After what was a mixed day of failure and success with Charlotte I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go play with the pinto gelding. I figured I wanted to see him enough that I could go read my book in his pen. So, I did. I moved the herd into the round pen, sorted him out, grabbed a chair, set it in the middle, and started to read. Initially he stood in his favorite corner and didn’t even look at me. I decided to move my chair to that corner and read from there. Now all of his buddies were coming over to sniff me and he stood down the fence line and stared at me the whole time. Once he was cocking a foot, licking his lips, and lowering his head I was confident he was comfortable with me.
Shadow has a bit of a reputation as being a pain in the ass. She is aggressive, pushy, mean, disrespectful…etc. Or, so her owner’s say. But I don’t have the experiences with her that they have so I see her differently. Understandably they have had bad events occur with her and therefore have developed some animosity towards her - partly because they apply human characteristics to her activities and so she just seems like…a big jerk!
kolanos said: Do you like horsies?
I love horsies.
tumblrbot said: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE INANIMATE OBJECT?
My tools - my rope halter, my lead rope, and my working stick.
I had another person with me who wanted to play with the horses so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to play with the pinto gelding until I felt like stopping. But, I went in with him first and moved around a bit, then held still. I worked on having him face me, follow me, allowing me to approach him, and petting his face working towards his neck - this is better on one side, he is a horse (of course, of course…)
Shadow does not Shadow you. In fact, she doesn’t do much of anything we humans would view as affectionate or willing! She is a 22 year old appaloosa. She looks like a dalmatian. Mostly white with some flea bites over her whole body and prominent black spots over her rump. She is slightly sway backed and has tiny little legs leading to tiny little feet (with long toes, soon to be trimmed!) She has a flat forehead and nose with wide nostrils and she alternates between playful, worried, and relieved expressions as I pay with her. Shadow is not a mustang and you’ll see that not all of the ones I work with are. But it doesn’t reduce the importance of my work with her so she is discussed here as well.
I stumbled on an ad seeking help getting a halter on a wild horse. He had been in captivity for some time and was now 6 and not going much of anywhere in training since…his owner’s couldn’t get a halter on him. I wrote saying I wasn’t a horse trainer, but a good horse person and that I’d like to give it a try. I explained I wouldn’t charge and that I wasn’t in a position to get more horses of my own so I’d really like to just come play with him. Go figure, the ad was posted by an old horse contact of mine and we had played with some of her horses before.
I have been playing with my mare, Charlotte, a lot lately. After a few sessions she was telling me she was DONE. I was working her too much, too long, and too often. But I only have one horse of my own right now and I enjoy playing with horses. It keeps me calm because I have, through trial and error, learned that calm will get me much father then any other state of emotion. And it keeps me focused because I need exact timing when trying to alter a behavior of an animal or train him or her a new one. I haven’t always owned horses; but I’ve had my mare almost 5 years now and have seen a couple dozen come in-between. I’ve learned a little more from each horse, and MOST of them left me better then they came as all were rescues in one form or another. Some passed away, one developed worse habits with me then the last place he had been in. I don’t consider these defeats or dwell on them, they just are. But they are a part of who I am as a horse woman.