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Sally and River - Week 6

This has been a very eventful and busy week for River. Despite the foul weather we’ve been having we managed to achieve a number ‘firsts’ and really progress on a number of fronts.  It feels like all the little pieces we’ve been working on over the last 5 weeks have finally started to come together.

It’s not just the training aspects and the ‘first times’ that were so great this week, I’ve noticed River is generally much more comfortable with me. He’s started to approach me to have his end-of-session lucerne snack and he’s now approaching when I bring his haynet over rather than hanging back until I’ve gone.  He seems much happier facing up, even though he still sneakily manoeuvres himself so that he puts me on his offside, but is a lot calmer when I correct him.  He even did a little foot stomp when I started asking for two steps of leading rather than just letting him off with minimal effort – all of this gives me the warm fuzzies as it shows we are making some progress dealing with his anxiety.  The less anxious he is, the more his personality will shine through … and I suspect there is a large character lurking in that pint-sized body!

By the end of the week we had achieved :

First time being haltered on the nearside
First time yielding to the feel of the halter
First time River has let me approach and pet him in the roundyard
First time being haltered in the roundyard – from both offside and nearside
First time leading out in the roundyard
First time being brushed
First time being rugged
First time rubbing him on his forehead
First time throwing a rope over his back
First time River has followed me into the feed shelter and eaten his dinner while I was in there

Now before everyone rolls their eyes and says ‘he doesn’t NEED a rug, he’s a BRUMBY’, (and I would generally agree with this sentiment) in this situation River does not have a solid shelter to shield him from the wind & rain, he is on his own so has no other bodies to stand amongst to share body heat and he’s such a little guy so he doesn’t have much body weight of his own to generate a lot of warmth. And we live in the Ballarat region, so winter is pretty damn cold!  I’m hoping being rugged on the colder days/nights will allow River to start to gain some much needed condition.

River also had a supervised play date in the roundyard with Baby Tex.  They had a great time whizzing around getting to know each other.  Unusually for a ‘baby’ horse, River only did the baby-face once and was pretty free using his back feet!!! He might be small, but he’s definitely no weenie!

On a funny note, we were woken at 4am on Sunday morning by the sound of whinnying (and anyone that lives with their horses knows that whinnying in the dead of night is never a good sign!!) so we drag ourselves out of bed, put on as many clothes as we can, grab the torches and head outside to assess the damage.  A quick check showed River still in his yard (phew) but his little mate Baby Tex had unlatched his gate and made a break for freedom.  The whinnying was River sounding the alarm that Baby Tex was out having an adventure.  So we can also add ‘dibber dobber’ to River’s list of special skills!!For lots of photos showing our weeks’ achievements, please check out my FB page ABC 2016 : Sally Adsett-Brown 

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