A now long deceased, but in his day, very famous, South American horse trainer passed down to me a method through his grandson, that I refer to as “the thirteen doubles.” We use this method early in a colt’s career to convince him that the loose or slack rain has not been an invitation to run. He learns self control, and relaxation. I once calculated that using the method which takes about half an hour you use about 180 “doubles”.
Here’s how it works. In a round or small square pen, use your imagination to designate one spot as 12 o’clock on a clock face. (To children of the digital age this is gibberish, Right?) Then imagine at east, south and west you have 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock. Starting at 12 o’clock, loosen the reins and allow or encourage the colt to move forward to 1 o’clock. There, you stop him and quietly ask him to “kiss the stirrup” first one way, then the other. Don’t hold him there, ask him to use his own neck muscles to hold his head around each way once. Then you ride on to 2 o’clock, where are you do the same thing, but twice on each side. As you go around the clock face you double the number of times corresponding to your position. As you arrive back at 12, you softly double twelve times on each side. You finish by walking forward to 1 o’clock and doubling thirteen times on each side. By now the colt really understands a light touch on one rein and will seem to be reading your mind. Tune in again Friday, when we “Take the show on the road!”