Sunday, April 11, 2010

Meanwhile, back at the Mudpuddle...

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He doesn't even look like the same horse, now that he's 98% free of his mud. I can't tell you how pleased I am with Red's progress this week. It's been a long, slow, haul but finally....finally!...I'm seeing a horse who's beginning to trust.

Last weekend was slow. No horse activity, really, though I did make a point of going out to be with Red if only briefly to offer him grain. Last Thursday he discovered the sweet taste; prior to that, all grain offered had become chicken feed. The chickens were happy, of course, but I'd have rathered Red be eating it. And on Thursday he did...though most still fell from his lips and the hens were quite opportunistic. But the fact that those soft lips of his dove back in for another taste was the start of something wonderful, for over the next few days he began to associate me with his drug of choice...Equibalance grain.

Something else of importance happened for Red this past weekend as well. He caught his snap on the lead in such a manner that he suddenly found himself free of that nuisance. After finally being able to scratch both the left and right sides of his body, I now found myself working freestyle. Nothing helps you find the holes in your training faster than a loose horse, and thankfully all the ground work up until then was paying off. Red has progressed more this past week than ever! Oh...I wasn't able to touch the right side anymore, but he was facing up, walking toward me, and while lunging at liberty his direction changes from left to right and back again were absolutely flawless.

Fear still rules his life. There are times I find myself entertaining the thought of discouragement, but then I remember how this athletic boy sailed over a 7' fence at the corrals in an effort to escape. I remember him rearing so violently in the chutes that I was afraid he was going to smack poor Tom in the face and knock him out...and how I'd tucked my head into the office door to tell them half jokingly (and half not) that I changed my mind and wanted a different one! This is what puts it into perspective for me.

Today, Red worked up the nerve to step in and offer his shoulder to me for scratching. While standing in the center of the round pen, his head tucked and neck arched, bobbing his face in emotional discomfort, he sidepassed to me for some rubbing and scratching. Typically, he uses the fence as a security blanket, always his head is to the rail and his hip to me, which is uncomfortable given the strong kicks this boy can offer. The offering of the shoulder, then, from the center of the round pen, was a show of how much this horse truly wants to be a partner.

All good things take time. A good meal...a good wine...a good horse. Red is so intelligent and curious. He wants desperately to be friends, and is totally worth the wait to allow that to happen. I'm excited to see what the coming week brings now that he's beginning to reconcile himself to life with humans.

10 comments:

Kate said...

Very exciting stuff! Thanks for keeping us posted on your progress with Red.

JeniQ said...

I agree with Kate - very exciting!

~jeni

PaintCrazy said...

I can't even begin to tell you how much I admire you for having the patience and intelligence to work with this boy in such a humane and gentle manner. Its beautiful - really.

CTG Ponies said...

Awesome work, so far! And he's got such a cute face.

Crystal said...

Wow you have such patience, not sure I woulda kept up that long, good Job it seems to be paying off so far!

Pony Girl said...

He looks great! Good news about him wanting a little company and touch. Tracey, you've got the magic! :)

photogchic said...

We are excited to see what the coming week holds as well.

Welcome To Wilmoth Farms said...

Oh wow...I cannot tell you how excited I feel right now for you! The satisfaction and reward at the end of the day when you have turned your corner will be so exhilarating! it took me a year and half to get through and break down the walls with my horse...grant it he was broke and not wild, but he was closed off totally to humans, a robot, and now our bond is one that far exceeds anything I'll probably ever experience again with another horse because of the time, effort, love and work...he is blind in one eye totally and the trust he put in me is utterly complete too...so I pray you can see this through....it will be worth it for him to come around!

Shirley said...

I know what yo are talking about when it comes to discouragement. Every time I go to catch Chickory, she plays her fear game with me- until I have a bucket of oats on my arm, that is. She is so flighty, feely and fearful, that sometimes I think to myself, I just can't do this. I'm not the right person to train this horse. I'm too old. I'm too slow. I'm too stupid to read her. Then I think about God looking at me and thinking; is she ever going to figure it out; is she ever going to trust Me? And at that instant, a light comes on, and things start to go smoothly. I think He gave me Chickory to teach me. I love her, she is a smart and beautiful horse. It's me that needs to learn- she's already a perfect horse.

Tracey said...

Oh, Shirley, you and I see things so much the same! A total lesson in God's love, understanding and patience. I used to sing to Sunny, "Trust and Obey"...so appropriate!