Thursday, September 5, 2013

Saga of The Big Brass - Part 2 - The Lion Grab and More

    For the next two days after being haltered I went out and worked with Brass in the round pen. The idea was to get him desensitized to touch and for him to learn to trust people. The plan was to haul him to Ted's as soon as a client horse left in a couple days. In order to trailer him, and load willingly, we needed to build on the foundation of trust that Ted had started. By the time I loaded him a couple days later it was a piece of cake. It took longer to get him out of the round pen than it did to get him in the trailer.
    Once at Ted's he went right to work. Brass was now officially at school and daily handling and desensitizing was the schedule. In the next few days he'd learn all about lateral flexion, yielding the hindquarters and even be grabbed by the mountain lion. That is what many horses think of our legs as they get wrapped around their sides or arms touching their girth.

The first time I went out to see how Brass was progressing I was surprised to find Terrence, Ted's son, crawling all over Brass! It had only been a couple days but I jsut couldn't stay away and wanted to watch Brass learn. Ted uses the Jeffries Method approach of backing a colt.  Terrence is tall enough to jump up on Brass bareback. He lays across his back and rubs him all over, working his arm into the girth area. This desensitizes Brass not just to having weight on his back but also to learn the feel of a cinch. Brass shows us he is pretty smart and adapts to all this really quick. 

Terrence traveled full length of Brass's body, head to tail, side to side, and slid off over his rump several times. Notice that Brass is not tied, no one is holding him, and look how relaxed he is.

Another important lesson and part of desensitizing and building trust is being laid down. Now this was done gently and easily, he was not thrown like the cowboys do in the movies nor was a running W of any sort placed on him. The rope went around one front pastern which was lifted and held up, he bowed down and soon laid down. At first Ted just lets Brass lay there and be rubbed, no attempt is made to get up. If he were to get up, he'd just be asked to lay down again. This is not as some people think, demanding submission, the horse learns to trust.

With some rubbing and coaxing Brass lays flat out. The rope is off his foot and he is free to get up at anytime. However he lays there and enjoys being rubbed in every nook and cranny of his body so that there are no "oh no" spots where he is sensitive. In fact when all the work here is done by Ted, Brass has to be asked to get up. 

After all that hard work of laying in the dirt :) Brass got a bath. He loves a bath and he really likes drinking out of the hose. 

By the fourth day at Ted's he is under saddle. Again - no restraints. Brass is a willing partner. Plus by now, I was able to start whittling some of that long toe off his hooves.

Ted likes to teach horses to accept him from the fence rail, I like it to because it makes it easier for short me to get on tall horses.

The flopping of the stirrup as well as other action from his rider don't bother Brass at all.

You can tell by his ears that he is paying close attention to Ted and what he is doing. 

The first ride at a trot, where he travels on a loose rein. You can't see him but Terrence is in the middle of the ring and when Ted cues Brass to turn Terrence uses the stick to aid in that turn so Ted doesn't have to really use much rein, just his legs. 

Within just a couple more days Brass was being ridden in the big arena. Ted could swing his hat and move all over Brass with no problem. I'd trimmed on his hooves quite a bit and he was a bit sensitive. He is pictured here with some Easycare Gloves for protection. 

Brass had learned to give well to the bosal, flexing and turning was a snap. 

By the time we were leaving for City of Rocks, Brass was doing very well.


CG said...

That was a fascinating post, thanks for sharing. He's a nice looking horse!

CG said...

That was a fascinating post, thanks for sharing. He's a nice looking horse!

Dom said...

Love the photo documentation of the whole process :)

Karen C. said...

What a great write up of everything Brass went through. Brass sure is a beauty!