
This is were I realize with some embarrassment that - to paraphrase Monty from one of the vids - he leads but I'm not really leading.
Mr. Smartypants ambles along behind me, stops (beside me) when I stop and turn when I ask him to - but soon as I try to walk a bit faster, I turn into a tow boat, and "standing still" is just not on his list of things to do - there is after all some grass down there to nibble!
So I thought: "OK, good! Time to put the halter into effect!" I had stopped counting the times I have watched Monty's vids on the subject, so I hoped that chances were that I would get this right. Well, right-ish any way.
Starting with the standing still, I went to school him back a step when he moved a foot.
Mr. Smartypants gave me an affronted glare as the halter rattled around his nose bone, and promptly grabbed the halter rope with his teeth to stop the annoying dangle. This makes him look like a naughty puppy - as in too cute to get mad at - but it also (as well he knows!)leads to a stalemate and possibly damage to his lips if they get caught in the snap hook.
So I dangled the rope some more to make him drop it, which he did, but since a dangling rope means back up, he also did that and the Dually halter did what the Dually halter does and squeezed his nose again.
On reflex Mr. Smartypants caught the rope again and go the hook in as well. Abandoning my rattling, I moved in to pry it out of his mouth, and while that was easy enough, Mr. Smartypants knew where his chances to win this lay, so he started chasing the rope with his mouth, and more or less caught my shoulder instead.
He never bit or even bruised me, but it was a good reason to practice back out of my space, and this time the message got through.
Mr. Smartypants was surprised and sulked a bit, while I scolded myself for spoiling him this past winter, letting him get away with too much.
Having established my personal space and momentarily discouraged his Retriever tendencies, I decided to move on to ask him to speed up when I wanted to go faster.
Up and down the gravel driveway we walked, me trying to start at a run and Mr. Smartypants literally towing behind with his head in the air to avoid the halter's pressure.
I can imagine that we were quite a sight with little me making kissing noises like mad, tugging a little horse that behaved like a stubborn donkey.
After 15 min. of this tug of war, I was beginning to despair of us getting it right ever, and that I would end up with a confused and biting horse that never would let me put a halter on his head ever again. Just reaching in to correct and loosen the halter now resulted in suspicious snatches away from my hand and a new attempt to catch the rope.
I was convinced that I was doing something seriously wrong - obviously this wasn't working the way it did in the vids - but I just didn't know what. I wasn't snatching, but kept the line loose and let Mr. Smartypants yank it himself if he didn't follow me, and I tried to keep the pressure constant until he lowered his head and came off it. I also tried not to face him to avoid unintentionally asking him to stay back, but rather call him forward which I know he knows.
I am ready to call defeat and give up when Mr. Smartypants in sheer frustration tries the one thing he hasn't tried to get away from the pressure - he bounds forward! For a second I worry that he will run into me with those waving forelegs, but he stops right in front of me and snorts as if to say: "Are you happy now?"
Yes, I am happy! If cautiously so. My stubborn little boy is apparently of the phlegmatic sort, and running is not first on his list apparently. *LOL* Corrected the noseband and praised lavishly. But if I thought he would get off it again next time, I was dead wrong.
But the reaction time did improve the second time and then, all of a sudden, he started off at a trot with me as easily as if he didn't have a problem in the world. Oh, joy! More praise and Mr. Smartypants looks like we haven't had a serious argument at all and everything is fun.
We did it a couple of more times just for the sake of repetition and then we went inside for food and rest - both very happy!
I am sure other people will see lots of mistakes I made, and some may recognize themselves in the same situation: "It doesn't work! What am I doing wrong?" and that is pretty much why I wrote this down. Because horses are different and it takes different approach. I think the key is not to give up at once and constantly check that you are doing the right thing and not lose your temper.