How To Train Your Dragon

At the grass field

Gently backing my green horse – Short Recap.

No bucking allowed.

  • Leading, both in simple halter and rope halter.  All over the property.  Over half an hour, 6 days in a row.  Behind bushes, between trees, next to tractors and various “farm items” lying around, walking over random poles strewn around.  Yes, even while workers are running high-powered equipment inside the storage barn.
  • Halting and standing next to mounting block.  Me climbing up and down making noise, and eventually hanging halfway across her back.
  • Hand walking respectfully in arena, eventually moving on to lunging.  We still do terrible at lunging correctly and relaxed.
  • Tying.  Full body check each day.  Lifting hooves.  Bathing.  Blanketing.  Meeting some tarps.
  • Bridling, on and off.  Accepting all tack.

Valiosa, patient in the barn

  • Hand walk out on trails.  Valiosa was very level-headed on the ground at the property.  Week two we headed out, alone, with a rope halter on top of the bridle, gloves, running shoes, and a whip in hand for backup.  We walked for 40 minutes, a half mile jog a couple of times.  No stopping, grazing, sidestepping or turning allowed.  She hasn’t trotted like that in-hand before.  Risky, as all you need is for the horse to press ahead of you only to get scared of the slight movement behind them, taking off while simultaneously breaking your jaw with a kick.

Handwalking on trail

That didn’t happen, and when passing some of the scarier areas such as large boulders or tight brush sections, we were already walking again.

  • Soon she should try a bit of beginning long lining.  (Because we do not have an enclosed area to work in, it will only work if she stays completely calm.  Not sure how it will go.)

Crossing bridge

So far, nothing like training a dragon. 

I think.  Haven’t trained a real one.  Yet.

From “How To Train Your Dragon”

Hiccup: [reading in the Dragon Manual]  Thunderdrum: This reclusive dragon inhabits sea caves and dark tide pools. When startled, the Thunderdrum produces a concussive sound that can kill a man at close range. Extremely dangerous, kill on sight.

[turns page]

Hiccup: Timberjack: This gigantic creature has razor-sharp wings that can slice through full-grown trees. Extremely dangerous, kill on sight.

[turns page]

Hiccup: Scaldron: Sprays scalding water at its victim, extremely dangerous…

Hiccup: Changeling: Even newly hatched dragons can spray acid, kill on sight.

[flipping pages faster]

Hiccup: Gronkles, Zippleback, the Skrill… Boneknapper… Whispering Death… Burns its victims, buries its victims, chokes its victims, turns its victims inside-out… Extremely dangerous, extremely dangerous… kill on sight, kill on sight, kill on sight… Night Fury: Speed unknown. Size unknown. The unholy offspring of lightning and death itself. Never engage this dragon. Your only chance: hide and pray it does not find you.

Valiosa:  Can kill a man at close range.  Speed unknown.  Size unknown.  Suppose we’ll find out.  Hope you’ll stick around.

Valiosa December 2014

10 thoughts on “How To Train Your Dragon

  1. You are doing a great job, Elinor. Have you worked on getting her used to clippers of all sizes and loudness. If not I suggest you add as many types of clippers to your training as you can get your hands on, from the very small and quiet to the larger, noisier vibrating ones. Of course, start small and quiet and work your way up to all over her body including under her belly and around her tail end and ears. You will be glad you did.

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    1. That is great advice! She’s great with my modest size, although fairly noisy, clippers, and even enjoyed it along her jawline. No problems there, and ears went OK. Haven’t done her belly since she’s not in hard work enough to validate taking any of it off this winter. Next year though! I’ll do a little strip there just to make sure, now that you mentioned it 🙂
      I don’t have access to large, scarier clippers. It’s a little, eh, lonely, at my barn 😉
      Wish I did though. If she’d stand for those “wrist-breaking” cattle clippers now, she’d never have any problems later.


    2. Ahh, Christine, I FINALLY renewed my CDS and Foothills Chapter membership. Sad to admit it’s after the first week of January, but I finally got it done.
      I’ll try to shoot you an email with some, hopefully, useful feedback on the 4th quarter newsletter article with expectations and ideas for this years chapter activities 🙂
      We’re lucky to have a stronghold of dynamic, energetic, and involved, chapter board members. While I’m still stuck in “young children” land with more extracurricular after school activities than I can shake a stick at – it’s still my hope to slowly become more involved!


  2. Such fun!!! I did all of this stuff with mine, but it was over the course of years because I got him at five months old hehe. We had so much fun with all of our ground work. I also put a surcingle and breast collar on him and had him pull a tire drag. I filled bags with paper and leaves and tied them on either side of his surcingle. I taught him to stand on a pedestal. Anything and everything I could think of hehe. I think the thing I wish I’d done more is ground driving. It would have made teaching him to steer under saddle so much easier. I can’t think of anything else. You’re doing a great job with her! I’m looking forward to following your blog.


    1. Oh Thank You! I feel that I’m playing a bit of catch up with my mare, she’s right at the stage where she’s still “soft” and easy to make an impression on, but I wanted to get as many pieces in place in as short time as possible before she officially turned 3 1/2 years, which is at the end of this month 🙂
      I’ve seen it before where mares in particular, never really got a good work ethic after just hanging out in pasture for some 6-7 years.
      I love hanging out with her – and will definitely spend Very little time in the saddle before age 4 to allow her to grow undisturbed. It would have been fun having her already a year ago, just playing around with little tricks etc. (I’m such a goof.)
      Saw your boy with the breast collar and tire – love it that he didn’t get all worked up about it! A good mind.


      1. You know it’s funny you mention it because Chrome started out with not much of a work ethic but now that we go out trail riding and stuff he loves it. He may never be a fan of arena work though. I can tell he’s going to be the type to get bored easily and to want to be off exploring but we will work through it. I think you’re doing a wonderful job with your mare! I’m so looking forward to seeing what fun things you guys learn this summer. 😀


        1. I bet Chrome will work just fine for you in the arena once a routine had been set. You seem to have a very special bond – he will figure it all out if that’s the route you want to go. Just mix up the work a lot – different things all the time. But you know all about that already 🙂
          I make a point about taking LOTS of short walk breaks on a long rein. Sometimes too many. But it motivates them.


          1. Hoping that’s something Chrome can overcome. Perhaps with just building strength, which I saw you’ve already started 🙂 with the poles and walking over some even taller objects.

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