Australian Brumby Challenge ©
WOW WHAT A WEEK.
I know your probably thinking I start all my updates off with this but seriously this horse, VBA Levi blows my mind. When I think we are at a cross roads and not really moving anywhere and I’m questioning myself and why I’m doing this, Levi just comes out with these amazing ways of understanding me when I think he has no clue at all.
This week has been a big one for my little dude VBA Levi. Saturday started off with some more halter prep. Sliding the halter over his neck starting to put two hands on him consistently and starting to ask him to drop his head into the halter. He really started to get it and we made awesome progress so I left him there.
Sunday came and I was expecting him to be flighty again. Every time we start working he is quite flighty and we have to reintroduce again. Get acquainted a bit, offer some food and then I get some hands on, But Sunday that all changed. As I approached the yard he was standing at the far end away from where I always enter and when he saw me he walked on over and followed me once I got through the gate. I could give him a good scratch on the forehead without having to go through all the introductions again. This was a huge huge step forward for Levi. I still had to take things slow but for him to want to come meet me was really really nice.
I went in there to do some more halter prep work but everything I asked of him he was like yep I got this. So one thing led to another and he had the halter on and all done up without a fuss in the world. I was so surprised with how easy he took it. All this liberty work hasn’t been for nothing and it is starting to show how much it pays off.
Now although he is getting confident its not all rainbows and unicorns he still needs work and needed more work before I started leading him with a lead rope. My eagerness and not reading him right may have done this a little to soon. Using my liberty follow cues he took to leading like a pro but when I would turn around and go at him to pat him he would revert back to his old self, spin then get the rope around his bum and take off. Now being at liberty he can choose to leave and come right back. With a lead rope he can’t just leave with pulling me with him which then spooks him more and then its just a bit of a kafuffle. He did do super well with trying to understand but I had realized where I had gone wrong and realized I needed to make sure that he was sure in all situations before we move off out to the big bad world.
The next few days I really worked on more Liberty work and getting him as confident as I could with him following then me stopping and turning to pat him. It took him a little time to realize I’m not a big bad wolf and using my positive reinforcement I really got his brain thinking about what I was going to do with him. He got back to his happy self in no time and realizing I need to stick to this liberty for his sake started to open up my new skills approach.
Wednesday and Thursday I did more of going up to him with purpose and rubbing him all over him. Getting him used to me stopping and rubbing him at anytime. This really helped when I went back to revisit the whole rope leading thing. I also want to really start preparing him for his first ride. Now he is getting more and more confident and comfortable its about time I start giving him the skills he will need to know when we do take the big plunge of our first ride tackles. So I thought what is the first thing I will need him to do. Pick me up from the block. So for this I need him to side pass towards me. To be able to get the side pass towards me, I need a side pass to start with. With teaching him to watch and read my body language and energy, that when I would cross my legs over he crossed his legs over and side passed. He picked this up super quickly and was just amazing at it. He really enjoyed this new game of follow the leader. I have also started to introduce the back up and over the next coming weeks we will transform the side pass into a side pass towards the mounting block.
Friday came and we had my amazing photographer out Lisa. We showed her what we had been working on and how much he had improved. Lisa commented on how much he had improved since the last time she was out which was only a week ago. She couldn’t believe how confident he was becoming. I wanted to see just how confident he was becoming and suggested that Lisa stick out her hand and introduce herself. Levi quickly realized what she was asking and very quickly but nervously he stuck out his nose and gave her a sniff. That quickly turned into some food rewards and then that quickly turned into a nice scratch on the forehead. That was the very first time he trusted someone other then me to let him be touched. For me that was pretty darn amazing, it had all happened at liberty as well so if he wanted to he could have left.
I am so so so proud of this horse and how hard he is trying and I really cant wait or the next few weeks. Unfortunately Sunday I am going to QLD for a week so wont be doing much with him at all. I have planned to lead him out to my big paddock with my other brumbies and let him have a good holiday and be horse. He should come back feeling refreshed and ready to learn some more. I would love to thank my amazing sponsors Dynavyte for the products they have sent Levi for the challenge. Be sure to like them on facebook and instagram and if you want more updates, photos and videos of Levi be sure to follow my facebook page Briars Brumbies.
Until Next Time,
Briar and Levi xxx