Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Linus vs. Water!!
I was done work early today and it worked out great that I worked while it was raining and the sun was out when I was done! It was very cool and windy though! But, I only have about 6 weeks at most to attack water crossings with Linus before the water turns to ice! So, I put on my rain suit and rubber boots and grabbed his rope halter and a long rope. I'm having trust issues with the halters after that one breaking on me on the weekend. To my delight, even after a 4 hour ride on Sunday; Linus was happy to see me and eager to see what my plan was....he was eager then anyway!
We started out small with a little puddle in his pasture. I had a training whip in my hand but it was a nuisance more than anything so that lasted about 2minutes! I was doing a bit of research and a great tip I read was to make sure the water crossing was more than 10m otherwise the horse would just jump over it.
We left his pasture from the back end through the electric wires but this time I was smart enough to unplug the fence since double wires are trickier with a horse in hand than a single!
So we moved on to the second crossing seen below. Linus was pretty full of himself in the cool, strong wind but anytime he got too forward I made him back off and told him off for it! He did well and tuned back in to me. He walked calmly through this one with me. It's hard to keep my footing in the mud and persuade him!
There is a spot in the cow pasture that is always flooded unless it is a very, very dry summer. It drains off into a creek off our property. We've had a lot of night rains recently so I gradually got him into muddier and stickier footing the closer we got to it. He tried to go around but I was alone today and had time to stick to my guns!! I waited him out and he eventually came into the water. Bit by bit.
He was trembling a bit at one point. The sun and wind helped me to come to the conclusion that I think his reluctance has more to do with ripples, reflections and shimmers than the water itself. I can hose him down head to toe with no issues. But I noticed that when the sun was shimmering bright on the water, he didn't like it! He did however notice that some very sweet grass can grow throughout the water!
The picture below was my goal for today. The middle is deep and almost over my rubber boots and almost up to Linus' knees. I'll admit we had a battle and it took a lot of patience. I have be very careful when pushing Linus. It has to be done calmly and patiently and the right kind of persuasion. If you get too pushy, he will just push right back. He has a strong willed mind and I love that about him and do not want to change it! I have to work WITH that and not AGAINST it!
Perseverance paid off though and when he did walk across it, he did it calm and right beside me! I was thrilled because I did expect him to rush it! I made a huge deal out of it with lots of rubs and an apple. Partway through I stopped him but didn't dare take a picture for fear of dropping my phone!! When I stopped him though he started splashing and I laughed! It was a total stress relieving moment!!
The cows were starting to come up then and he wanted to go move them so I left the pasture through the gate near the barn and we worked on some smaller areas of water nearer to his corral. I was proud that even though we were out of sight of Allie and she was calling he never once answered and in an hour only looked that way twice! So, our separation training seems to be holding steady too! At the end of our session today I ended up with more mud on me than he did!! But, I kept telling him if I could do so could he! I am NOT going to start bringing rubber boots on a trail ride!!
I work all day tomorrow but am really going to try to attack the water crossing while mounted as soon as I can. There's a good chance we will have to cross water this weekend on the Halloween ride!
My son has been helping me with our costume...yep a 5 year old is giving me advice to make sure I get it right, but hey I am all for it!! He's being a great helper!
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