Thursday, September 9, 2010

Getting by with a little help from my friends (Zarah!)

Tonight was the night for Reka to get lead around the play area and then into the barn where she'll be in a stall/run. I started by having Z help me lead her around in the round pen and making sure she was yielding to the pressure at the poll. She lead up nicely right away! She was like an old pro! So I hopped off Z and lead her around by hand. Again, she was doing great. I decided then to open the round pen and lead her out. She followed right on out of there and we started to investigate the obstacles together. She smelled each one with gusto and I'm sure she's been looking at those obstacles from the round pen since she arrived, wondering what they were. We just checked things out together for a bit and then slowly made our way to the barn. I thought she might be uncertain about the cement or the rubber mats, but that didn't phase her. I stood while she smelled and checked everything out and she walked right into the barn! I just managed the rope and let her investigate all she wanted. I had the stall door open and then asked her to follow me through. Again, no issues at all. I walked her through the vinyl strips, which I have tied back for now. She was uncertain about those, but I gave her time and she came through when she was ready. Voila! On to the next step with Reka...

It was nice to have the round pen back! I pulled M out and started playing friendly game in the round pen. He was unsure of my tools and I tried to be kind and give him time to understand there was nothing to fear. I have to be careful with him to not push him too hard. He's definitely a very confident horse, but it would be easy for me to make him afraid and I don't want to get into fights with him. Instead, I just want him to think of me as a leader and be willing to be a good partner by doing what I ask of him. These 6-8 weeks will be eye-opening for him and I hope to teach him to respect the humans he encounters as well as honor their requests. I also however, will do everything I can to preserve his dignity and communicate in a way he can understand. I've seen many confident horses like this get handled very roughly and be very misunderstood as "jerks" or "difficult horses". I own one - Gemini. Gemini came to me very messed up and had been poorly treated. He still struggles to trust humans. He went through the auction process and I'm quite sure was treated badly many times before I found him. M is very similar to Gem and I want to get him started right so that people that encounter him don't feel the need to "manhandle" him or physically try to put him in his place. We'll see what I can do in this short time.

We played with games 1-3 tonight and he did well. Games 1-3 (friendly, porcupine, driving) are the building blocks for games 4-7. He is sensitive, learns to yield from pressure rapidly and learns the game easily. Next session we'll see what he thinks when I put those games to together for some actually maneuvering of his feet. I really, really like this horse.

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