Monday, September 6, 2010

Lefty

Photobucket

Today I went down to Curt's in the morning with Sandy & Duns. Duns hadn't seen the hydrabull before, and while others worked it inside the arena, we stood out in the Washington rain where we could stay safe (or, in reality, those inside could be safe from us!) and still watch the motorized bull zip back and forth.

Duns didn't really care about the bull. He was more curious about all those horses tied to the walls and be-bopping around. He's going to make someone a very nice horse!

Later, I came home and spent a little bit of time with Lefty. What, you think I'm going to keep my hands off that boy? Yeah...right. Well, okay, I may have but City Boy did request I help out a bit since he obviously needs to spend time at work. So out with the spotted wonder I went.

Lefty is very intelligent. It doesn't take him long to realize there's nowhere to go inside his pen and he gives up the game of keep away. A few circles this way, followed by a couple more going that way, and he turned to face up. I rubbed him a bit, and in my arm I carried a red halter which I slipped onto him.

Then I went out and picked up a pocketfull of treats. My favorite training tool...treats! Love to get those horses looking for you and coming up to check the pockets. At first Lefty didn't think it right of me to handle him once, then return immediately and expect to touch him again, so a couple more circles were made before he stopped and gave me a glaring eye, as if to say 'my work day was done!' I guess he thinks a work day is 3 minutes long. In any case, the treat appeared and he took it, rolled it around in his mouth, munched it up in his teeth and proceeded to allow me to give him another. A few more and he even took a step toward me in search of one.

Good progress. Need him wanting to come for treats. Once he wants to be with us, we can start tossing on the blanket and saddle. Next week, or sooner, yes? Only took 8 days for Sandy and Steve Holt!, and they hadn't been handled at all previously. We'll see how the boy does.

10 comments:

Shirley said...

What a gorgeous boy! This should be fun.

Tracey said...

I'm looking through photos right now and see one that I'm guessing may be his brother, just a year younger. Need to find a few homes for the ones here first, though!

Breathe said...

We have so much debate on treats around here, I'm interested to see how you use them to bridge from wild to willing.

Tracey said...

Breathe, I use treats to bridge the gap with all my horses. No problems if it's not continued on a daily basis the rest of their life. Sandy will frisk my pockets, but he doesn't bite.

Leah Fry said...

Food is such a huge motivator for Poco. Why would I reward him with something else? Neither of mine bites either. If they start getting pushy, they don't get any for awhile unless it's specifically a reward rather than simply a treat.

Jeni said...

OH MY GOSH Tracey he is GORGEOUS !!! And intelligent I can't wait to see how he progresses!!!

Linda said...

That photo is breathtaking. He's the poster child for wild now.

Crystal said...

Wow he is beautiful, and smart too, how can it get any better?

Donna Gunn said...

Such a beautiful boy! I am a sucker for pintos and his black and white is stunning. I agree with you; treats are a great motivator but the horse has to know that you are in charge.

Tina said...

Aww, look at those adorable white eyelashes!

I use treats all the time. Always have and have never had a biter or pushy horse. The trick is to just make sure that they are never fed when they push at or bother you for them. I clicker train as well now so it makes it really easy for the horse to know what will earn the treat, and that it is never mugging! I think they might all go through a stage of being excited about the treat and having to learn to take it gently, but they all do, in my experience.

Why not have such a powerful tool in your training toolbox? There is some new research out that horses learn much faster using food than with scritchies or pressure release, and that horses trained with food end up much friendlier and more inclined just to hang out with people. I don't know how I ever did without clicker, but I always had friendly well-mannered horses and I always had treats in my pockets.