Australian Brumby Challenge ©

I am pleased to be able to report that Scarlett’s injured leg is healing well. Putting the bandage over the poultice properly, so it didn’t slip and could do its job made a big difference. All the swelling has gone down, she is no longer lame and the cut itself is looking great.

Scarlett has been having trouble being relaxed while wearing a halter. As soon as it has been put on, she switches off and gets tense. She does comply with what I ask her to do but certainly has not been happy about wearing it. I have tried numerous different things to help her learn the halter does not harm her with very little success. She has been getting tense to the point where she has been unable to take food from my hand or eat from her feeder. In an attempt to show her the halter isn’t such a big deal, I used a Tellington wrap in place of the halter. With it being softer, stretchier so more flexible and wider than the halter, it gives a different feel to her and gives when she moves. She was immediately able to eat from my hand so I used it, in place of the halter for a few days. When I felt she was ready, I put the halter on over the wrap and used a different halter. It didn’t take her long to realize that she really could eat with this foreign “thing” on her head.

Her float loading is progressing well. Wearing the wrap “halter” she has been self loading and standing while I fastened the chain. She is becoming quite relaxed in the float, being able to eat some hay while standing in the float. On Tuesday afternoon, I asked Barrie, my partner to assist me by closing the tailgate while I stood in the float with her. While I fed her some hay, Barrie moved toward the tailgate, however, having someone else behind her was a bit too much for her, she got very tense and tight, so I told Barrie to stop approaching and to move away. I was able to settle her before going to the back and undoing the chain, allowing her to back out, which she did so calmly. I ended the day there.

On Wednesday, I loaded her onto the float and when she was well settled I slowly lifted the tailgate myself until I was able to lock the latch into place. She was concerned about it but when I went into the front with her, she was able to eat some hay, before I returned to the back to let the tailgate down and let her out. The next morning, she happily self loaded again, when I asked her to, telling me she had coped well with the tailgate being closed.

My next steps with loading will be to close the storm curtain, then tailgate and curtain at the same time. The other important step will be to move the float to another location and ask her to load, to check that she has been able to generalise loading or if it is something she can only do in one place. This is something many horses will do. They can learn something in one location but have to relearn to do it somewhere else. Eg, the horse who loads every time he is asked at home but when taken away from home, cannot load to come home (I have one of those I need to work on).If she is not able to load with the float elsewhere, I will have to re teach her how to do it. Once she has mastered loading, wherever the float is, the next step will be some short trips. How she loads after a couple of trips will let me know how she feels about travelling and if I have to adjust how I am teaching her.

Weekly Training Updates

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