Sunday, November 8, 2009

'Tude

Well, I entered into the ground work division of the RAC in part because I knew all of my riding horses would be on maternity leave for a while, so it would turn into a great excuse, for me, to get out and work with all of my youngsters. Which it has done that.
Today I had to work from about the time it got light to just before it got dark, not ideal work with babies lighting, and with the rain, not great timing for riding either. So, I got on my rubber boots and rain coat, and out I went to the youngsters.
First I gave Tiska some grain (no not a Curly, but she's on a special diet of her own) and brought with me the lunge whip to indicate to the other mares to stay away. Simultaneously I used the nubby hand grip to scratch the babies faces, down their necks, along their backs, all over, it was a great desensitization to the whip session, it's a tool, has a reason, makes funny sounds, but isn't anything to actually be feared, always a lesson I try to get in early in any horses' ground training, respectful appreciation for tools, but no fear.
I've been working on desensitizing the four foals to the halter being rubbed all over their bodies and running my hands all over their bodies, in particular their itchy spots, but also up and down their legs. I know I shouldn't be, but I am struck by how different each personality is in each foal.
Today while I was rubbing Rora with the halter, Rogue came up, grabbed a piece of the halter and started tugging, her turn. So I rubbed her all over, as before she ducked her nose into the nose strap part, so I decided to put the halter on her, on and off and on and off, etc... finally just kept it on. She licked and chewed, licked and chewed. Next I decided to try to lead her a little, see how she did, again, no pressure, just see what she thought. Well, she just walked on forward with me like this was old hat. We did a few walk on and whoa, and then I took the halter off, praised her like crazy and went back to Rora. Rora is close to the point Rogue is, but not quite there. Ravyn and Riot both still want nothing to do with the halter. The personalities are so different, I don't know why it keeps surprising me, but it does.
I had a really great time with them, always so rewarding doing things with them, they seem to learn at an incredible rate once I just do what ever it is with them. :-) So, we will see how this next week goes, I'm going to have to accept that they are all going to progress at very different rates and there might even be some backwards "progress" but that they will all be marvelous in their own right in time, just different.

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