' Wild To Wonderful '
Australian Brumby Challenge
Australian Brumby Challenge ©
The focus for this week was again to have Solo accept a halter.
Early in the week, I worked on moving Solo’s feet with a bit more energy, and this seems to have helped prevent him from shutting down! I spoke to a trainer whose methods I follow and he suggested that Solo may have been shutting down due to me not applying enough pressure at times, and seeing him so much more engaged after me applying more pressure suggests he was right so I have been less shy in getting Solo to move.
On Thursday and Friday Solo had a couple of days off as I was away so Saturday saw us go over what we had covered earlier in the week, and I was happy to see that he hadn’t forgotten what he had learnt beforehand! He still wasn’t accepting of have his face touched so I made the decision to get a rope on him in order to have more control to get a halter on.
I don’t have a crush, and have no experience roping a horse with a lasso, so in order to prepare him for this, I desensitised him to having a rope touching his neck, starting with the near side, then the underside of his neck, then over the top and down the off side of his neck.
Sunday was a big day for both of us. It took me about 15 minutes to go over everything we had already covered, and he was comfortable having the rope draped over his neck. Having it looped around his neck was a different story though, and it took a while for him to adjust to the pressure of it. When he was, I was slowly able to touch more and more of his face, but he was still evading when I tried to put the halter on.
To get him through, I used the length of the rope that was around his neck to create a make shift halter. This also took some time for him to get used to, and he tried evading the pressure of it, but once he realised it wasn’t going to hurt him, and that he couldn’t get it off, the rest was easy. I was able to approach with the halter and when he tried to evade, use the rope to gently guide his head back to the halter and actually putting the halter on was a non event.
Things I have noticed this week are: Solo has quite nice movement which looks like it will be nice and comfortable to ride, he doesn’t like me touching him from his off side, he is smart and is responsive when he knows the answer to the question, and he is going to be a very honest horse. Last week he was expressive when I pushed him further than he was prepared for, but on Sunday, when I inadvertently ended up in a vulnerable position, he didn’t take the opportunity to kick me, instead taking my cue to movie away till we were both in more comfortable positions.
He is also now completely comfortable with me being in his yard, and doesn’t react at all to me climbing through or over the fence!
Next week the focus will be exploring the property, doing more work on his off side because he is definitely not as comfortable having me on that side, touching him all over and teaching him to lift his legs so I can get his feet trimmed.