Sunday, August 3, 2008

Whose Idea Was It?

I think it was Cat Loesch (the mustang mentor) who told me there will always be one thing your mustang doesn't want to do--though that one thing will change daily.

Maybe this rule of thought is the same for all green horses. It's like I'll give you this, but I won't give you that.

Part of being a good leader is somehow convincing the horse it was their idea to give you the thing they didn't want to. (So much like humans!!) But with a horse, it's tricky business--especially the ever-vigilant and wary horse--a mustang.

So, each day I ask myself what it is I want--and it's always something she doesn't want to give because it's always the next thing in the training progression.

Yesterday I went out and she wasn't too happy with me since I'd popped her with the rake the night before and kept her away from her food. She turned her butt to me in the end of her run like uh, we're not friends anymore, just in case you didn't get the memo.

I always find this hilarious and I actually did laugh which seemed to insult her a bit as she took a glance back at me. (To look at me full-on means she accepts me, and she wouldn't want to give me that impression.)

So, I stepped in front of her and got her attention front and center, haltered her, led her (she balked, I pulled her to the side like I didn't even notice--soon she led and I praised her and made over her like it was something big). Then, I roped her feet and her body--especially around the cinch area--picked up her fronts with the rope--picked up the backs with the rope--she was an unwilling participant in all of this, but didn't threaten.

Finally, I discarded the rope and came alongside her like the farrier would to get those front feet. She backed and backed and backed--I believe three times around the run with me in the same position at her side keeping right with her. Finally, she stopped and gave them to me--both sides. I tapped and petted those weapons, lifted them up and down, rubbed her belly where the tools might hit, and she did great.

Today I want the same with the back feet. Wish me luck.

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