Monday, January 29, 2007

To Cheryle's House we go...

Tom halter's Quiet Storm before she's loaded into a trailer to come home.

Quiet Storm's training began as soon as she came home. We sat with her inside the round pen, talked to her as we cleaned, and just allowed her to watch us come and go. The second day, I began walking around the pen, getting her to move forward, turn, and even follow me. I picked up the end of the rope and asked her to move off the pressure of the halter. She did it without hesitation. She was a dream. Not flighty, not spooky. Just as quiet as she'd been in the pen with the other horses.

I got pretty brave, and since the round pen was also inside an arena, I figured she really didn't have any place to go if she got away from me, so I led her out into the open arena. She didn't bat an eye. She followed obediently, just as though I were the strawberry roan.

I looked around the arena. Poles, cones and a tarp were out. We walked around the cones. We stepped over the poles. I looked at the tarp, took a breath, and walked over to it. For the first time in less than 48 hours, Quiet Storm came to a stop. I stepped onto the tarp, allowing it to make some noise under my feet. She looked at it curiously, and stepped forward to check it out. I immediately stepped off the tarp and led her away. She didn't spook at the noise it made as I stepped across it; didn't walk sideways to make sure it wasn't following. She just assumed I would lead her to another safe place in the arena.

We went back over the poles again, and then to the tarp. I walked onto the tarp, and this time she stepped on with me. Well, her front feet stepped on. I made her think she stopped there only because it was my idea. She blew a little out her nostrils and began to paw at the plastic. I turned her around and led her away. That was enough for tonight.

The following morning we walked to the poles, around the cones, and straight onto the tarp as though it was something she'd done her entire life! In fact, here it was, her third day associating with humans, and Darling, at age 12, was able to lead her over every obstacle in the arena!

Quiet Storm proved herself to be more quiet than storm that first week with us, and there was no doubt we'd be able to bring her home by the end of our 30 days at Cheryles. What more could we do with a filly who was already proving herself over trail obstacles that most domestic horses came unglued over? Well, we'd find something...

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