Foal Training Diary: Week 4

Things are progressing well with Ellie.  She now will come up and look for a scratch instead of me having to catch her, hold and then rub her down.  She is starting to figure out that halter pressure on the poll means move forward and not backwards or rearing.  She also will pick up all 4 feet and let me hold them and tap on them.

This past weekend I decided it was time for Ellie’s first trail experience.  On Saturday I lead Cotton with Ellie running free down the lane and to the back corn fields and finally to the creek.  Cotton loves water and splashed right in.  Ellie wasn’t so sure and tiptoed around the muddy bank for a little bit before taking her first step into the water.  She eventually went all the way in, took a drink and splashed around.  I did the sending exercise and asked Cotton to go in and out of the water with Ellie following close by her side to get used to entering the water.

On Sunday I decided to ride Cotton with Ellie following to the creek.  I ran into a few unexpected events along the way.Moriesian

  1. Cotton is a bad mom and will not call to her foal. So when the filly back at the barn called out to Ellie I had one freaked out foal.  She ran and ran and ran until she practically collapsed trying to get back to the barn.  Cotton just stood there chillin’ out totally oblivious to the fact her filly was in distress.
  2. Cotton had not been ridden in 4 months.  Just as we got to the creek a turkey flew out of the bush and I had one freaked out mount.  TGIF one rein stops!  I managed to spin her down and flex both sides for 2-3 minutes until I felt her relax. 

We eventually made it to the creek and Ellie did not hesitate walking into the water this time.  She sloshed right in and trotted around and took a long drink.  I’m sure the cool spring water felt good after all that running she did earlier.

Unfortunately the Turkey incident still had Cotton on edge and she decided she was done with the whole trail riding thing and I ended up having to deal with a rearing and bucking horse all the way home.  Of course that was not something I was going to tolerate and it meant another 45 minute lesson on fundamentals.

Monday I spent more time working with Cotton on desensitizing and Ellie was more than happy to play along.  I was using a stick with a plastic bag on the end for a while and eventually threw it off to the side. Out of the corner of my eye I watched Ellie come over to investigate the bag.  She played the game of touching it and then running away and then come back and touch it again.  Eventually she got brave enough to pick it up and run off with it! Oh I wish I had my camera for that one.  She looked like a cheerleader prancing around with it in her mouth.

Comments are closed.