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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Show down at the O.K. Corral.

Saturday I thought I'd just walk over to the corrals to give the mustangs some grain with their wormer in it. (I could use the paste now but I bought them the worming nuggets out of habit).

I didn't intend to spend much time with them and didn't even put my gloves or hat on. But it ended up being a really incredible training session with Echo.

It went down like this; I walk in the corrals with their medicated grain, "Say bye bye to your worm friends boys"! I was startled at the sight of Echo. He had dozens of tumbleweed bits caught in his mane. They were sticking out of both sides and looked like they were matting his lovely mane! I'm really into long flowing manes and quickly sprang into action to weed Echo. In my eagerness to get the weeds out I forgot what a little psycho he is. Soon as I started pulling the first weed he (surprise surprise) bolted.

I got really mad. I have noticed whenever I get mad at him we make a lot of progress.

I went after him, shutting gates behind me and trapping him in the alley. I cornered him, then soon as he turned to face me I put my arms out so he couldn't race by me then I grabbed his halter in both hands. He did this huge snort in my face and I told him I was going to slap the snort right out of him if he didn't hold still. I really thought he was going to go over the top of me and I was going to get hurt, but I really didn't care because I was so mad. No horse of mine is going to look like he was dragged through a hedge backwards!

Echo put up a big struggle but he was very careful not to step on me. Every time he tried to run backwards I yanked on his halter and told him "Whoa". Wow, talk about a desensitizing session! I had to tug on his mane to get all the weeds out and got every little bit out. For good measure I slapped him with my hand all over as far back as I could reach without letting go of his halter. The first slap made him leap but then he realized it didn't hurt and he stopped reacting to it. After wards he seemed fonder of me.

Today, Sunday I raked up tumbleweeds in and around the corrals and burned them. I put Echo's lead rope on and led him through his corral gate and down the alley! He put the brakes on going around the corner into the big corral so I turned him around in the alley and led him back into his corral. We did that three times then he decided to let me lead him through all the gates. He was such a good boy. Training Echo is one step forward and ten steps back sometimes.

I know what I need to do and that is to be very firm with him and desensitize him with every thing I can think of. He's a really good horse and has such a sweet nature.

This photo was taken about a month ago but it shows that worried look he gets that makes me just want to give him a cuddle.


Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

Aww, he's so cute.

nikki said...

Echo is such a handsome boy. Once he gets over his fears he's going to be a great horse.

"No horse of mine is going to look like he was dragged through a hedge backwards!" This sentence made me laugh out loud.

We used to have that problem with the tumbleweeds when we lived in Colorado and now in Minnesota we have it with cockleburrs. I don't know which is worse. They both get tangled in their hair but the cockleburrs can hurt if you grab it wrong lol.

Cheryl Ann said...

My gelding, Sunni, is a lot like Echo. Sunni spooks at EVERYTHING. And me, with my bad back, I'm rethinking about ever riding him!!!