Monday, July 21, 2008

Friday the 18th...

I went out to the barn today before John got home from work. I was grooming as usual and getting ready to tack up and go to the round pen. I have been working on Boomer's back feet. He is fine with the legs being handled but it is almost like he doesn't know how to balance on his own if one of his back legs is surrendered. So I have been taking it slowly and just running my leg down his hand until he lifts it. Rewarding with a release of pressure even if he just shifts his weight away from me. Well, this process had been progressing very well until today. Today he immediately kicked at me and he brushed my jeans just below my knee. Had I been any closer I would be limping today. After he kicked me he proceeded to pull back and rear. I realized that he was tied with a safety knot that was just getting tighter. He would not be able to pull away. I boldly walked right up to his head, pulled him down and calmly told him "easy, woooaaahhh" until he stopped. He and I both were pretty shaken up. I ended up not taking him to the round pen and just working more on leg yields with the stirrup. I probably should have taken him to the round pen to work out our jitters, but I was a little on edge, especially because I was out there alone and my phone was in the car- a pasture away.

I untacked him and we spent some time bonding and I got a great idea. I decided that because we have so much to work on, I would let him get over the tarp fear on his own! I would feed him on it! That was he would get a reward for the good behavior, and it would be an organic learning process! So, I set the tarp up with rocks on each corner to hold it flat and I poured his food on it. He looked at me and walked away. I waited for about 20 minutes but he made no attempts, so I left.

John and I came back that evening and he hadn't touched the food. So, we waited. He eventually came over and got as close to the tarp as possible while streeeaaaatching towards the food. Then he put one foot on... and then another! We couldn't believe how easy it was, and he did it himself!

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