Wait and than wait longer.
Unfortunately my old chrome book died when I was supposed to post week 2 updates. At first it wouldn't charge, so I waited overnight for it to charge. It finally charged, but than said something technical that after some research I knew it was time for a new chromebook. So I had to wait til I was in town to get a new one.
All this waiting goes right along with what I have been learning about the horses during these past 3 weeks, especially Tinsel. Wait and than wait longer. I did not anticipate the case study with her would be waiting for her to feel comfortable walking into the indoor, but that is what it has become and so much more. She is now comfortable walking in, but Diamond is not comfortable with her leaving.
It was at the week 2 mark that I could feel that Tinsel was going to walk right in with me and she did. It was a great moment. I also discovered that if I position myself just at her head, she will walk with me without stopping. Remember that Tinsel is a pro at freezing, so this is a wonderful place to discover. The other thing that happened is once she walked into the arena head down, when I put her back out to pasture she calmly walked through the gate. This has been another problem area for her. Often when we help a horse feel relaxed in one aspect it affects other areas.
I can see changes in her body, an overall softening. Now she is in a wonderful place to begin the other work to help her find a weight bearing posture. What I did not anticipate is the nervousness of Diamond when TInsel left. I could just bring Tinsel in and let Diamond figure it out, but I want more than that. I don't want Di to see me coming and think "Oh great, she's going to take my friend away"
What I have started doing is bringing Tinsel in and out of the arena. My plan is that she will learn that Tinsel will be right back and that she doesn't have to worry. When I bring Tinsel back out, I wait until Di is relaxed and eating her hay before bringing Tinsel in again. I'll be honest, I am not sure how long this will take. I see very slight changes in Di. We will be moving the horses to the larger pastures soon and I will have to assess how I am going to do this plan so that Di will be comfortable and relaxed when Tinsel leaves.
So with these two horses, the last 3 weeks have taught me to wait. Seeing Tinsel walk into the indoor with her head down and keeping her head down while in the indoor has been a huge success for her. I put little pressure on her and I'm saying little because even just standing at the indoor door is pressure to her even though I am not applying pressure to her halter. Allowing her to choose to walk in was amazing. Seeing her breath during this and think was also truly amazing. I realize things with Di are going to take a little longer and that is OK. Remember she lived alone for a long time. Having her friend leave even though there are other horses is quite tramatic for her.
Tinsel walking in to the indoor head down. Such a great feeling!
Unfortunately a very anxious Diamond when her friend leaves. Don't worry Diamond! She's coming right back out.
And onto Buster, one of my favorite geldings! Buster is easier to work with and no it's not because he's a gelding. Maybe that's part of it, but being a mare person I don't want to admit that :). Remember Buster could be crabby with getting saddled and for some reason, he just does not like winter. I've done a few magnawave sessions on him, used sure foot, ace wraps and of course in-hand work.
Overall he has been much calmer and has been carrying his head down more willing. So what does this mean. I did saddle him and wanted to slow it way down and wait for him to breath before even putting the pad on. He kept his head down most of the time and did not get "girthy" at all. I brought him over to the mounting block and again he kept his head down and was nice and relaxed.
This may or may not mean anything but my husband came out to the arena and said "who is that?" I said, "it's Buster." and he said "Oh, he looks different for some reason" Now my husband isn't a horse person, but he does live here and sees the horses on a daily basis, so I thought that was an interesting comment. This is the picture I took last night of him. If you compare it to the first picture of him from the first day, you can see a difference. Now we are only on week 3 with 3 days per week. My goal is to bring in horses and do this work 5-6 days a week, sometimes twice a day. Even with that being said a month is only a month. A body is a very complicated structure consisting of not only physical, but mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects.
The biggest take away I have so far is waiting for the horses and not being in a rush. Give them time to think through a task. They have no where to go, We are the ones who get rushed because we have busy lives. Waiting for Tinsel to walk into the indoor, I had to say she took a breath at the indoor so I am going to put her away now because I have to get dinner ready for my kids. What I didn't do is rush her into the indoor to get a task done because I was running out of time.
I have one week to go. Here is Buster standing in his three week posture.