Archive for December, 1999
JR is part of the herd now. Everyone likes him. Even Velvet doesn’t really bite him hard when she chases him away from her food. He gets to go to his food bucket in peace. He is able to get quite far from Sage now, without getting too upset. I’ve seen him 50′ away from her now. Stepmom, Sage, and JR still hang out together. Today, the herd was across the lake where we could watch them from our window. Sage and JR were napping while the rest were grazing. JR does what stepmom does!
I finally got to play with JR today. I led him over to the scary trailer and placed his food pan to the side of the back door. I kicked out wet yucky stuff while JR ate. Wait! My first muck kick out the door scared JR. Since the rope was attached to both him and my thumb, my thumbnail got banged into the trailer. Well, it was getting too long anyway.
JR really didn’t like stuff coming out of the trailer. It made him nervous when I was inside banging around. He didn’t want to eat his food while I was banging around in the trailer. I tied him to the side of the trailer. This might be the first time he was ever tied, but he did fine. He has a healthy respect for the power of the feel. I cleaned out the trailer muck and periodically rubbed JR in his favorite places. That brings up another small problem. He likes to rub back. When he moves his head into me, I wave him off. He has to learn not to push me. He relaxed enough to eat his food.
I had to use the wheelbarrow and JR watched me load it and push it around. It didn’t scare him. He was impatient to be released from the trailer, but he didn’t paw the ground. What a good little guy.
When I was done, I led him out into his pasture and we headed for the big hay bales where the herd was feasting. I stopped to try to pet one of the hackney ponies. When I was ready to go again, JR was walking ahead of me. I let him have the full 10′ length of the rope. He is supposed to follow my focus, but no one had told him this. He wandered to the side, so the I stopped walking. JR hit the end of the rope and had to stop too. This was a fine time for a circle both ways. He stayed close to my body, but he didn’t run over me this time like he did our 1st time. I still had to wave him off with the end of the rope. He does excellent at turning to face me.
JR and I did some forequarter and hindquarter turns. (This is a must for every training session!) My responsibility is to touch him as light as I can. I start by touching his hair. If he doesn’t move, my touch goes to the skin, then to the muscle/tissue and then to the bone. JR moves both his hind and forequarter with a touch to the skin. (whoopee!) When his front foot crosses over the other foot, my touch was released and he was rubbed at the spot where he was touched. We did the same thing with his hindquarters, except his rear foot has to come in front of the other foot on this turn.
He was released from the halter, but stayed right with me to get some more rubbing in his favorite spots. He didn’t lean into me this time, either!