Monday, 13 October 2008

Fun Sunday

Sunday Nat and I went to the paddock. IT was hot, so I worked with Gracie for a while (Natalie was wearing thongs) and then we took Becks down to the dam for a swim.

We are now able to lead Gracie around her yard. So we decided to lead her to the round yard (with a little help from Beckham and carrots) and then do a little work in there with her for a change. She was pretty good. She responded well to light halter pressure, except going through gates seems to be a little bit of an issue for her. Going into the round yard was scary too, because the gate has a connecting pole along the top she had to go under. Once in there, I led her around, teaching her how to change direction and trying to get her to be by my side. Then, I got a lunge whip, and tried first off to just have it in her space, and not have her react to it, then I touched her shoulder with it, until she did not react anymore. Every time she took a step back (her way of getting out of things), I asked her to come forward the same amount of steps. When I first touched her with the whip, she nearly jumped out of her skin! She really does hate being touched. I was able to eventually pat her shoulder with the whip without her moving her feet. This took about 10 minutes. I then took the lead off and let her trot around me, til I saw her start to dip her head in want to come in to me. I didn't push this too hard as it was hot. We then let her graze in there with a bucket of water while Becks, Nat and I went to the dam.

We led Grace back to her yard without Beckham to go first. It took quite a while to convince her that the gate would not bite her, but she got there in the end. We then let her graze just outside the arena, and while we were doing things (washing buckets, bringing chaff bag over, wheeling the wheelbarrow past) we stopped near her and petted her. You can now officially touch her almost anywhere on her head and ears, over her eyes, play with her forelock, open her lips to look at her teeth (She still has all her baby teeth from what I can see, so that puts her at under 2), all without her protesting much. As soon as you try to go further though, she turns tail and gets out of there! But last week she did this when we tried patting her on her forehead, so there is major improvement. Next step - patting the neck!

You want pictures?
(Captions below)

Leading around her yard. It's a dust bowl. She will move to another yard (with grass!!) soon.

Teaching her to come to the pressure

A nice one, with her relaxed and not moving or leaning her body away from me.

The whip in her space. She was quite interested in it.

Trying to 'escape'. Taking steps back, head up, body leaned away from me.

Just hanging out, letting her get used to the idea.

Looking back at these photos, I'm really quite proud of her!


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