The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wee Stormy

One of my mini horse clients, who is also a neighbor and friend, has a new addition to her little family - five-month old Stormy, full brother to one of her other minis. The breeder gave away this youngster, hoping just to find a good home for him, and a good home he has certainly found.

I met Stormy for the first time last week, when I took the foreign exchange student and my daughter over to visit, and then went back a few days later to see about trimming his hoofs - they're looking decidedly duck-billish. But on arrival, it transpired that this was only Stormy's second time ever wearing a halter (the first time being when he was moved), and he didn't think too much of the idea. In fact soon after the rope was put on, he flung himself backwards and ended up flipping over onto the ground. As he is a smart little guy, as well as spirited and stubborn, he did not repeat this.

I trimmed the other two for the first time at his age, but they were more accustomed to human handling. Stormy didn't want me even touching his legs, never mind picking them up, so rather than work on trimming, we worked on being-with-the-humans-while-the-rest-of-the-herd-is-out-of-sight, and leading.

Initially, rather than trying to convince him to be lead by me, I let him lead me for a while. I kept hold of the rope and followed him. You could see him thinking, "Wait a minute, that's not what I meant - I meant to get away from her, not have her come along too." But, hey, connected is connected, no matter who's got the lead.

After a while, he began to get the idea, and we even managed some semblance of "leading." The owner and I also practiced sitting with him beside the mini barn (oh, so cute!). He settled down and started grooming me a little, so I guess he's on his way. He even started letting me scratch his legs, and a few times when I touched his leg, he picked it up in a reflex kind of a way, whereupon I got enthusiastic and praised him a lot. He must be all, like, "What is up with the weird lady?" Here's where a clicker and treats might work wonders.

We decided to shelve trimming for another day. I think Stormy definitely experienced being with humans in a new way that wasn't so bad after all; hopefully he'll mull it over and be ready to let me have his feet the next time or the next.

Little Stormy on the right.
Playing that perennially favorite game - "Follow the Lithuanian."
(You can just see that Stormy's dorsal stripe goes right down his tail.)

p.s. These little horses are very intelligent. Their owner tells me that they enjoy playing the game "Put the Ball in the Bucket," which they figured out all by themselves.

1 comment:

  1. He looks gorgeous and I love how you built up the trust by letting him lead you. As you say, a clicker may well work here.