Tuesday- Now that I had the halter and lead rope on Raven :) and his leading was getting better, I felt it was time for a change of scenery. Today is the day to move to the round pen. Almost three weeks in the 12x20 pen I am sure Raven was ready to stretch his legs! I would like to say i just opened the gate and led him right to the round pen....but Raven doesn't follow a feel that well yet. I played the follow the food bucket to the round pen. Pictures tell more:
Give Raven Give!! Just follow a feel Pleeaase!
Breaking new territory. Slowly but surely.
We are out of the enclosure and half way there!
Almost home free! And no bolting!
We made it! Ravens new home for a while! Enjoy the space!
Wednesday- Moment of truth. Now in the bigger enclosure, when Raven decides to bolt he could keep on going. (not a good thing) So today I get to find out just how long his flight distance is. I started by leading him around and spanking the ground with the training stick. Yes he did try to go somewhere on a few occasions. To my relief he was not able to get away from me and once he got about 20ft from me he would stop and face me...Ok I can handle that! Once Raven got more confident about the stick I ventured on to touching him. I was able to touch all the way to his rump on both sides. He is still tight and untrusting about this and when I pushed my luck trying to touch his rump....you guessed it...off he went. Guess we are not ready for that yet!
Thursday - When I am working with a horse everyday sometime it is hard for me to see progress. Today I did see progress. In a previous post I had relayed a story about Raven pulling my hat off and freaking himself out about it! Well today while I was hanging in his pen he came up to explore me. Once again he grabbed my hat off flopped it around a couple times and didn't panic! It is good to see a positive change.
Friday - I once was told that you can still get to the top of the stair case if you two steps forward and one step back. Today was a day that I had remind myself of that. I have now had the halter on since Monday. Until I can stand beside Raven's neck and place a lead rope around his neck without him bolting I will have to leave the halter on. I was hoping that by the end of the week we could be to that point but that is not in the cards yet. In fact the original halter that I put on Raven was a little on the big side and sure enough while eating his hay today his halter came off. So today's session was spent getting the halter back on. It was like doing everything that I have done in the past three weeks in fast forward. Get a rope around his neck, Get him to let me touch him on his cheek and neck, get him to let me run the string of the training stick behind his ear, be able to stand beside him and use both hands to tie off the halter. An hour later the halter was back on. This time I was sure to pick a halter that fit him!
Saturday - As I suspected, Raven was more skeptical of me after my session yesterday. One of the big differences between how horses think verses humans is that us humans are what we call direct line thinkers. This means when we have a goal we have a tendency to take the most direct route to accomplish this. Horses on the other hand are not, which means they have a different thought pattern on how to accomplish the same thing. With a lot of horses the more direct we are with horses the more they see what we are up to and try to make things difficult. Raven is highly sensitive to my focus. As soon as my focus turns to him his immediate response is to back up. Because I felt I pushed things and lost some rapport with him I decided to work more on contact working toward acceptance. He would only allow me to make contact as far as his rib cage on both sides.
Sunday - Another name for Natural Horsemanship is Balanced Horsemanship. I like to think of it like a pendulum of a clock. Your horse can start out scared and pretty extreme so you work on getting them confident and work on them wanting to be with you. Then the pendulum will swing and the fear has subsided so its time for dominance to rear its ugly head. And the pattern will continue until the swings become smaller and smaller and eventually the pendulum comes to rest right in the middle, not scared and not dominant but a partner working with you. Raven is great at telling me when I have spent to much time working on trust. This time as I was bringing dinner in to the pen and before handing him the bucket I wanted to pet his forehead. Raven had other ideas and lunged into me with teeth! Luckily my cat like reflexes kicked in and I was able to stay out of harms way. Needless to say it was time to work on our drive. Since he thought he could drive me it was time to remind him that I can drive him! So off I sent him to do some laps in the round pen. As I say to myself two steps forward and one step back equals one step forward!