I was a little pressed for time yesterday so I decided to just do some review. I didn't want to get stuck in the middle of something that was difficult for him and not be able to leave.
It was another super windy day, even colder than the day before. Or maybe I just wasn't dressed right for it. Either way, he was a little more nervous when I haltered him. It was also just about dinner time and I don't think he was too happy about me catching him.
So we did a simple exercise that's easy to get right. He doesn't do it super well yet but he's getting much better. I just asked him to drop his head. We did it for about a minute, until he got it before I had to wiggle the downward pressure and didn't pop his head back up in a panic.
Next I took my big soft rope and rubbed him
From head to tail on both sides.
Leg lifts - part one - resistance. Look at that worried face!
Leg lifts part two - relaxation - he's coming forward (I'm leading him by his foot)
Leg lifts part three - curiosity :)
Some people would use a loop of rope that can slide freely through the end ring. I've done that too and I don't like it as well. It's harder to get the loop off. I've had to use my training stick to reach down and work things free, and it's just not as easy. Sure, there's less chance your rope will fall off in the middle of work, but I don't mind if that happens, I just put it back and we get back to work.
Things were going so well I decided to work on hind feet. Since I'm not using a training stick to lengthen my reach I had to do a lot of rubbing all around his leg, and bump the other leg a bit for good measure. It's always good to plan ahead for any clumsy moments you may have later.
I keep my lead nice and short for this part, so that if he has to move he will swing his but away, not forward and into kicking position. But if I really thought he was going to kick I'd be at his shoulder, reaching back with a training stick or lunge whip to rub his leg. I've even used a bamboo pole with a stuffed glove on the end for one horse who was really terrified of being touched. (If you'd like to read his story I think it was around September of 2011 - the date links are to the left on the blog.)
I reached around with the rope and here we are!
This side is always his more difficult side. Here you see all the ropes. They can be hard to juggle. I just let the excess drag so I'm not risking getting it wrapped around my hand if he decides to bolt.
Resistance again, but no sheep panic. I try to keep enough tension on the rope to keep him from kicking his other leg. He didn't do that, but I have had horses that did.
I didn't try to lead him around by his hind leg just yet. But we did practice something this - I think I could use the weight tape on him now.