Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cricket, Dude, and a busy day!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have several horses you need to work in one day? I know I've wondered what it would be like, and now I's time consuming!

This morning began with Cricket and Dude. Cricket is halterless, and since I may have an adopter for him (yes, already!) I really want to concentrate on gentling him down. Yesterday I brought my rope out and began tossing it over his back and letting it dangle down on his legs. He didn't mind, so I got it up around his neck and gradually worked myself into a position where I could also loop it over his nose, just like I had with Firecracker, and fashioned a halter.

Although having it touch his head wasn't an issue, he didn't quite get the whole giving to pressure and turning, so after a few tries I gave up on that. He never panicked, but he was obviously frustrated and not figuring it out. Today I left the rope hanging and brought in a long alder sapling with which to rub and scratch his body with. At first he wasn't sure about it, but after 10 minutes he was letting me stand an arms reach from him and was thoroughly enjoying being rubbed under his neck and on his chest. One small step and I'd be able to reach him with my hand...should I try?

Cricket is a sweet boy!

I tried, got my hand on him and walked away quickly and quietly before he had an opportunity to react.

Later in the day I went back and this time I asked for more. A brief touch, then a little rub, but he made me reach out with the sapling first. I'd scratch with the alder, then rub with my hand, then step away and approach again. And it wasn't long before he was enjoying my hand rubbing under his mane and down on his chest. He let me step away and approach without first touching him with the little tree and even began to wiggle his lip and reach towards me. Tomorrow I'll work at getting my hands on his face so that hopefully the halter can be put on and off by the end of the week.

Dude is another story. He's curious, but nervous about things touching him. The rope brought an immediate reaction as he darted out from under it with a snort. He didn't like it bouncing on his body or over his tail. He actually reminds me of Jet, but with less confidence. She also doesn't like things like the rope (or my hands) touching her body, but she's very curious about things and approached us right away. Dude is also curious, but the only one he's approached and sniffed at this point is Darling.

Dude wants to be loved, but is a bit shy.

Since I had the alder in with Cricket, I also used it with Dude. Again, he jumped and shot out from under it, but eventually he came to realize it wouldn't bite as it rested on his back. I tried to rub it on his chest and neck, but he'd have none of that. He seems to by hypersensitive when it comes to touch, but he still perks up his ears and is inquisitive when he sees me.

Sandy has found his snort. Evidently it's been here waiting for him at Carpenter Creek. Darling and I walked down to the sheep and led Sandy along with us. We crossed the creek and Sandy snorted, then splashed and checked to see if there was a bottom before crossing. I rode him yesterday in the round pen, then a little later I used Firecracker as a cow and made him move her around the field a bit.

Jet was ridden today; it was the first time she's been in a snaffle bit and she did great! We even trotted a little, something she was reluctant to do last summer as she thought maybe I'd fall off. I must say I've gained a lot of confidence after spending the last three months with Sandy and the other green horses at Curt's place, and today on Jet things just fell into place.

Firecracker also found herself trotting in circles as I worked her from the ground in the round pen. I need to get her where she's easier to catch and halter. Her one big advancement today was taking a treat from my fingers! Sounds so simple, doesn't it? And yet she hates to let her lips touch my skin. I fed her those packer pellet treats, though, so it was like offering a carrot and she was careful to hold her lips back and take the treat gingerly in her teeth. The one time her lips brushed my fingers she jumped back like she's just received and electric shock!

And that was my day. That, and being eaten by mosquitos.


Mrs Mom said...

One of the things I like about your work here Tracey- is the fact that you do no tuse "gimmicks". No special poles, no magical long patented sticks, no magical patented hoobie whatsits, .. no- you use your BRAIN, and the tools around you. Even if they do not LOOK like a tool, like your mop (I love that..hehe), you find a way to MAKE them into what you need them to be.

You are not, in short, expecting a miracle because of some gimmick sold to you for $20987 bagillion dollars.

Just goes to show that brain power is an amazing thing, isnt it? ;)

Cricket and Dude are adorable. Hmm.. Dude being touchy.. ya know, that seems to be pretty prevalent in red horses.... think maybe he could maybe be ticklish?

Just an odd thought...

Love the pics, as always!

Katee said...

Whew! I'm tired just reading about all this activity. So glad that you seemed to make progress with everybody. I'm glad that Dude is showing Darling some love.

Shirley said...

Nice choice of horses, and I'm glad you have some interest in Cricket already. But watch out, I think Dude will be to Darling what Sandy is to you!

SkyBar Farm said...

I had read about using the bamboo stick, and by reading your post, I got a chuckle. Glad to know I don't HAVE to use a bamboo stick. LOL. Thanks for directing me to your Mesteno site for pictures of Argo. I would love to see more if you have any.

Rising Rainbow said...

Working that many horses in a day is exhausting, I know. Sometimes I think I should be working even more, but then I'm too tired to hold that thought for long.