Young horses are so different than older ones.Instead of being excited over big improvements like lead changes, seeing a horse learn to collect itself, jumping this, making this great run, etc etc etc, it’s all about being happy to be able to lead your young horse outside of the arena safely. Putting a saddle pad on its back without a buck or bolt. Fly spraying without the world ending. Picking feet without tantrums. And instead of it taking a long time to accomplish things, like Red and his collection for example, which has taken over two years to really see a big difference, I’m seeing small improvements every day. Ransom likes to learn, that much is obvious, and he doesn’t like getting into trouble. He’ll do almost anything for some reassurance and a pat on the neck. I’m caught between being overly excited over tiny things and wanting to post about ALL THE THINGS and thinking “Okay, do y’all really want to read messy posts all abotu how I led my horse around in a big pasture today without being dragged?”
But alas, here I am, about to talk about how my horse let me lead him on the halter outside of the arena without me getting dragged.
Ransom has had 4 sessions in the arena so far. On the first day, we worked on tiny things. I introduced him to the lunge whip, tossed barrels around him, led him around the barrels, over some trot poles, worked on leading, engaging his hindquarters, backing up on the lead, and attempted join up for the first time which was a success. The second day went nearly the same, except we spent some time introducing the idea of lunging at the walk. Made a few laps at the walk, tried to get him to understand different cues which went pretty well, then did join up again. The next day was spent mostly on desensitizing, fly spray being the biggest deal. He doesn’t flinch at much…big balls hurled over his back, whips being cracked around, big feed bags, saddle pads…but fly spray? OMG GONNA EAT ALL THE BABY HORSEYS
Luckily, he has a good brain and as soon as I set the spray bottle down, he chills out. I’ll be working more on fly spraying today, I think. He doesn’t act completely stupid, just runs from it and is very confused over the idea. Totally confident that this will pass quickly just like everything. He bolted over the saddle pad less than a week ago and yesterday he was accepting it on his back with barely anything more than a side eye like “What is that?” so I’m sure it’ll work out just fine with more time.
Yesterday was spent working on the saddle pad being on his back which went very well, and I spent quite awhile on grooming because he’s shedding horribly and I’m desperate to make him somewhat clean again. We also had our best day every on the lead and he acted like a totally normal, sane, sweet, halter broke horse. It was raining off and on, horses were being turned out, hay was being thrown, and he was good as gold. We’ve managed to walk out of the arena twice now so I can lead him to the other pasture and he behaves perfectly, lets me get the gates opened without being pushy or spooky. I’m seeing changes in him every day. Nothing huge like saddling up or doing perfect liberty work, but things that he has to learn in order to make every day easier for me to handle him.
He’s doing great with the herd, not quite friends with anyone yet but things have remained totally peaceful. He’s still BFF’s with Halfpint and they hang out together all the time, so he’s not totally alone, just no friends his own size yet. 😉 He has learned what a whistle means and anytime I whistle, he comes running regardless of if I just turned him out or not, or if I have food. Starting to act like an actual baby these days. Instead of being afraid and cautious around people, he’s friendly, curious and a bit of a pest.
Feeling a lot less anxious about his progress these days. 🙂