"Don't touch me!"

12 year old BLM mustang, rescued off the Yakima Feedlot in December 2005. Entered training on 4/26/06

"Don't touch me!"

Postby Juliane on Sat Apr 29, 2006 9:17 pm

LOL Margie is hilarious. She is SUCH a mare. She is the strangest mixture of sweetness, hopefulness, loving, crabby, angry, standoffish, disrespectful, fearful, longing, and the list just goes on and on :P

Today we had a heck of a rainy day - it started out nice, but then it just down-poured for about 4-6 hours. Needless to say, I didn't do much with Margie. This evening, before I fed dinner, I decided to pull her out and work with her as I brushed her down. I wanted to work on being able to pick up all 4 feet without her throwing a fit.

When my farrier, Dan, was here the other day, Margie would strike out very forcefully whenever he tried to touch her past her flank. In the end, we were unable to get her hind feet trimmed, but Dan did work on "desensitizing" her by taping his glove to a tree branch and rubbing it up and down, inside and out, of both hind legs. He didn't proceed to try picking them up.

Tonight, I tied her up, brushed her down and spent some time loving on her. I have never seen a horse fight so much against being loved. When I worked with a rescue in the past, Kermit, she fought against the love, but it was out of fear. Margie doesn't really exhibit fear, but more distaste to my loving touch. Every once in a while, I can see her eyes soften, her head lower, her top lip droop and hear her sigh as she relaxes. But within a few seconds, her wall is back up and she's refusing to let herself enjoy the attention.

I went on to clean her feet. She picked up her front right foot fine and let me clean it out. She was very good. No arguing, no frustration. She was very patient. Then, I moved to her right hind. The moment my hand brushed her flank, her tail started swishing very fast and she pinned her ears. I vocally corrected her and continued to stand there, lightly petting her flank and the areas around it until she stopped giving me an angry face and her tail stopped swishing.

Then, I started to run my hand down her leg and she immediately picked it up in a warning as she prepared to strike. Again, I very vocally (loud, growly voice) told her NO! When I tried again, she let me rub my hand up and down her hind leg, but I could tell she was still very unhappy with it. So, I grabbed a large, soft cotton lead rope and slipped it around her fetlock of her hind foot. Then, I applied pressure on the rope as I asked her to lift her foot. This worked really well! She let me pick up her foot with the rope a dozen or so times. I gave her tons of praise and then started using my hand to request that she lift her foot, in conjunction with the rope. She did great. I was able to clean out her hoof.

I used this same method on the other hoof as well. She did really great, but she tends to run out of patience very quickly. She also has a bad habit of moving into your space. I still haven't figured out if it's a completely absentminded maneuver, or if she's being aggressive. However, she's so big, it's intimidating to see her hind end swinging your way. We had a few discussions about this as well.

The good thing about Margie is that she's easy to intimidate. I never touched her at all when she became aggressive. But I did become loud, large and angry. I would say NO as loudly as I could (without screaming) in a very deep voice and sometimes, if she was swinging her butt at me, I'd wave my arms towards her as if shooing away a fly. This worked wonders. By the end of the night, she was standing quietly, not moving into my space :)

I really enjoy working with this mare. She's easy and a challenge all rolled up into one package. I look forward to gaining her respect and trust as well as partnership. However, I also hope that whatever I gain with her will be easily passed on to her next owner :)

Here she is tonight:

Feel the Spirit, Keep on Riding!
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Postby ptownevt on Sun Apr 30, 2006 6:27 am

My goodness, this mare is beautiful! I liked her the first picture I saw of her on the lot. What a powerhouse. She'll be a real athlete and probably like it, when she learns to cooperate with her human partner.

I wonder how many of these horses end up at the feedlot for the same reason a lot of dogs end up at the pound... lack of training/attention and out of control?

No act of compassion is ever wasted, no matter how small.
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Postby Tockita on Sun Apr 30, 2006 6:40 am

Feet can be a huge issue with mustangs. It requires so much trust!
She sounds like a serious minded mare like my Symphony. They do demure to correction well once they accept you as a leader.

I think I've got her brand dechiphered, and figured out her signalment key. I went with 1 face whorl and no whilte on her legs. I'll call BLM tomorrow and see if they can give me capture date, and HMA.
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Postby LorsaDoon on Sun Apr 30, 2006 3:10 pm

Juliane, one of the things I enjoy about your posts is the picture you paint for everyone about the work you do with the horses. It is almost like we are there watching you! I guess we are all just a bunch of peeping toms. :oops:
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Postby LindaB on Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:18 pm

LorsaDoon I totally know what you mean! I've been watching Juliane and reading her posts since December when a friend of mine adopted Dallas (Trio). I was actually starting to feel kind of like a stalker! :wink:
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Postby Juliane on Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:07 pm

Hey, I enjoy my viewers. It's good to have people to bounce ideas off of, thoughts on horses' training and progress, etc. I often don't see the whole picture when I'm the one handling the horses. It's incredibly helpful to hear your ideas, and most of all, your support. Sometimes I might get frustrated or think I'm not progressing in the way that I should with a horse, and when you all pat me on the back, I'm able to keep my chin up and keep going :)

So, please keep watching :) It's very appreciated, and needed. I am also looking into setting up a live streaming camera pointed at the round pen. I'm just looking for a second hand computer for cheap or free to set up. It's not fair to steal my daughter's computer again like I did for "KermitCam" :P

Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts and support :)
Feel the Spirit, Keep on Riding!
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