Australian Brumby Challenge ©
The week started on a pretty ordinary note, after feeling like we’d really lost some direction at the end of Week 2 I did quite a bit of thinking and planning about how to get back on track.
I thought a lot about ‘what went wrong’ and am still unsure if it was just one of those days … or if I inadvertently caused it myself. The Brumbies are so aware of our movement and body language and, I believe, our energy and intention. I know I was feeling a bit disappointed and frustrated (with myself, not River) that I hadn’t managed to halter him yet so maybe River could feel my approach was different last weekend, and that was enough to put him on edge. Regardless of whether or not this was the case, it really reinforced for me this week to :
Leave your emotions at the gate; and
Work with the horse in front of you – regardless of where you left off yesterday!
With this in mind, the rest of the week has gone really well (despite the terrible weather). I continued on with my ‘altered’ plan of separating touch and my proximity by using the lunge whip to get River used to touch, then just feeding him lucerne hay by hand standing next to him – close proximity but not trying to touch him.
Towards the end of the week we worked up to touching with the lunge whip, then the stick and string, looping the string over his head, yielding to the pressure of the string around his neck and finally being able to stand close and touch him! This is really special as River is totally unrestrained and can leave if he feels he has to. I know he is still quite concerned about being touched, he is tolerating it but not really enjoying it – but it’s still a good start.
I’ve noticed that River can cope with being touched much better on his offside – he is quite defensive of his near side (not aggressive at all, just repositions himself so I’m on his offside). This doesn’t particularly concern me at this stage, if I can work on getting one side solid then I can move onto his other side when he’s ready.
I am feeling like we’re making steady progress again, I’ve got my mojo back and have confidence that River WILL be haltered before the finals!!!!!!!
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