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Monday, July 20, 2009

Echo's big day.

Sunday was Echo's big day. It was the day I intended to take away his wild horse card. Brad had put an extension on the wing gate so it would lock in place trapping the little stinker behind it.

I asked Brad to be the one to secure him this time. I've been doing it on my own but I knew Echo would loose his cool when we had to go to his rear to lock the gate and I wouldn't have the strength to hold him in.

First we had to get him into the small pen. He didn't want to turn his back on Brad to walk up the alley. He kept walking up to Brad to do his bump ups. I felt so sad for him because he was trying so hard to show Brad what a good boy he was and hoping Brad would be happy enough with that so he wouldn't have to go in the little pen.

Brad got him in the right position in the pen....

.. but just like I thought Echo had a melt down when Brad attempted to shut the gate behind him.

There was just a cloud of dust.......but I saw something I recognized in it.

He scrapped some of his bark off and had a bald spot on his forehead. Brad got him turn in the right direction and secured the gate. Echo calmed right down.

This was the start of five hours of work!

Brad touched his body for the first time. Photobucket

It took ages for him to stop tensing up when we touched him. I used my hands most of the time. I gave him some wonderful wither rubbings and itchy spot searches. He's still tense in this picture.

We did plenty of 'walk aways' to make him think and look for us. He looked for us. I wouldn't call it longing looks, but he looked.

I went after itchy spots on his under carriage that are almost impossible to reach in the natural world. He LIKED. But being a really super cool wild horse he didn't let it show too much.


Wildairo was out guarding the fort by plodding around on high alert because he heard some very distant human voices in the evening air. He came in for the night but really wanted to be out again.

Echo was very OK with me touching him all over his back and hind legs! No attempt to kick or even any anxiety. He actually munched the carrot he'd be holding on to when I reached his tail. I used a soft rubber brush to groom him which he enjoyed.

I couldn't get near his head because he'd turn it as far as away from me as he could. I gently rubbed the back of his ears and poll with the leather loop on the end of my crop till he seemed to relaxed, then I attached a soft rope to it and put the rope slowly and gently all over his back and down his sides. Echo didn't mind in the least. The only time he gave a little jump was when the rope swung up and touched him under his head somewhere. I put the rope around his neck using my crop.

I moved the rope further up hill near his ears and managed to get some control over his head. Once again Echo kept very calm.

I pulled his head near enough to me that I could reach out and take it in both hands. It took some time but he totally relaxed and enjoyed having his face stroked and kissed. It was dark and he just sighed and let his head get heavy in my hands. I walked away many times returning to pick up the rope and take his head.

We had a disappointment, when Brad came back after being gone for about an hour... Echo snorted at him and tensed up even though a short while before he'd been totally relaxed with Brad being close to him.

I could have put a halter on him but I decided to wait till the next session.

It was dark and about 10:30 pm when we released him. He stood in the dark looking at us. I approached him just like we'd been doing and reached for him, but because he wasn't in exactly the same place soon as he felt my hand it was like he'd had an electric shock and he raced into the big pen. Being very pleased with himself he did his wild mustang dance in the starlight.

Yep, he's still got his wild horse card... and part of me is glad he's still a spirited little mustang.

The next step is to get him back in the little pen, get a halter and long drag rope on him, then let him race back into the big pen, pick up the drag rope and take the decision to act silly away from him. It seems when choices are taken away from him he calms right down. He needs a leader/boss.


Our high speed internet went no speed for a few days, so this post was slow to get published. Since Sunday Echo seems to be a lot more cozy and cheeky with me but backs away when I reach for him. He'll be fine once he has the halter and lead rope. He's a hard nut to crack alright, but so much fun.

1 comment:

Kara said...

That's awesome, Arlene! I'm really glad to hear that your efforts are paying off! They are very good at making you think they are untameable, arent' they? Sometimes you just have to make them accept a little bit to show them how great life can be when you have a human that will scratch all those unreachable places! Things should come along pretty well, I think! I'm looking forward to getting back out with mine.

So, Kachina lets me touch her all over, but it scared her to death just to sniff my dad's hand. I think we need to work on this "stranger danger" thing. I want her to trust most people!