I have been working with Cookie on her haltering issue for 6 days now. In the beginning, when I would go out with a halter or even her fly mask, she would turn and head for the other end of the paddock. Sometimes she would make a game out of it and I decided that I wasn't going to play. Instead I've taken a different approach to haltering because clearly, making her move her feet wasn't getting the job done.
Each day I would put the halter over my shoulder and head out to feed, exercise or play with Cookie. I didn't halter her or make an attempt to do so. I wanted her to see that just because I have a halter in hand, she needs to either stand still or come up to me and that I wasn't always going to put it on her.
At one point she must have figured there was a 50/50 chance and began to only take a few steps away from me.
Today we are just that much closer as she actually came up to me this morning. She is still trying to get away from having her fly mask on, though she's getting better with it.
There are many ways to approach the haltering issue. Finding the one that works well can take some time.
In the very beginning, Cookie has always had an issue of running away when she saw the halter, lead rope, bridle. I tried taking a piece of twine out to catch her with and it worked for a while, but then she caught on and began to walk away from me again. I tried whistling her favorite tune, which worked for a while, then stopped working. I then tried moving her feet and keeping her attention. That only caused her to go into her stall to be "cornered" into having her halter put on. A reaction I didn't want because in her mind the halter became the "monster" that was going to attack her. This last effort of taking the halter out with me every time I am in her paddock with her is working much better than anything else ever has. She looks forward to seeing me come out again and even comes up to see if I have anything special for her like watermelon rind or a peppermint.
In the old cowboy days, they would rope the horse or run them through a chute, put a halter on them with a long lead rope and turn them loose in an arena or corral. Sometimes the would snub the horse up to a post or "pony" them with another horse until they stopped fighting. We've come quite a ways since then although some still prefer to do it the old ways as they say, "It gets the job done".
Whatever you decide to start with, always keep in mind there are other ways of doing things. Sometimes you need to be far less invasive and sometimes you need to be far more assertive. There are many vast areas in between in which to try and seek the one that gives you the best results over all.
I figure this halter/fly mask issue with Cookie will be resolved completely in the next 3-4 days... but I'm certainly not standing by a definite time line. It all depends on her and how willing she is to get done with this lesson.
As for the other lesson we were working on, the side pass and pivoting on the rear, it's on hold due to the weather. The ground is too mucky to do any real workouts. I'm sure she's enjoying the break anyhow. lol.
*Note* I think I found her digestive culprit. Wild onion. I thought I had them all dug up and thrown away, but I see where she had bit the top off of one. One piece is enough to cause a digestive disturbance with wet gas, so it is very important to keep an eye out for any wild onions that pop up around your horse pastures, paddocks and even barn areas. She also has been eating her own poop which adds to soupy manure piles. For now I'm continuing the ProBios with a few alfalfa cubes wetted and her vitamin/mineral pellets. She's drinking well and I have found some piles that were normal, some soupy. I'm going to check for sand in her manure also to make sure she's not loading up with it. Her temperature is normal, attitude is good, appetite is awesome and water intake is good.
Thank you for checking out my blogs. I appreciate all votes and comments.
Disclaimer: Of Horse! and sponsors do not endorse nor validate the accuracy of a blog post. Each article is the opinion of the blogger.