Session #1 - 10:30 a.m.
Kong was back, and Little Man was out with him. Kong waited eagerly with his muzzle pressed against the fence, and as soon as I started petting him Little Man came over. I kept working on touching him behind the ears, moving from both the forehead and the neck. In between I rubbed his face. I was so pleased that he stood and let me rub and stroke all over his face: forehead to muzzle, sides, under the jaw. I was even able to cup my hand around the bottom of his jaw and hold his face, all without my clicking and without his moving! And he stood right up close to me while I did it!
I alternated between rubbing the top of his neck, and just laying my hand on it and applying a tiny bit of pressure. He is moving his head away from me, but not completely away. My arm ends up being stretched out, but he doesn't break the contact. I can see the pressure building, though, and his eyes start to get a panicky look, so I click and release before it gets to be too much for him. I am not stepping closer when he does this, because I think that would increase the pressure. And I would prefer that he not feel it necessary to whirl and kick. I think he is starting to realize that it feels good to be stroked and rubbed and petted, and it is a bonus that he gets a click and a treat to go along with it.
He only stepped away a couple of times, and when I turned back to Kong, Little Man stepped right back up behind me. I find it interesting that he stands quietly and waits while I am lavishing attention upon Kong. He will occasionally nudge me, but very gently, and sometimes will reach out his muzzle to see if he can't have what Kong is having.
One of the reasons he did not "work out" for my friends was his food aggression. He kept the horses so stirred up at feeding time that it was dangerous for my friends. The horses would end up in a frenzy of kicking, and when the husband got a solid kick that was meant for my little mule, they decided Little Man had to leave.
I have noticed that as soon as I leave, Little Man flattens his ears and pushes Kong away from the fence. He doesn't appear to want Kong's help to "clean up" the grain that I have dropped.
I ended the session by laying my hand at the top of his neck and applying a little bit of pressure, and holding it as long as I felt he could "take it". Then I gave him a peppermint treat.
Whoops, that was all for today. We didn't get finished with our errands in time to go home before swim lessons. So Little Man got a rest this evening. I wonder if he missed me?
Blessings on you,
Teaching a Horse to Talk
7 years ago