This is the third time that my mom and I have gotten together and attended the big Horse Expo in Sacramento, California. www.horsexpo.com I had submitted Diego to be considered for a Demo horse this year, but alas he was not selected by any of the trainers. Still, I went with high hopes to expand upon my current knowledge and possibly discover some further tips and techniques that I could use in my training.
Diego is the most difficult horse I have had to work with to date. My Quarter Horse filly, Angel, that I purchased as a non-halter broke weanling ended up being extremely easy to get going under saddle, possibly because I did EVERYTHING with her when she was very young, so adding a saddle and a rider where just one more little thing and she already had a very strong trust bond with me. My last two horses, Sugar and Sinatra, had come to me either with problems (Sugar) or just very, very green (Sinatra). Both of them I was able to successfully work though and again, establish a very strong bond. When I first got Sugar, I spent nearly a month just trying to get her to WALK on a loose rein. I eventually did parades and the Reno Rodeo Flag Team on that mare, something I would have considered impossible when I first got her. Sinatra just needed to get exposed to the big wide world, and learn it wasn't going to eat him, but that was quite a process as well.
But in considering my relationship with Diego, I realized that I was lacking in two very key elements: control and trust. So these were my focus going into the horse expo, to gain more control, and thus increase his trust in me. I'll do some follow-up individual posts on the clinics I attended, several of which I took notes at. =)