Australian Brumby Challenge ©
It’s a dance, it really is. Forward three steps, back two steps.
Early in the week we seemed to be making satisfactory progress in our relationship.
By Monday afternoon, Scarlett was confident enough to take a small amount of hay directly out of my hand. It was just one mouthful but for her to come up to me and take it was a HUGE step for her. Her confidence appeared to be slowly increasing.
Tuesday afternoon she decided I was safe enough for her step up and take several bites of hay from my hand, she even tolerated my partner, Barrie near the yard, taking photos, but on Wednesday she had a bee in her bonnet about something and didn’t want to know me. Barrie was there again, to take some more photos. She stepped up to sniff the hay a couple of times (see photo) but was too worried to be able to take any from me. I didn’t push her as obviously something had upset her and at this stage of our journey, I couldn’t see any point in making an issue out of it. I left her in peace with her feed and, once I left, she settled down to eat happily.
Thursday morning and she was still full of fire n brimstone, snorting at me like Puffing Billy, so I fed her and left her alone. When I got home from work at about 3.00pm I gave her her Lucerne hay only to get a couple of snorts in thanks. A couple of hours later, I went to her yard with my long pole, a bucket and bottle of molasses. I quietly sat on the bucket with my pole which is laced with molasses on her end and offered it to her. After a couple of minutes, she quietly approached the end of the pole and licked at the molasses. While she is licking the molasses, I use a lunge whip handle without the thong to “air stroke” her, the whip has a small sponge taped to the end of it so that if it should accidentally touch her, it is soft and doesn’t poke her. I allowed her to lick the molasses for a couple of seconds then moved it back towards me, she happily followed until she was close enough for me to offer the end of the lunge whip for her to investigate. She was very interested in it and allowed me to quietly stroke her face with it a couple of times. I sat on the bucket with the long pole and whip handle for about 30mins, alternately offering her the pole and “air stroking” her with the whip handle. When I fed her just on dark, I offered her some hay from my hand. She didn’t take the hay but seemed to be more interested in trying to sniff my hand but was not quite brave enough to do so.
After I was feeling a bit down on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning due to her apparent regression, I now feel we are back on track. I really don’t know what caused her to regress but will watch closely to see if it happens again, if there is any common factor causing it.