Session #1 - 10:30 a.m.
Little Man was up close to the yard fence, so I went out with my gear.
He saw me and brinnied and came up towards the fence. I walked out, and he walked away, made a wide circle, then finally came towards me. I let him walk a few steps towards me, then clicked. Then I walked to him and treated him. When I reached out to stroke him he whirled and moved off about 10 feet or so. I talked to him and moved towards him, but he turned and walked away. So I went to the fence to pet the nice neighbor's goat. Little Man walked over to us.
I stroked him, rubbed the top of neck, clicked and treated. Then we kept working. He is moving his head as far away from me as he can without taking a step away, and pie eyeing me. He seemed nervous this morning. He never did really relax when my hand was up by his ears and the top of his head. In between times, I rubbed his face and under his jaw.
I bought some oatmeal, raisin, and honey horse cookies at Tractor Supply yesterday, and I had one in my pocket. When I felt he had had enough, I ran my hand up his forehead and rested it between his ears. He pulled his head up, but I kept my hand there. I waited a few seconds then clicked, and gave him a bit of cookie. Then I did it two more times. The last time he looked as though he really wanted to pull his head completely away, but he kept looking where the cookie was. I clicked, gave it to him, rubbed his face, told him what a good boy he was, and walked off.
He came right behind me, all the way to the gate. When I stopped, I said "whooooa". I always try to do that, just to get him used to associating it with stopping. Then I stroked him, moved my hand to the top of his head, cilcked, and gave him a bit of feed. Then I went in the gate, and he came up to it. I stroked him one more time, and ran my hand up to the top of his head. He was pretty far back, so I had to reach, but he must have felt safe there. I clicked, and gave him one more bit of feed, then left. He stood and looked at me for a moment, then turned and started grazing his way back out.
Midday, around 2:00
I went out just a bit to say hello, but Little Man started walking out towards the back. So I walked out that way too, but diagonally to him.
Kong came up to the fence, and I went up to pet him. I had a bit of bread for him, since I missed seeing him this morning. Little Man came up, and I stroked and petted him, but was careful to not touch the top of his head, where we've been working. I was petting Kong, and Little Man was standing behind me, when Kong suddenly sneezed and sprayed my face with snot. Yuck. I naturally jumped and Little Man did too, and whirled and and moved away. Then he looked at me suspiciously. At least, I think he did; my glasses were covered with Kong-spray, so I couldn't see very well.
I did get up to him and pet him a little bit more. I decided to see how he took both my hands on his face. He took it for a few seconds, but his suspicions won out and he moved away from me. So I stroked his face one more time, then left to go wash my face.
Session #2 - around 5:00/5:30
I was waiting around the phone all afternoon to hear from my sister, who was going to let me know when she got my mother home from the surgery center. After several hours I decided to go on out and take a picture when I saw Little Man not too far from the fence. I told my daughter to call me when her aunt called.
I tried to take his picture, but he came up to me and got so close that I couldn't get a good shot. I kept backing up and he kept coming towards me. So I finally put the camera in my pocket and started working with him. If kept working on putting my hand up at the top of his neck. He is still holding his head as far away as he can without pulling completely away. He seemed less antsy than earlier.
When I thought he needed a rest, as he seemed to be about to walk away, I decided to go out and see Kong. He's really not used to taking treats, so I'm trying to help him be gentle. I took my attention off him for just a second when I heard my daughter calling from the house, and he stuck his muzzle through the fence and bit me! I know better than to take my attention off an animal, but I did it anyway. When he bit me, very hard, I jumped and Little Man whirled and ran behind a shrub. So that was twice today I chased him off by jumping. (sigh)
I didn't want to miss my sister's call, and my finger was bleeding a good bit, so I ran in the house. I did go back out before dark, but Little Man wouldn't come to me. Kong was standing at the fence, but I didn't go out because I was wearing sandals.
I told my husband the next animal I get is going to be a poodle, and he said it better be toothless!
Blessings on you, Kelly
Teaching a Horse to Talk
6 years ago