Tuesday, May 20, 2008

-Day one - Manners = Treats!

Shelby is a sorrel filly I bought at auction in Hermiston, OR on February 12, 2008. I was there to drop off a horse for a lady and that was a logical, known place to meet that was horse friendly and had plenty of room for our trailers. Said horse was not auction bound, just FYI.

Lady had been to this auction many times and took me inside to point out the killbuyers. They were getting many horses. It was the last day. The loose horses were being run through. I saw a sorrel filly led through that went to a killbuyer for $125. The next horse could have been the sorrel's twin . The only information available was "Red yearling filly". Duh.

I yelled (yes, I actually did) down to see if they had any more info. Nope. He asked if I wanted to bid and I said "no". I didn't have a number. There were no bidders yet. Finally, the aforementioned killbuyer yelled that he'd give $50 for her, irritating me a bit. I raised my hand and bought her for $75, sans bidding number. They didn't care, as long as I showed up at the window to pay.

Okay, moving along...I brought her home...well, to a friends' house since I hadn't told hubby about her yet. She stayed there and I thought I had a home for her which fell through after she chased his cattle.

Back home to my place and I fed her and left her alone for a couple of months. She was trimmed (bad, bad pony to the farrier!) and dewormed and that was about it.

Today, I realized that my farrier is coming back on Thursday and she really was a pill about it last time, rearing and dancing away. He was patient, but must think I'm losing my touch since all my other ponies are so nice. Even my "wild" mustang is a doll to trim. (He's not that wild.) So, today was the day. I wanted her to accept me picking up all 4 feet and be darn happy about it.

I know I'm a bit long winded. I'm thinking of doing a Cliff's Notes version as well.

Out to the round pen. She's easy to halter and lead, though she's a bit sluggish about the leading part. She's not sensitive to things being put on her. I know she pins her ears and tries to bite when I touch any part of her other than her shoulder. She didn't care AT ALL about me rubbing her anywhere with a Clinton Andersonesque stick thingy. She didn't care that I flopped the lead all over her and wrapped it around her legs and ears. Well...she didn't like the ears part, but accepted it quite readily.

Okay, hands on. Ears immediately go back. It's like a Pavlovian response. I come forward with hand/self/human and she opens her mouth and her head looks like a Greyhound chasing a hare. I do this numerous times from both sides. I'm only working on the shoulder and chest at this point, occasionally going back to halfway down the barrel. Each time she unpins her ears or closes her mouth, or at least doesn't make contact with my hand or arm, I quit rubbing.

This is not obnoxious poking or prodding. I was rubbing her. She eventually accepted it, looking at me out of the corner of her eye, but she never liked it. I decided to try a different tack.

I really like to keep Packer Pellets around. They are a complete feed for those times when I'm out with a horse too long who really needs a meal and we're still miles from home. Hubby uses them when he's hunting on horseback, so he doesn't have to mess with that elusive "weed-free" hay. They also make excellent horse treats. You can break them into smaller pieces or leave them big so the horse has a mouthful to munch as she's, hopefully, thinking about what just happened.

I put a few handfuls of Packer Pellets in a bucket and Shelby knew exactly what that sound was. Her ears perked right up and she stepped toward me, which is not normal for her in general. I scratched her chest, ears stayed up. Shelby got a whole pellet. I let her munch it down and waited. She looked at me and I scratched her more on her chest and neck. She tolerated it and when I stopped, she looked expectantly at me. Pellet acheived.

We continued this under a variety of conditions and even tried simulated fly spray (water in a spray bottle) and she got each new thing fairly quickly. I even picked up each foot several times and cleaned them out. When we were done and I turned her out, she didn't hang around hoping for more as all my other horses do, but that will come. Yes, it will.


Amanda said...

I am so looking forward to reading more of your posts on this wonderful and very lucky girl!!

ljbrooks said...

Thanks Amanda. Glad you enjoy her. I think she's going to be a very special horse when she decides to be. :-)