Session #1 - around noon
I called Little Man one time before I went out; I stuck my head out the sunroom door. Then I got all my gear and went out. I tended to the rabbit and birds first, and when I looked up from petting the rooster, there was Little Man standing at the fence watching me. When I finished with the other animals I went out, and Little Man walked into the pen. I took the marigold spray, the halter, and the hula hoop, and he walked into the "L" portion of the pen when he saw that!
I hung the hoop on a T-post, and went in the pen. I hung the halter on the fence, and set down the bottle and rag. He came back into the other part of the pen, and I went up and petted him. I sprayed the rag and wiped his face. He was a little shy of it still, but he did allow me to wipe him. I wiped his neck and chest, but he backed up almost constantly while I was wiping his shoulders and sides. He was nervous enough I didn't press it too much, but I did try to get as much spray on him as I could; when I went out he had flies and mosquitoes all over him. The spray chased them away from his front, though!
Then I showed him the hula hoop and asked him to touch it. He looked at me like I was crazy, then stared at the hoop. I asked him again, and stood holding the hoop. He slowly stepped up to it and stretched his head out to touch it. He warmed up to it pretty quickly. I held it to the side, down low, up high above eye level.
Then I held it vertically beside his head and asked him to touch it. When he moved his head, he touched it with the side of his face. I held it up so that when he raised his head his forehead touched it. He did very well, and I was pleased that he took to it so quickly. He doesn't love it, but he didn't really shy away.
Then I just petted him for a couple of minutes. He is not letting me really rub his ears now, but he will let me rub behind them. I moved my hand to cup his ears a couple of times, and he got cookies and peppermint treats for that. I kissed his nose and petted him. As I continued to pet him, he was lifting his muzzle up towards my face. I'm wondering if he wanted me to kiss his nose again.
Session #2 -
Little Man was slow to come to me tonight, probably because I took a hoop out. I grabbed a different one, which was bigger and had something inside it that made it rattle. It wasn't the best choice, but I didn't realize it rattled until I was out there. I hung it on the t-post at the pen gate, then went in the pen to pull weeds for the goats. Little Man stopped outside the gate and sniffed the hoop, then backed off a couple of feet and did not come in. So I went out to him.
I wiped him with marigold spray, and he was still shy of having his ears wiped. He was better about letting me wipe his shoulders, but I could only do a few inches behind his shoulders. He kept backing up.
I let him target the hoop, which he did just fine. But when I moved it to his left side, it rattled and he spooked. He ran off several yards, and would not come back. I did walk towards him and ask him to target it, but he just stood there and looked at it suspiciously. I hung it back on the t-post, and walked out to pet him. He let me, but tossed his head and backed up.
I let him target the halter a few times, and also the swinging rope. Then I put it all up and just petted him for a minute. He let me rub behind his ears, but wouldn't let me stroke his ears. I did kiss him on the nose, and talk to him a little bit. Then I left him to graze.
Teaching a Horse to Talk
6 years ago