Session #1 - around 10:00 a.m.
Little Man was up getting a drink, and stood there watching me while I was out with the birds. So I went in and got my things and went out. He was standoffish this morning. He let me rub his face, but frequently backed up. I had a hard time resting my hand on the top of his head because he just kept moving. If I could touch it at all, I clicked. I was finally able to rub it a couple of times, and he pie eyed me a little.
I'm guessing after seeing me jump suddenly twice on yesterday, he's just waiting for me to do it again. I kept my body angled while I was stroking him, so he wouldn't feel as pressured, but he was still wary.
Session #2 - around 6:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Little Man was grazing out in the pasture, and looked up when I called him, but did not come up. I walked around a bit, then went over to the nice neighbor's goats and petted them a while. Little Man moved closer, but not too close. I finally walked off and he went into the pen to drink. I stayed back, so as not to crowd him or make him feel trapped. When he walked out I started walking parallel to him, then as he angled off I went back to the goats. In a very short time Little Man was right behind me.
I clicked as he moved up to me, in case the click should startle him. I left his head alone for the most part, and worked on stroking his neck down to his shoulder. I worked on just stroking to the shoulder, rubbing the shoulder, and resting my hand on the shoulder. I watched him closely, and when he looked like the pressure was building and he was about to move I clicked and released my hand, then treated him. I worked some on his right side too, but not much. He doesn't normally let me on that side. Interestingly enough, he won't usually let me touch him with my left hand. Of course, I didn't try because I hold the clicker with my left hand.
One of the goats managed to get tangled in the fence behind me, just as I was rubbing his right shoulder, and made a lot of noise. Little Man jumped away and angled his rear to me. I moved so I was away from him, and waited for him to come back. He stood there, so I went back to the goats and Little Man moved up behind me. We worked a few more minutes, mostly on the shoulder, though I did rub the top of his head a couple of times.
He was looking stressed, so I rubbed his shoulder one last time, then gave it a couple of gentle pats, and gave him a piece of horse cookie. He has always been very defensive with pats; I'm assuming he associates them with hitting. If I'm going to pat him I usually do it from the other side of the fence.
I had my fingers taped up, to keep dirt out of the wounds, and I'm not sure he liked the feel of the tape on him. The appearance didn't seem to bother him, but I think the tape may have been rough, or perhaps the edges felt funny on his skin.
I walked out to see where Kong was, and Little Man followed me. Kong was in another pasture, though I could see him. I called to him, then turned and stroked Little Man's face. Then I left, and Little Man dropped his head to graze. I'm sure he misses his buddy.
I feel as though we are making great progress. He is still wary and on guard, but he is does love treats, and is willing to work with me to get them. I have great hopes that one day he will realize that I really am not going to hurt him, and that I am his friend.
Blessings on you,
Teaching a Horse to Talk
7 years ago