An *exciting* afternoon for Ace!

This striking 12 year old paint gelding was a bucking stock stallion for all of his life until a couple of days ago. He is now on the road to recovery and trust as he learns that not all humans are bad!

An *exciting* afternoon for Ace!

Postby Juliane on Mon Jun 19, 2006 10:18 pm

Since Ace was feeling so spunky this morning, I felt it was a sign that he was ready for some more one on one time together. So, this afternoon I spent a few hours with him. My first item on the agenda was getting the lead rope attached to his halter.

My plan for going about this was sitting on a chair in the middle of the round pen, with a small amount of grain in a rubber pan on my lap, with the lead rope inside the pan. He immediately came up to me and asked for some grain. I reached out to scratch his shoulder, and though he involuntarily jerked in reaction, he quickly settled. As I encouraged him to take a bite of grain, I reached out and pet his cheek. He didn't jump back as he typically does, so I tried it a few more times, even playing with the halter. He was perfectly fine. So, with my fingers on his halter, asking him to keep his head near me, I slowly and quietly attached his lead rope. No fear, no snorting, nothing. :) I was so happy and relieved. It really set a great temperament for the evening!

With his lead rope attached, I decided to brush him down. He was filthy dirty and enjoyed his full body rub down. He was *much* more relaxed tonight than he's ever been before, letting me brush his entire body!

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After brushing him, I played with his mouth some. I stuck my fingers in his mouth, playing with his tongue, teeth, lips, etc. :) He is very sensitive to touch on his muzzle, but tolerates touch every where else pretty well.

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We worked on leading for a while. Ace is willing to follow me, but not yet ready to walk by my side. His 'safety bubble' is still pretty large. While we led all around the round pen, he stayed about 5 feet behind me. His steps were slow and cautious, but always willing :)

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My chair was still in the round pen, so I decided to see what he would do if I stood on it. He was pretty nervous and I was hard-pressed to get him close enough to me to touch him while I was on it. However, even though he was nervous, he didn't explode, panic or run away. He was just on "red alert" :P

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Since he was being so good and easy going about everything I introduced to him, I decided to work on picking up his feet. He was really good about picking up both front feet, though you could tell he was pretty worried. What I love about Ace is how hard he tries to please!

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I was starting to run out of things to play with, so I had my daughter go get one of the blue tarps. I introduced it to Ace, while it was folded up. He didn't like it much, but allowed it in his "bubble". However, when I touched him with it, he about jumped out of his skin :P We'll have to go back to that one! LOL

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I unfolded the tarp and decided to see if he'd walk on it. Hmmph! He had no fear of it on the ground, and didn't take much, if any, encouragement to walk on the tarp. However, instead of walking over it, he took a few steps onto it, then proceeded to paw at it. It was quite hilarious. It totally seemed to me like he was playing :)

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I was really happy with how comfortable he was becoming with me being in his bubble. He typically is not comfortable with me being around him except for his left shoulder. After he'd bunched up the tarp into a big mess, I walked behind him at his right hindquarters and bent over to straighten out the tarp. He stood quietly and calmly, though watched me closely :)

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The last thing we worked on tonight was putting on and taking off his halter. I didn't want to risk taking his halter off, so I played with putting a rope halter on, on top of his existing one. His first reaction was sticking his nose as high in the air as possible. He wasn't really scared of the halter, so much as he just really didn't want his muzzle touched. Once I realized it was his muzzle that was the issue, I was able to easily slip the noseband over his nose. We did this half a dozen times successfully.

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Tonight was incredibly successful with Ace :) I am SO proud of him! I think maybe one more session like this and he will be ready to go for a walk outside his round pen :shock:

I'm so proud of him!!!
Feel the Spirit, Keep on Riding!
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Juliane
 
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Postby kabri on Tue Jun 20, 2006 9:16 am

Wow, that is so incredible Julianne!!! I wonder if he would like a toy in his pen since he was so playful with the tarp? I'm so happy to see him coming out of his shell, way to go!
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