I hope this is the last bit of snow we'll see for a while!
During Flash's first week here, we've been working on Approach & Retreat to Catch, Round Penning, Desensitizing to the Lead Rope & Stick & String, Yielding the Hindquarters, Yielding the Forequarters, Flexing, & Lunging Stage 1.
Helping him become more at ease with being touched & approached may be our biggest hurdle. It seems to be the human element that really bothers him. He hasn't been bothered by any of the work I've done with the other horses near him as I thought he might. I've been able to leave him in his pen while I pull the wheelbarrow up & clean it out; he quietly stays out of my way. Aside from a little initial worry as I tossed the lead rope around his hind legs, he stood great as I tossed the lead rope & stick & string around his body & slapped the ground next to him with some energy. However, as soon as I go to approach or touch him, he goes on high alert & wants nothing to do with it. I don't feel as if it's a "giving the finger" thing, but instead, a fear thing. Fortunately, he's never given me the impression that he would go into fight mode when he gets worried & try to kick. A lot of our work will be based on growing his confidence in being approached/touched.
Aside from that, he's got some good things going for him. While round penning, he offers to turn in & face without having to be asked. He's not very worried about the desensitizing exercises & seems to have a little foundation in lunging as he travels around nicely while keeping slack in the lead rope. He's also made a notable improvement with Yielding the HQ. Initially, he was pretty tense. Once he loosened up & began stepping underneath himself, he had some great releases (licking & chewing, shaking his head, yawning, etc.). Flexing started out a bit rough wanting to move his feet, but we saw a nice change by the end of the session to where he would flex around laterally, touching his side with very little pressure on the lead rope.
While we're only a week in, I see the potential in him. He wants to get along & be quiet once he understands what's being asked of him. Building his confidence will be key as we get into the meat & potatoes of the groundwork next week.
Next week, we'll begin working on Leading by the Feet & Laying Down. I foresee this being a huge benefit to Flash, both physically & mentally. We'll also continue to progress through several other groundwork exercises as we continue to build upon his confidence.
- Lexy Nuesch
Next week's update will be posted on Friday.
I do my best to get these updates posted in a timely manner, but it's not uncommon for me to be outside until after dark, depending on the weather, my schedule, & who gets worked when so updates will sometimes be posted quite late in the evening. Don't be alarmed if you don't see your update right away. In rare cases, I may have to push them until the next morning, but I'll reach out & let you know if so.