Australian Brumby Challenge ©
Levi had Saturday Sunday Monday off because I was still in QLD visiting family. Tuesday afternoon I opened up the round yard and brought all my Brumbies in from one of the back paddocks so that I could bring Levi up into his yard to get back to work. Luckily he walked straight into the round yard without a hassle. I gave him a bit of a rub on the face then gave him some dinner and left him there for the night. Wednesday came around and I had a session in the morning with Levi working on rubbing down his side and along his back to the start of his hind quarter. He did so well with this i was so surprised. He has been really great at letting me touch all down his near side.
He is such a funny sensitive little horse, the very first side I was able to touch on him was his off side and he was great with it. But since I have made it a thing to touch his near side he now really loves me being on his near side and not so much on his off side. I can still pat him down his off side but we have to go through this whole ritual before I can be standing on the side patting him. His near side I can walk straight up to him and start rubbing him. I have been making it a thing of what I do and how long I do on one side I do on the other and I wait for him to show me the slightest relaxation and I stop and move away. I want him to realise that when he relaxes around me and relaxes when he thinks he has to be scared that the relaxing actually releases the pressure and not the worried rubbing away thing he can do sometimes.
I have also been working on putting the halter on and off each session I put the halter on and at the end I take it off. I may not clip a lead to it the whole session but the funny movements I do with my hands swapping sides, tying it up and all of those normal everyday things we do to catch him, I want that to become solid and normal for him. I don’t just go in and chuck a halter on him yet because he isn’t at that stage. We take it in small steps. Introduce him to the halter make sure he knows it won’t eat him alive. And then slowly work him up to it being done up. Each time we aren’t repeating steps as many times which is a huge improvement for him. With new things he always needs a lot of approach and retreat to really reinforce that when he is calm and stands that the scary object will go away.
Thursday was a very wet day so we just did a small session in the afternoon of haltering him and then giving him a good rub down both sides. He is getting better but it is just going to take time doing it all the time to build his confidence.
Friday is Photo day so I started off the morning giving him a brush. I haven’t brushed him in a while so we had to introduce the brush again and get him comfortable with him being brushed. He has a few dreadlocks forming in his long mane so I have been working on making him look a little more well presented. I have also started working my way down his near side front leg. Since this is his comfortable side this is the side I can start progressing things. I also go patting him down his rump which I though was a pretty big achievement. He has grown in confidence so much down his near side but his off side every time I approach it it’s like he hasn’t remembered that I can actually pat down that side. Plus I was standing down that side just patting him when I accidentally stepped onto the side of his hoof with my foot. For him he thought the world had ended, so I just followed him again till he settled down and came back to me and then I patted the his comfortable side then went back to his scary side. By the end of the session he had confidently realised I wasn’t there to eat him and when he would relax the pressure of me standing there would go away.
He has started to really show a cuddly side to him. I can kiss him on the nose and he is starting to like it. He loves loves loves a chin scratch and I can lift his lips and check his teeth. Once he is more comfortable around other people and leading better with the lead rope I plan to have the dentist come out to give his teeth a good check because I do think he has quite a few sharp edges in his mouth. This is also another reason I don’t want to be pulling to much on his halter. With sharp teeth having a halter on can really effect and even hurt the horse. And when he is at this stage of his training Im constantly putting him in challenging situations that I know won’t hurt him so he can grow that trust and confidence in me. If I’m hurting him at all he won’t ever want to be a partner so being sure he is happy and healthy is always my main priority. I’m super happy with how he is progressing and he is slowly slowly really starting to come around. We are half way through the competition so I’m excited to see what he can do towards the next half and as we lead up to EQUIATANA.
I would like to thank my sponsors Dynavyte for believing in me and Levi.
Until Next Time,
Briar and Levi xxx