New beginnings

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!

New beginnings

Postby Juliane on Fri Jun 23, 2006 9:14 pm

Before feeding tonight, I decided to play with Ace. I started crouching down and approaching him, taunting him with "I'm going to get you!". The first few times, he tossed his head and lurched into the air as he leaped to get away from me, clearly enjoying the game. I would stand up from my crouching position and when he would stop, I would quicly back up. Then, we'd start all over again. After a few rounds, he started acting like he didn't understand and was worried. When I saw the change in his body language, I would stop, stand still and wait until he stopped. Then I would slowly approach until I was able to stand next to him. I'd scratch him for a few minutes before backing off again. Then, we'd start all over again. Even though I knew he was getting worried at times, I wanted him to know that even the scary things to him weren't bad.

After playing for 15-20 minutes, I approached for some final bonding. As I stood there scratching his side, back, shoulders and withers, I decided to see if I could approach his upper neck and ultimately, his head and halter. The first attempt ended in him scooting away in fear. However, when I tried again, I was able to scratch his chin and cheek. I slowly took hold of his halter. Once he realized I had his halter, he scooted back a step or two, snorting, eyes wide. I went with him, as slowly and nonchalantly as possible, all the while keeping my hand on his halter. I didn't have a lead rope, which is usually how I catch him. I've never grabbed his halter with my hands, so this was a new experience for him.

Once I had his halter and he was standing calmly, I petted him some more until he was at an 'ecstasy' moment, neck drooping and he enjoyed the sensation. Once he was that relaxed, I quickly and quietly moved away.

Even though I have been doing alot of ground work with him lately that has really strengthened our bond and trust, tonight's small sign gave me alot of encouragement. We really are taking steps in the right direction!

My tentative goal at this time is to have him ready to carry a rider by August 1st, and ready to start attending fall drill practices in mid-September. I know those are lofty goals and it's ok if we aren't able to achieve them, but it is good to have something to work towards!

Wish us luck!
Feel the Spirit, Keep on Riding!
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Juliane
 
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Location: Carnation, WA

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