Sunday, January 27, 2008

Back to Business

Now that all that nasty virus business has been taken care of, it's back to the corral.

Firecracker has been doing quite well with the rope. I can toss it onto her back, she doesn't care about it being wrapped around her legs. She picks up her front feet easily when I ask, and I can pick up the backs with the rope.

The haltering process is coming along. Where it once took 30 minutes, it now takes less than three, and it's done on the first attempt. She's becoming accustomed to my hands near her nose and doesn't mind (or at least tolerates) the rope running over the top of her neck. Things are coming together. Which means it's time to introduce my second favorite tool; the rake.

The only thing I don't like about my rake is the short handle. I'd like at least two more feet, to make it a 6' rather than four. But it does what I need it to do, which is get inside the bubble.

In the photo, I had a small flag attached. That was for Sunny, you may recall. Now that several months have gone by, the bulk of that flag has torn off. That's fine. Firecracker is getting used to something that's bigger than the rope and not my hand reaching over to her body. With the rope halter on, I can keep her body close enough that the rake can sit on her as she moves in circles around me. I got dizzy the first time, but she settled right down. As a reward when she stopped, the rake acts like a back scratch, something the horses love.

While most of the flag is missing, the little string is still there. Once FC figured out the rake wouldn't eat her, I attached an old sock.'s like this: I'd brought out a soft rope halter and because of the head thing, I wanted some padding to protect the poll. I felted some wool over it, then put the sock over that. I then hung it on the rail where FC could see it. She took off the sock. So while out there with the rake, I saw the sock and decided to tie it to the string. Fireworks ensued as the mustang eating sock tried to touch her body. Evidently she'd forgotten that she'd been trying to eat the sock just hours earlier. Naturally, a few laps around the pen convinced her it was easier to just stand and let the sock run across her back than to race in small circles.

Unfortunately, we've had freezing rain now and the paddock is slick as can be, so no working horses until things thaw out a bit. Not wanting to lose too much ground, I did make her stand for the rope fashioned halter. I'm trying to work her to the point of relaxing enough to get the real halter on. Hopefully that won't be long.


Mud Ranch said...

HA! I use a rake too... on my 'tame' mustangs. They love it for the scratchies and all come over to get their part in the action. It's fun and quite a wonderful tool... I can see how it would be excellent for wild ones. The rakes also can make a scary springy noise that would be excellent for desensitizing... oh, and I used the rakes on my foals. They thought it was cool too!
~Your Friend, The Virus Tag-Backer ;)

Rising Rainbow said...

I don't know about that virus, it seems to have shown up at my blog. I got tagged three times in two days. I think I'll be sick for a while.

As for that mustang eating sock, it's so funny how that can happen. For critters who never forget they sure don't like it much when the thing they attacked starts fighting back. lol