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Getting Better With the Halter
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Getting Better With the Halter

For a few days now I have been "shouldering" a halter around in the paddock whenever I go out there to do anything where Cookie is. Right now she's at about 1/2 and 1/2. Meaning, 1/2 the time she just stands there and the other 1/2 it's a take off and run game. I'll take it though. It's steps in the right direction, and I know eventually she will stand there whenever I bring a halter out there. 

Cookie does have her "off" days, just like most of us. You can tell right away when it's an off day when you try to put her fly mask on and she starts freaking out like it's some over grown barbarian that's going to eat her or cause bodily harm. I'm not sure why she's started this reaction but it seems in some areas she's taking steps backwards instead of forward in her training. Maybe she's become bored with the whole thing and is trying something new or perhaps she just doesn't want to wear the thing and figures if she's scared of it she won't have to. Either way, she gets it put on the same way every time. It's certainly not something new nor is the way I put it on. At any rate, I'm going to pass on this particular problem and let it ride because there are other more important things to be working on and I certainly don't want to add to the list. 

She is doing very well on the side pass. We're still having a few issues of trying to step forward or backwards first, however if she gives me one crossed leg, we've won 1/2 the battle and that's fabulous. I'm still working on getting my weight down and when the time comes I'll get a saddle and begin working with her on all of the things we're doing from the ground now. She loves to challenge and test me sometimes daily though thankfully it's nothing serious. 

I don't have a round pen so lunging is my only option at the moment. When I ask for movement in the beginning, I get a big attitude from her, along with a deep head tuck and semi buck with those fuzzy black ears laid against her neck. I don't make much fuss about it unless she shoulders in and gets in my space. Then it's time to settle off and pay attention to where we're going. There are also times when I've asked for a whoa and wait a few moments to make her turn and go the other way, she'll pin those ears, back up and rear in a challenge to me. I don't make a big fuss about that either. I wait until all 4's are on the ground, lead her forward and try again. Sometimes we back all over the paddock until she gives in and goes the other way, taking off in a full on run, bucking, farting and snorting. 

Now mind you, this all happens within the first 15-20 minutes of warm up. After that, whatever I ask for, she gives it to me willingly. No attitude, pinned ears, bucking, rearing. She loves to think she's in control and has the upper hand though I think she knows it won't last long. 

Today is a day of semi rest. We won't work on side passing or any of that. Instead I'll continue every day with the halter until she comes up to me or simply just stands there when I approach her. 

Over all she's doing quite well and I'm just as excited to have her in my life today as I was when I first saw her and brought her home. She's been such a blessing and challenge and I'm so thankful to have her in my life. 

 

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Leave a Comment

  1. autumnap
    autumnap
    Voted. Sounds like things are progressing really well. x
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    1. Rene Wright
      Rene Wright
      Thank you. Yes so far, so good. :) x
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  2. Lori L
    I enjoy reading your posts, Rene, and I can see that Cookie represents a challenge for you, for sure! What I have found in the past ( I do not own a horse and probably will not for the reason of time constraints) is a 'trick' I found seems to work. Since a horse is a herd animal and likes to be included in things, I have used reverse psychology with those who act much like Cookie. Walking into their space with halter hung on my shoulder, i have done random things such as checking fences and such with the horse eying me and then coming over to me out of curiosity. I will pet them on the nose and say some things and I then move onto another direction causing the horse to wonder why I moved away from them with that halter. When they have come back up to me, I will do the same, praising them and move off. In this process, they get rewarded for coming up to me with a pet and gentle talk. Next, I will get the halter and move it into my hands, let them sniff it and move off. When they come up to me, I do the same thing and move off. The whole point is that at first, it is just that you are there, you greet and move on. If they follow, you know they are looking for more action to happen. I have found that by having a long lead rope handy and just putting it around the neck without restraint and petting and talking and then taking it off again and repeating it eventually desensitizes them to have that rope around them in general. I hope this is of help for you. When you make it a routine thing, they will fall into it, eventually. Soon you will be able to walk up, put that halter on, walk them to where you need them and start your day with them! Good luck and happy trails!!!
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