Friday, July 18, 2008
Getting up to date (2)...
We spent a lot of time bonding today. I braided Boomer's mane and tried to show him that Life wasn't totally scary in this new place away from his friends and family. His forehead cuts are already healing nicely. I took him back out to the round pen and worked on longing again. It became clear to me that he had only even been longed to the left. Longing to the right produced kicks in my direction. That will take some work. I begin brainstorming and decide to have John help me next time in the round pen, leading Boomer at a walk while I longe to the right. We will have to see if that will work.
For now, I removed the longe line and encouraged him to longe at liberty. He often attempted to change directions and I had to stay on my toes to simultaneously keep him going in the direction I dictated and avoid receiving the free flowing kicks. Rest assured, no kick went unpunished.
One must be very well trained with longing to work with a young or untrained horse, especially at liberty. One must know that the purpose of longing is not to run to horse in circles until he is tired but to teach him respect, balance, cadence, and flexion. One must also have mastery over the longe whip in order to properly reprimand with a sharp snap in the air for an uninvited change of direction or a well placed snap on the offending leg if a kick is offered.
This session ended well with Boomer catching on quickly and readily accepting me as his leader when it was time to return to his stall.
A side note about Boomer's living situation:
He is being kept in quarantine for the first week at the new stables. Another horse in quarantine has an infection and doesn't look good. He has a swollen penis, can not urinate, is dehydrated, and emaciated. The owner hasn't had a vet out and I begin to become wary of the situation. I also notice that each horse I see come in from pasture is thin, still hairy ( a sign of improper nutrition), and wormy looking (ribs showing with a pot belly). A few of the horses are older and at first I write their condition off. Then I notice that some of the border's horses look healthy and I begin to realize that it is only the stable owner's horses which are in such poor condition. But, more on that later.