I've been waiting for Tractor Supply to have enough Arab sized fly masks in to outfit the rest of the herd, and they finally had them in today. I gave up on the color coding with the masks that have fur around the ears and nose, they just attract Local Jewelry (the 10 million kinds of stickers we have here) too much. So we tried color coding and names with Sharpies, we'll see how long they last. Blaze is wearing the first Cashel mask I bought like this, that's why he doesn't have a special new one, poor soul.
Joey had a shorter, more focused training session today. B spent quite a bit of time with him in the long lines etc last week and felt that she had pushed him pretty far as far as being behind him with the lines etc. Today she wanted to touch on the same stuff in a shorter time and call it a day. With a super sensitive horse like Joey I think it's a great strategy and I really appreciate learning all the subtleties and how to deal with them. B knows how to point out and explain things that I am grasping at in my brain but can't quite wrap my head around yet, and that's a great skill for a trainer to have!
First time tacking up in the cross ties:
Off to work he goes:
After about 25 minutes Joey started to get jammed up. She was asking him to switch directions and he just sort of hit a wall. He got stuck on thinking she was trying to get behind him and just stopped, stood, and wouldn't go forward for anything. It's a delicate balance at this juncture because the last thing Joey needs is pressure/scaring/much encouragement behind him, since Behind is his scary area. But you have to get him to move. By going to his head and leading him a step forward B got him unstuck but then he tried to just follow at her shoulder instead of heading out on the circle like he had been. It was fascinating because while he had taken to the long lines and walking and Whoa'ing in them quite quickly at the start of the session, he suddenly wasn't getting it or moving forward mentally or physically. I could feel how "jammed up" he was from across the round pen and was so interested to see how B handled it. I figured she would look for a some small correct thing and call it, but wanted to see the exact moment she did.
thinking, stopped, confused, jammed up..
Sure enough, B got him to do one more nice walk off , only 5 or 6 steps, with his head held nicely and she said "There, that's it, done." She felt the same thing from him that I did and called it on a small triumph, again something I believe is so important for a sensitive guy like Joey. He gets incrementally better at things every single time he is handled and there is just no need to push him beyond his limits. He came to me in March only halter broke, first time in a trailer, first time off the place he was born, at 6 years old-- it's really quite amazing how far he has come in a few short months! I really appreciate B and her teachings.
5 or 6 steps of a nice walk and DONE
Well he was done with the long lines, anyway!
"One last thing."
B turned him loose in the round pen, turned her back to him, and started bunny hopping:
Bye bye Joey!
Joey was as snorty terrified as he was last time, but because he wasn't trapped in any way by a line, he did about 4 spooks back and forth dramatically and then stopped and stared.
That bunny hopping lady is CRAZY!
As soon as he stopped moving his feet in panic and just was attentive, she stopped hopping and he really was done.
He walked right back over to her after the bunny hopping, and followed her politely around the round pen loose.
Striking a pose after his bath:
Adapt to survive..