Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Never missing an oppurtunity to eat...

When something things go wrong on the farm. It seems to all go wrong all day long. I woke up this morning to find that two of the domestic horses had broken a fence and were happily munching grass along the stream bank, with a big long stand of wire that had been completely pulled off the fence posts, trainling the whole diameter of the paddock behind them. After that nothing went quite right all day. Except for my two wild angels. Who were both just exceptional all day. Another step forward by both of them. you can nnow pick up and handle their feet.

So when i finally had the domestic herd sorted out and on the right side of the fence again. It was time to handle the boy and get him out in the paddock for the day. Neither wild horse is left with a halter on in the stable or paddock. I find that they wait in same corner of their pen where they feel safe, for you to catch them each day. but today the boy came marching up to the door when i opened it and stood their quietly to be caught. Progress. Everyday i usally go over everything they've already learned. Can they move around you, away from you, back up, come towards you, can you rub them all over? before proceeding with anything new, you always go over exercises their comfortable with, just to reinforce their confidence and reactions . After runing through all this it was time to go about teaching the boy to pick his feet up.

No matter what your training a horse to do, the method is the same. You ask them to do something, as soon as they give you even the slightest response in the right direction, immediately you stop asking for a moment. So it is with picking up their feet. First i ran a rope down their leg. with the rope i asked him to lift his foot. As soon as he lifted it i released the pressure on rope instantly. Then just kept repeating until i could lift and hold his foot with my hand. No problemo! Just a little patience and rewarding step by small step.

Being concerned about the grey's sore foot, i decided i needed to first be able to see the foot through the mud. So i took her for a walk to the stream. Thinking standing in the stream and letting the flowing water clean it would be far easier than trying to wash it with a hose. It was, these little ponys truly dont getr upset over anything. Especially in the greys case they also never miss an oppurtunity to eat. She jus walked in and calmy stood in the water and started eating the grass along the banks. After 15 minutes i took her out and started the same procees of picking her feet up. She surprised me learning even faster than the boy what i wanted. She is defiantely the more suspicious one and in other things has taken a bit longer to become comfortable with handling etc. But just goes to show you can never predict just how they will react to things.

Her feet though are not in fantastic shape, better than when she arrived though, as some of cracked bits have flaked off on her toes. But still bad. The sore foot has very twisted growth. A big chunk has just come off the toe, i suspect this is why she is limping. because she is now putting pressure on the sensitive part of her foot. But will have to try and have better look tomorrow. She does seem better than yesterday though.
So after a day that started with the fence breaking, and continued with water pipes getting broken, domestic horses behaving like idiots and general farm chaos. The day ended just as chaotically as it began. Every night i open the gate to Milo and the Bays paddock. Every night Milo just trots freely down to the barn and into his stable, while i catch the bay. My old Arab just grazes freely and usually follows Milo to the stable. Not tonight. Milo left the paddock like a bat out of hell. Met up with the old Arab, they then both proceeded up and down the driveway and orchard, galloping, bucking and gen rally having a hell of a time. I was expecting the wild bay to join in, galloping and being silly, not letting me catch him. To my surprise, he watched the other 2 horses for a minute. Then walked up to me and just stood there waiting to be caught.Never a second did he even look like he wanted to join the other two idiots...Priceless. Moments like these make it all worth it. When it seems like everything is going wrong, a little bay stallion lets you know, you must be doing something right...