Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fear or No Fear... goes on!

The other morning I loaded Tika up and hauled her down to Curt's where she and I worked on something totally new...and completely frustrating for her...ground driving. Tika's fear of being wrapped up in ropes or drive lines stems from her experience with barbed wire, or at least that's what I assume. Scars on three of four legs tell the tale of her life on the range, and who wouldn't be a bit touchy when they feel themselves being caught up in drive lines?

Tika's trust level has increased enough over the past year, thankfully, that there was not a full blown panic, and although I was not directly behind her, I was able to get some forward motion out of her from a position which left her somewhat uncomfortable. And she did what I hoped...she responded to pressure of the bit when I asked for left and right turns. wasn't pretty, by any means, but I called it successful.

Coming home, I told myself I needed to get out there with the big, black and white monster boy.


This was actually the second time I've saddled Lefty since our mishap last month. I tied him off to the left, then the right, so he could learn to follow his nose and give to pressure. He did quite well. I also grabbed a 'flag', which was actually a whip with a big ol' plastic shavings bag tied to the end, and sacked him out with that. I worked it from his ears, down his back, between his hind legs (those big, powerful hind legs!), under his belly and around his front legs. A little ticklish in some places, but he didn't attempt to kick it. Which, oddly enough, I was disappointed about, as I need to find something to trigger that fear reaction in him so that I can correct him...but in a safe way for myself. Guess I'll need to keep searching for the trigger!


Shirley said...

I'm looking forward to the posts on Tika, she is such an interesting horse. Pretty too!
Good for you for going back to work on Lefty. Hope you are in a safe spot when you find out what his trigger is.

Lea and her Mustangs said...

Am glad you are progressing w/both horses. Isn't that a good feeling.

Linda said...

You're pretty amazing with your training schedule. I'm impressed that you're going after his trigger at all. I guess he must have one--but maybe it needs to be recreated in a new and scary environment like he was in at the time.

Tracey said...

Had a friend give me an idea...though I'll need to be brave enough to climb into the trailer with him again (probably not an issue getting in, especially with hay there waiting.)

I've got a 3 horse trailer, but only use one divider most of the time, and it's the second one in order to give the first horse more room. So, put in that first divider, load Lefty and let him eat for awhile, then return and start talking, rubbing on him while he's trapped.

With the divider, I could probably come in with my long whip or pole and begin rubbing from a safer distance...of course there's the risk of him taking out the wall of my horse trailer.

Hmmm....may need to think on this. But I do believe the smaller space and standing back and talking a LOT may work.

Leah Fry said...

Good luck with finding the trigger. And stay safe! I know what it's like to have to work through the fear. IMHO, you can't push it. If you're not ready, the horse knows it. They know everything.

Anonymous said...

When I was starting Dawn on ground driving, I did lots of "leading by the legs" with a soft lead rope to help her feel safe even if she got tangled in the lines, and to help her give to pressure if she got tangled instead of fighting.

Sounds like all are doing well!

Blob said...

sigh, be careful finding that trigger. Once you know it, it's usually manageable. But finding it can be dangerous work.

Don't do it alone, make sure there's at least another hand/body around.

But I do hope you find it and you iron out this crazy boy's kinks.

Also glad to hear Tika's learning to drive.

Crystal said...

Glad to see you working with Lefty again, he seems so sweet, hope you find his trigger safely.