Monday, August 23, 2010

More work with the colt

My husband was supposed to take some pictures of me with Rodeo on Saturday, but he neglected his duties, so he's the one you can blame for this post being picture-less. The good news is that I made some more progress with the colt, another big step closer to getting a halter on him.

As Rodeo is figuring things out, I find I'm working with him for shorter periods of time. The first night I spent several hours with him, but I think I'm down to about an hour. I think it's because there was so much more to do that first night, but as we make progress I am getting to be able to recognize the signals he throws off — when he's had enough, and when we've accomplished something major. I've heard that it's good to keep training with young horses short and to the point, so that they don't lose focus or stop learning; that first night, it just didn't feel right to stop early on, but I'm beginning to recognize that point sooner now.

Anyway, we did accomplish some good stuff on Saturday. He is getting the concept that when he won't pay attention to me, I am going to keep him moving until he does — in fact, he's getting it so well that as soon as I start swinging the lead line to drive him forward, he turns and faces me. (That's something I'll have to undo if and when I start lunging him, but right now I'm more concerned about getting this halter on him so we can get the farrier and the vet out.)

He is also learning to give to pressure — big step! I'm putting the lead line around his neck regularly now, and I can hold it under his jaw and walk a few steps with him. He hasn't yet figured out how to stay on just one side of me when I lead him, but I don't care. What's phenomenal to me is that he is figuring out to give to the pressure on the back of his neck. It's still a work in process — sometimes he won't give, and once he turned away from me and half-reared up, which I got him in trouble for (the biggest trouble he's gotten in yet). We had to start over with the lead rope after that, since he associated it with getting in trouble, and I could tell he was really thinking about it, trying to figure it out. He's a smart boy.

He's also figuring out whoa and the little ehhhhh noise I make when he starts to do the wrong thing. He responds and changes what he's doing about half the time, maybe a little more. He is still flighty, yet I think he wants to please.

The most astonishing thing is that he is now permitting me to touch his face — a sudden and completely new improvement. I am able to stand at his shoulder facing the same direction as him, as I would if I were haltering him, and touch his opposite cheek. I can even now put my hand gently over his nose! He has also let me kiss his adorable little nose a few times.

I think we may get that halter on him next time. What do you think?

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3 Comments:

At August 23, 2010 at 8:01 PM, Blogger Kate said...

That sounds like very good progress!

 
At August 23, 2010 at 8:04 PM, Blogger Sydney_bitless said...

Sounds like progress. I find with haltering an untame horse food is a good motivator.

PS- His colour is actually bay roan. Similar to strawberry roan gene.

 
At August 24, 2010 at 10:03 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Thanks Kate, I think so too!

Sydney, I am definitely using treats! As for the coloring, I looked it up and apparently they didn't used to differentiate between red roan and bay roan -- they were all called red (strawberry) roan. That's probably why my farrier said that's what he was -- he's an old horse guy, and probably remembers the older color classification. :o) Thanks for correcting me -- color genetics is such an interesting topic, if you ask me!

 

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