Friday, March 21, 2008

Pretty Nifty

I like it out here and you can't make me leave!

That deal that MiKael posted the other day regarding the rope that ran around the horse's belly...that was pretty helpful to me yesterday. Here's the scoop:

I led Sandy (slowly) out to the round pen yesterday. Both girls were loose in the pasture this time, but neither came running over and acted stupid, thankfully. Sandy was slow moving, just as he was before, not wanting to get his feet muddy. Eventually, after several minutes, we made it out to the round pen. There'd been a hard rain all night long, so no chance of working him in there unless I wanted to create a muddy mess. Instead I decided to toss him a flake of hay to munch on while I cleaned out his paddock. The girls each got a flake on the outside as well, and everyone seemed very content to be left alone with their feed.

Once the paddock was clean, I came back out with the halter and attempted to lead Sandy back to drier ground (the paddock) where I could spend some time saddling him. He didn't want to go. He led around the pen fine, but when he got to the gate he planted his 1000 pounds deep in the ground and wouldn't budge. No way can I out wrestle him and no amount of sweet talk could convince him, so I made a loop and tossed it over his hind end to help encourage him forward.

That didn't work. Rather than step forward, he flung his head up, followed by his shoulders and the rest of his body, doing a 180 degree turn and pulling himself right out of my hands. He then ran to the other side of the round pen and looked at me like I was a mad woman. I tried a second time with the same result, up in the air he went. Certainly not something I want to have become a habit!

I pondered my predicament for a moment. There was no one else home to get behind him with a flag to encourage forward movement. How to solve the problem? And then I remembered MiKael's rope trick. I had my long rope with the O ring on the end with me, so I slipped it over his back and around his belly, then slid the end through the ring. He was now lassoed around the middle. I had him step over the long part of the rope (he won't let me put my hand between his legs just yet) so that the end was now coming out between the front legs. I now ran it through his halter, forming a tied down of sorts, just like MiKael had posted on her blog.

Now when I stepped forward, Sandy felt pressure around his barrel and behind his elbows. We've already practiced walking with the rope around his legs, so giving to this pressure wasn't difficult for him to pick up. Wish I'd had the camera...he looked like a puppet on a string, unable to control his movements and completely baffled. With his head not being able to lift up high without causing some discomfort around his middle, he walked pleasantly out through the gate and all the way back through the mud to his paddock. Not one single hitch. It was absolutely glorious!

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Rising Rainbow said...

Wow, that's pretty cool! I'm glad it was helpful. I really like the fact it teaches the horse to round up cause I'm with you that head flinging thing is dangerous. Anything that will teach a horse that throwing its head up in the air isn't am acceptable response is A OK in my book.

Don't you wish you could get inside his head and figure out what he's thinking. Suddenly deciding he wants to stay in the round pen has to have some motive. lol

Tracey said...

Heh...I think the motive is not to walk through mud. No mud in the deserts, you know, lol! Wish I could get inside his head and figure out why he still snorts every time he sees me and let him know he's not on my meal list!