Don’t be a dope with a rope

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04.27.11 – Who are you and what did you do with Feather?

Gorgeous day. My plan was to bring Feather out and work with her on various things in the roundpen. WAS being the magic word.

Cash had been in with her overnight a few days prior because he had lost his right front shoe. So after bringing home a box of horse shoe nails and struggling with it for about 45 minutes [sad, I know], we finally got the shoe and pad back on and I put the new bell boots on him then turned him back into the big pasture. The ground is still saturated with water but Feather, possibly being in heat, bit him several times, two of them down to the skin leaving big red ugly raw spots. Ugh! Thanks Feather!

There was also a lot of activity across the road where several horses live as the owners were dismantling their barn. Feather kept going to the side closest to them and neighing repeatedly.

So back to Feather. I put all the stuff by the RP to use with Feather and headed off to her pen with the rope halter and lead.

She wasn’t having any of it. I was able to pet her on her right side a bit. If I moved around to her left side she took off. I tried several times to approach her, touch her and halter her without any luck.

So I used the lead rope and gave her a reason to move more. If she wasn’t going to stand still while I haltered her, or even touched her she was going to get a workout, I mean we were going to get a workout. So around and around and around and around we went. She didn’t give an inch as I kept asking her to whoa [which she did] and approached her time after time to halter her only to have her scoot off again, not wanting to be caught.

I stopped yet again, she still wouldn’t let me catch her. So I went to get the lunge whip and kept on making her work. Nothing was working. At one point I dropped the whip and just walked up to her, talking all the while, just to see if she would let me touch her. I was able to pet her a bit, but she would take off again.

My book of tricks is a small one but making her move didn’t work, moving at regular speed didn’t work, moving slowly didn’t work, talking to her didn’t work, approach and retreat didn’t work, trying to slip the lead rope around her neck first didn’t work

I left once again to get her regular halter and slipped it over my shoulder, trying to hide it. I am sure at this point she was a bit tired of running from me, or perhaps the sunshine had made her a bit sleepy.

Finally I was able to approach her left side without her scooting away and just spent several minutes scratching her back, withers, neck, head, legs…slowly I let the halter slip down my arm as I was petting her until I finally got it around her neck with her standing still. I worked my other hand down to the halter and was able to get it on her nose without her running away.

This all took between 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours – JUST TO GET HER HALTERED!!!!

I don’t know about ever letting her into the huge pasture if she is going to be like this. In heat or not. But at this point, her halter is back on, and isn’t coming off in the near future.

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Me scooting through gravel – Feather’s reaction

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04.22.11-04.26.11

Been working with Feather every chance I get weather permitting. We will have a near perfect day. Then the next day will be raining with some bitterly cold winds. Today started out awful – rain, high winds, cold cold cold. Then the sun came out a little while ago and the wind stopped blowing so I headed out to play with Cash. I could tell he wanted to go back to his original girls – Dusty, Brassy, and Bella. He stuck his muzzle into the trough and splashed around, then put his right hoof in it and pawed. I just laughed at his antics. Bella was upset too, she ran back and forth along the fence, neighing over and over. I worked a little bit on natural horseman ship although I truly don’t know much about it yet. I would approach him, scratch his withers, back up and he would follow me. I asked him to stop, back up, then I backed up and asked him to approach me again. I was tickled when he responded and followed me several times.

He lost both of his shoes the 10th of this month, the farrier put them back on the 19th. This morning I noticed his right front shoe was off. The back half of the pasture is flooded with about 3 inches of water, his hooves are soft because of all the moisture in the soil, his bell boots aren’t staying on, duct tape isn’t helping. The velcro on his cheap rubber boots isn’t staying attached.

Cash is now in the same pasture as Feather. It’s much drier there and they are getting along pretty good. But I left both halters on just in case.

We are going to pick up a box of shoe nails this week and hopefully reset his shoe ourselves as the farrier isn’t due to come out again until the 12th of May. Plus I need to check into getting a better pair of bell boots that can handle partially flooded pasture.

A few weeks ago Feather was in her pasture and I scuffed my shoe on some gravel as I went to feed her. That set her off, she raised her head real high, started snorting, was running around. I didn’t make the connection right away – I just though she was spooked because the wind was so strong. Not so. It was fairly calm yesterday so I scooted up and down the driveway alongside her to see what she would do. Same reaction.

So I brought her out and led her up and down the driveway as I scooted along through the gravel. I stopped several times and just scooted around as we stood there. She didn’t react at all. I have also been working on sacking her out using plastic bags, sticks, my lunge whip, my lasso, tarps, etc.

Before I finished our session yesterday [the 23rd] I walked Feather around the house, around and over some obstacles, and was heading around the corner of the house by the backyard and one of my dogs jumped at the fence and started barking. It startled Feather, she jumped forward a bit, stomped on my right foot, knocked me down, but thankfully she then stopped and didn’t stomp me flat which she could have easily done since I was right at her front hooves. So I am glad Feather stopped when she did, but she shouldn’t have bumped into me, or jumped on my foot.

More sacking out work is in her future. I need to add some noise elements to it. Perhaps noisy tarps, pop cans, rattling chains, empty milk jugs with rocks, etc…

It really wouldn’t have been a bad spook if she would have went around me, but stomping on my foot and knocking me to the ground is not acceptable.

I had a nice lump on my right foot. The swelling has gone down, but now it’s green, purple and red. Definitely burst a blood vessel or two.

Feather mowing the backyard.

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04.14.11

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04.03.11 – 04.10.11

Every day I see small improvements with Feather.

– Just standing outside her pen and having her walk up to me to sniff my hand is a big thing. She really wanted nothing to do with people in general, inside or outside her pen when she first arrived. Catching her – no way.

– Walking into her pen – she doesn’t wander off or try to avoid me. I sometimes just go into her pen and groom her with my hands, pick up her hooves and clean them, touch her ears, chin, nose – without a halter and leadrope on.

– Approaching her with things in my hands – a bucket, a rope, her halter and leadrope – I don’t want her to be afraid of things I carry when I am near her.

The video included is from 04.03.11.

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03.31.11

Today was a really really nice day. The sun was shining, it was warm, there was no chilly wind. Got some grooming done on Cash and some training in with Feather. It was so nice going outside without a coat on.

I had to follow her around a bit at first because she decided she wasn’t going to stay put when I approached. But I caught her a few minutes later and got on with our lesson.

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