Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 34-40: Pony that Mustang

Monday- Time to teach Raven to follow a feel! One of Raven's favorite thing to do go backwards when he doesn't want to do something... and man can he pull! Once again I employed Pi for the task. I tacked up and got raven in the arena. we started at a walk. At first there was a lot of leaning but not a lot of pulling back and panicking from the pressure. After he got the hang of the walk we kicked it up to a trot. It was soon after that, that I learned that one should not use a flex tree to pony! The first time he bogged down and I could feel the tree of the saddle give it was scary, but not as scary as the owner of the saddle if she found out!! We did get enough out of the session to greatly improve ravens leading ability. After our session I tied raven to his thinking post in the feed pen for a few hours while I worked around the barn.

Tuesday- Since Raven has learned to tie so well I have used this as a tool to achieve more acceptance of contact. I got out my grooming stuff and worked on grooming while tied. Up to this point I have always had one hand on the lead rope and one hand on the rope and one hand on Raven. Making the transition to being able to touch him with both hands is not as easy as one would think. As soon as my other hand would come off the rope and travel to his body, you could see that worried look come across his face and every muscle in his body tighten up. Of course when the tension reached its peek he would leap out of reach. By the end of the session I could successfully pet him with both hands on the neck. We ended our session with working him on line and sending him to the water trough.

Wednesday- Today I upped the bar on raven's duties so to speak. Now when I enter his pen to bring him food or to bring him out he would only get the opportunity if he came close enough to me that I could reach his lead rope. Several times though out the day I gave him the opportunity to come to me. At first as always any time I entered the pen he would back away. I would wait patiently and over half the time he would allow me to reach and grab the lead rope directly below his chin. Since he was able to give me that I decided to change his lead rope to a short on that no longer dragged the ground.

Thursday- Happy to have no issues getting raven out of his pen, I had him spend more time tied to his patients post in the feed pen. What has been difficult with Raven has been his flightiness. He moves away from pressure out of fear which means he can't learn any thing positive. It has been my job to get his confidence good enough that I could then put pressure on him and have him respond to it in instead of reacting to it, this is a fine line. We are slowly getting to that point. Today we tried working on moving his front end in a full circle. I would put pressure on him until he would take a cross over step in the front. In the first direction he would try to leap forward and I would correct him. In the other direction he would go backwards to avoid the pressure. I would keep on with the pressure until he would take a step over in the front instead of back. When we got that successfully we called it quits.

Friday - I have had to come up with some nontraditional methods to get over some of the training hurdles that Raven has thrown at me. To get him to accept the a simple thing like throwing the lead rope over his back i decided to try using his new found tying skills. Just the gesture of tossing the rope in his general direction would either send him bolting away or backing away trying to drag me. Both reactions would leave me putting both hands back on the rope. Now that he ties nicely, I tried tossing the rope over while tied to the post. At first he tried to do his back up thing and very quickly he could not get out of my reach and because I no longer needed to hold him with the lead rope, I could continue to toss the rope over him. Once he realized that he could not move his feet as much, he had to learn of another way to cope with the pressure. He eventually grew roots and would stand while I tossed the rope over. Because he still felt like he needed to move something, he would stand there and toss his head up and down every time the rope would touch him.

Saturday - We had a little fun. I took the opportunity to school my 11h pony cross Hercules. Just for fun after our session I rode hercules into the round pen with raven and grabbed his lead rope and ponied him around off my pony! It was quite the sight.

Sunday and Monday- Raven had off.

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