Sunday, January 31, 2010
Cha'cote's first Mosey
OMG, I couldn’t be happier than I am right now for Cha’cote. The weekend started out with a serious back slide. The rain has been relentless for two weeks. Clearly, since Cha’cote is wild and the only horse on the ranch with a real shelter, he has no blanket to keep him dry…..or un-muddy, as I have discovered he is quite pleased with himself now that he can make a complete and utter pig of himself when he so chooses. Saturday started with me going in to catch him and him acting like a wild horse again. I was worried at first, but had confidence that it wouldn’t last long. He said, I wanna be a wild horse….I said….let me help you with that. I went and got a plastic bag and attached it to the carrot stick. It was part of my “test” anyways that he would need to pass in order to get OUT. So I turned the wild horse session into a “controlled catastrophe” learning experience. What fun that was. He was spinning and ducking and striking, rearing, kicking, shaking and so forth. But it was required to see if I could control him and keep him with me during a crisis. If he gets away from me outside, I am terrified he will not see the wire fence and go thru it. So of course I could NOT keep his attention on me, and it took a few bumps on the nose, and some hard shakes of the lead line. While he did NOT really ever accept the bag, he did calm down quite a bit and he did finally accept to turn to me for leadership, which is what I wanted accomplished. There is always another day to work on such a scary object. Right now, the most important thing for him is to have a life, we will conquer the bag down the road. After the bag session, we just hung out together until his breathing was back to normal. When I left, he wasted no time destroying all the hard work I put into brushing all the mud off. In the end, he was muddier than when we started. Sunday was met with it’s own challenges for the day. I went to watch a horse show with my best friend and we talked a lot about me wanting to take him out. How I wanted a plan and needed confidence in my self and him, in order to take the risk. I didn’t feel at the time of our conversation that the time was right, though the desire was certainly there. She came over to watch me play with him a little and she even came in with us and he let her hold the rope and pet him. Though cautious, I was proud that he didn’t freak out and by the end was putty in her hands too. I showed her all his new tricks, and how well he is doing them all now. She left and I had a conversation with my self about whether or not today is the day. The way I saw it, there were only 3 possible out comes, leaving them each a 33% chance of happening. 1. It could go horribly wrong, and he needs to be put down. 2. It could be relatively non disastrous, with him spooking a shying and me keeping him under control, but sucking on a darviset lollipop to go to sleep. 3. It could be a wondrous brady bunch moment, completely uneventful. I told myself that no matter what, I will be nervous to do it, even if I wait a year. It was time to have faith in what I have taught him and confidence in myself that I can handle whatever situation comes my way. With a lot of butterflies in my stomach, I decided to try it. I went to the house and got my 22’ line and my gloves….no learn burn required today. We ran through a quick reminder of the 7 games and then I opened the gate. He did not rush thru it…Yay! Then I started to lead him, and he stopped on the imaginary line where the gate once was. He had a definite mental block, and couldn’t go thru. I know part of it is the claustrophobia squeezing thru the gate, but it’s a 12’ gate. He just didn’t know he could do it. One inch at a time….literally and we finally got thru. No blasting thru, got to the other side and just stood there. He looked around as if he had been dropped off by a space ship on another planet. He was quietly and inquisitively looking around, and when I walked off, he quietly followed. I was stunned. Though I quickly disengaged him to let him know the same rules apply outside. No problem for him, apparently he had no plans for bucking the system…pun intended. He never once spooked or shied. He is also a trash compactor, eating all the weeds, roots, dirt, pine needles and leaves, spitting nothing out. I am sure, once he gets used to it again, he will have the discerning palate of Kentucky bred king. He appeared quite grateful and put his head in my “lap” many times. Somehow it didn’t feel like he was looking for reassurance, but more like a huge thank you. I cried…and cried…and cried. I was so happy for him, that while I cannot release him back in the wild, he is no longer a prisoner. He has been pardoned, but will for ever be on probation. I cannot think of any better gift to give him. I think he finally realized the purpose to all that we have done. When the sun was close to setting for the day, he did not want to cross the line back into his corral. I can’t blame him. So we just went in and out, with a mouth full of grass in between. As is becoming his pattern by the 5th time he got it, and we called it a night. I came in straight away to make my movie. I added some emotional effects to it. and a really sappy song, so I could cry like a baby for years to come.