I may say I've got all the time in the world. I tell Sunny that each day when I go out and she steps away. But the fact is, while I'm not in a rush, I haven't got all the time in the world...at least not today. Ten minute mini lessons is what I have; several times a day, of course, but still, I've not got all day to stand outside with her. Especially in the rain.
This morning I carried hay out into the paddock and got a deep, throaty nicker from her. I put the bulk of it in the manger, then grabbed a handful and walked outside with it. Sunny's a greedy eater. She's thin, and food is a great motivator (I may try clicker training with her.) While it hadn't been on her to do list today, she allowed me to scratch the side of her neck, and in exchange I allowed her a bite of hay. This was done twice; I'd scratch, then step back, and she'd come and get a bite. After two bites, I put the hay in the manger and left her alone.
It's lunchtime now, so I went out and offered a scoop of grain. I stood inside the barn, but instead of beginning in the crouched position, I just leaned up against the wall and waited. She walked past me a couple of times, looking longingly at the grain and swinging her head a bit. After a couple of pass-by's, she walked in and carefully reached out to lip a bit of grain off the end of the scoop.
A small taste is all it takes for Sunny to become bolder, and she stepped closer to grab a bigger mouthful. Since she wasn't hesitating much, I pulled the scoop closer to my body, hooking my thumb in my beltloop and holding the scoop steady right there at my hip. She looked at the scoop, licked her lips, and reached as far as she could without moving her feet. She couldn't reach far enough, though, and she stepped as closer than ever before to me in a willing fashion.
She eagerly finsihed up the grain. With just one mouthful left, there was a commotion outside and she turned to see what it was. That's when I poured the last little bit of grain into my hand and set the scoop aside. When Sunny turned back to face me, she looked straight to the hand that had held the scoop. I'd half expected her to look around for the scoop and ignore my hand, but she smelled the grain. And she reached forward!
It took a couple of minutes, and I could feel her breath on my skin. Talk about excitement! It takes so little for me these days, lol! The breath, the sound of hungry lips, another step forward, and she was eating the last little bit of grain from the palm of my hand :>
So what's the plan? To get her eating her grain out of my hand, of course. And hopefully by the end of the weekend I'll be able to get my hands on that halter again. The more I think about it, though, the more I realize that if I can get it on her once, I'll be able to get it on her again...so there may not be a point in leaving it on. Won't that be great?