Friday, September 26, 2008

Hunter -- 09/25/08

I worked 3 doubles in a row and there seems to be a strange horse in the pasture when I finally see the pasture in daylight. Or, rather, half a strange horse. Could Hunter's hindquarters have grown that much in 3 days? He had had a height spurt since he came, but now he is filling out and looks like a typical quarterhorse on the rear. He looks to be a great western style prospect. Please catch up soon, front end!

The pony bridle I bought to train him will not work out, as the throat latch is way too small. Funny, the length of the cheek pieces are just right, but may be too small when our boy's front end finally catches up with his back. I will try a small horse bridle and if that is too big, I may have to get an Arab rig. The 4 1/2" bit is just right, though. He has a delicate little muzzle.

I bought a Tom Thumb pony bit for him. These are so mild. I took off the reins, lip strap and bit that came with the bridle and put in the Tom Thumb. I coated the bit with apricot jelly and started today's lesson. I knew Hunter would like the jelly because he has turned into a little food grubber.

With his growth spurt, I have been giving him a little horse pellets that were for Ike - who still looks like he is starving to me despite all our efforts - so Hunter can be sure of having enough nutrients to support his growth. You know how cats wind their way about your ankles when you have food? Well Hunter is apparently part large cat. Bloody nuisance at times. Scott even had to chase him away today because he was underfoot while Scott tried to weedeat the drainage ditches in the pasture. This fascination with humans will be a boon for his future pet days, however.

Anyway, Hunter took the bit readily. The instant he sucked off the jelly he hated having it in his mouth. I had him tied for this project. I left him tossing his head and chomping and skittering around while I found something else to do. I don't want him to associate his problem with me. He chilled out and I returned to brush him. Attention-hog stopped chomping the loose bit to enjoy this favorite activity. I then tightened one notch. More chomping. More brushing till he was still. One more notch. Repeat performance. I never got it as tight as it should be, but this is just conditioning. We will do a lot of this and in future posts, you can probably assume he has it in his mouth while training.

I put on the surcingle loosely to get him ready for future line driving lessons. As I suspected, he seemed to rather enjoy having it on. I am going to try the English saddle tomorrow since he seems more than ready. I wanted to do something familiar with him today so he could manage to have success while worrying about that bit, so I did his feet. He still is just a bit awkward on the off hind, but nearly farrier-ready. I then led him on his near side for go and whoa practice. He is doing well, but it is clear to me that as his growth spurt is happening, he is challenging/questioning his position in the ranks. He tests me. He may get a stud chain to help him understand that I am the boss mare around here. I rarely jerk it. I just lead, changing directions and stopping suddenly so it is up to the horse to pay attention so he doesn't get banged by the chain.

He was doing so well on whoa that I wanted to reward by stopping on a good note. Hunter nearly blew it. After I removed the bridle but not the halter and we entered the field where the rest of the mob was standing quietly tied, he wanted to charge off. This may have been due to a number of factors, but no matter the reason, he must always remain calm when in hand. We went through more whoa and go until he was getting it as well as he had before we entered the field.

Perhaps I am being too detailed in his blog, but I have already showed this site to a number of potential adopters. I write in the hopes that a family will get to know him through the writings and fall in love with the little charmer, just the way I did, and want to give him a forever home.

1 comment:

April said...

I think putting Jelly on the bit was a great idea! I would've licked it off the bit too..lol. You know what would really get people to fall in love with the little guy? Pictures! We need updated pictures of Hunter :)