Australian Brumby Challenge ©
What a big week!
We picked up little VBA Hawk (Coby), on the 19th of June, he loaded easily on the stock trailer due to Colleen and Dave's expert methods. We had a 4 and a half our trip back home. We stopped a few times to give the little guy a break and after the first stop he was quite calm and started to eat as soon as he heard our voices.
We got home in the almost dark and unloaded him uneventfully into the yard. He started to eat immediately.
The next morning I started training by just hanging around in and around the yard, then when I went in to clean it out I took Tug, our resident superstar Shetland companion. Coby instantly latched onto him and stuck at his side for the next 3 days, they will stay in with each other for the duration of the challenge most likely. The first afternoon I also got my first touches, starting with him eating from my hand and then asking him to target my hand with his nose. (Targeting is asking the horse to touch something with a part of their body)
This week I was aiming for first touches, extending his comfort zone of how far down on his body he would target my hand, and introducing the halter.
He thoroughly exceeded my expectations!
By the 4th day he was transferring behaviours to another person, and by day 5 he was targeting his nose into the halter, day 6 he had the halter on and wanted scratches everywhere! Day 6 was a massive day, he really came to the conclusion that I was safe to be around and that he could ask me to scratch him and enjoy it. Day 7 he had the halter on and off lots of times, and has it as an almost smooth 'finished' behaviour. He also started leading.
Because I'm training using positive reinforcement, treats, I also need to keep any anxiety about food at bay, so he has learned how to take food gently by the 'stand facing forward behaviour', that will be refreshed every time we train. And also keeping plenty of hay in his yard so if he needs to stop for a break he can go and eat. And also keeping lessons really short, 5 minutes maximum.
Next week I hope to have him leading out of the yard and start introducing him to some more objects to target, also introduce the brush and see if he likes it.
Our Brumbies are truly amazing, they are just so calm and thoughtful. I'm so excited for Coby's future!