Buckley was now on the fast track to getting his level 3. During the next three months, we did not go thru the levels like you might if you were just in the field. We were literally putting everything to the test everyday.
One of our focuses was ponying. This was not easy for Buckley at first as he was a very tense horse. Having a horse next to him scared him- particularly if we had a very dominant one.
Of course, the horse that we were assigned was the most dominant out of the group….Doc of Iron. He was a very stubborn QH gelding. I remember trying to drag him around off of Buckley. It was reminiscent of dragging a boulder. Buckley would then get worried about the pressure on the saddle horse from dragging Doc, then Doc would try to get behind him, which really freaked him out, then Doc would try to bite him…..it went on and on.
One day when we were in the round pen attempted to drag him around, I just had enough. I decided to pick up my carrot stick and see if that would help. I still remember that moment when I asked Buckley to go sideways to the stick (with Doc in tow).
As I picked up the stick, Buckley suddenly made the connection that we were going to use the stick on Doc. Buckley originally was terrified of the stick (like everything else) so I completely avoided using it.
When he made that connection, he looked at Doc of Iron with this gleam in his eye- close to a glare- and his ears went back. Game on.
Doc looked slightly surprised as Buckley started walking towards him, and we proceeded to drive his shoulder. This was when Buckley’s confidence shot up. He realized that WITH me he could be more confident. He suddenly started to get more dominant in the herd!