John set up the Blocker Tie Ring the other day and today was the third day to have him tied to it. I think the mobility of the ring on the eye hook gives him enough release from pressure that he hasn't tried to pull back once yet. He can move around and turn his head without feeling the fence on the other end immediately. I think it really makes him feel less confined. Also, I think that the week or so that I spent tacking and grooming with him untied helped him gain confidence.
I took him out and longed him for 20 minutes or so to give him a good work and I focused on speaking the cues very quietly. He listened so intently, he didn't want to miss a word! I would say the command (walk, trot, woah), then I would say it louder and more forcefully with a cluck for the trot, then I would jerk the rope for downward transitions or pop the whip for upward transitions along with the verbal cue. Ask, Tell, Demand. It worked. By the end of the session I was asking quietly and he was responding cheerfully.
I decided to use the same tactic in getting him to lead to the faucet. He is usually pretty balky about this and we have always had to use the belly rope. Well, I didn't want to use the belly rope today. So I carried the longe whip and decided that if he stopped I would ask him to walk, then I would ask for the walk with a cluck and tug on the rope, then I would demand the walk with a pop on the butt with the longe whip. I never even had to ask. He just walked along behind me with his head down and relaxed. He wasn't very sweaty at all so I just stood next to the faucet with him and loved on him and put him away. His rain rot is getting better every day.
I think I need to call the farrier out sooner than I had originally anticipated as Boomer seemed to be dragging his back toes at the trot. It was hard to detect, but I could tell that there was a small drag, like his break over wasn't complete.
Boomer is really pushy when it comes to his food and I have been trying to keep him off of the feed bucked until I give him the go ahead. I thought at first that the best way to do this was to shoo him off and act like a bigger badder horse. This has just gotten him worked up at meal time. So, I think I should try leaving him haltered and having him stand STILL about 10 feet away from his bucket. I'll update you on how that goes.