Monday, September 14, 2009

We made some more progress today. Petted with both hands at once, like I mentioned. But ooh, when my shoulder brushed him too that was too much! Touched the side of his jaw, but just for a split second, and spent a lot of time trying to show him that touching his ropes didn't mean instant death. He still doesn't like it but we're getting there slowly. Rubbed down to his knee with my hand and down to his hock with the fake hand. I can rub back to the middle of his butt with my hand, but only very carefully, he's thinking about running at that point.

I don't know if I pointed this out, but I don't have a hold of him when I'm doing this. He has to choose to stand there. He doesn't like it, but he does stand for it until I ask too much, then he takes off and we start over. We had a good dance tonight, with my right hand on his withers feeling for him to get ready to run, and my left hand scratching around the ropes. I'd go too far, feel his withers tense and his body start to lean, and my left hand would retreat back to his neck or shoulder and he'd stand there nicely and we'd do it again and again. Sometimes I overdid it or the wind would come up and he'd be out of there. Then we'd have to find a comfortable spot to start over. I think the wind today set us back a bit. He was more flighty than usual.

I think the most important tools here are the small pen (28x28) and the stick we started with, to reach him safely. And of course goodwill, time, observation and other things that aren't objects. I kind of like the squareness of the pen. All of my mustangs have found comfort in the corners, and it hasn't become a kicking hazard. With Anchor I have to ask him to stand in the middle of a wall rather than a corner, because he might shoot out of there backwards, forward, or sideways away from me, so he needs room to move. He's not turning away from me to leave anymore, which is really nice because that was swinging his butt right into me and I had to move fast to get out of the way. Not that he would kick, he's really not apt to do that, but he might have knocked me down.

I got a rough guesstimate of his height based on how tall he is compared to me (he's just taller than the end of my nose with boots on). According to that very accurate system :) he's 16.1 hands. I bet once he's trimmed he'll be 16 hands. That's not something you see every day in a mustang.

I feel like my long-winded talk about little things must be boring, but it's so not boring to me. So I guess I write this more for my own enjoyment. Maybe someone will find it useful. :)


Kara said...

It's not boring at all! I like the detail and your thoughts. And I especially like to hear your techniques.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's boring - I think it's excellent and it is of use to me too - it gets me thinking about ways I can work better with my horses - even though they're not mustangs. I couldn't agree with you more that it's important for the horse to choose to stand and not just be forced into compliance - that means they're a participant in the training. I really love the way you work!

Linda said...

It's very interesting! I also found a 24x24 square pen very useful--I was using the bamboo pole method and it could only reach so far. Beautiful also liked to go stick her head in a corner.

He sounds like he's a nice horse--not mean at all. And BIG!!! That is an amazing height for a 'Stang.

AKPonyGirl said...

"I feel like my long-winded talk about little things must be boring, but it's so not boring to me. So I guess I write this more for my own enjoyment. Maybe someone will find it useful. :)"

I have found that nothing is done without a reason. You may not know what that reason is but it's there. Keep up the blog. I enjoy reading it and it reinforces some of my own methods.