Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fuzzy Wuzzy Argo and Other Rambling Tails

Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know that so it goes on flying anyway. ~Mary Kay Ash

Well the weather just stinks, especially when you have a horse that lives outside 24/7. I wish I would have progressed to the point with Argo that he would be in the big barn so I could play with him in the indoor, but we work with what we got.

Time with Argo has been extremely limited due to bitter cold and working to keep him comfortable with plenty of hay and non-frozen water in his tub. I snapped a few pictures though during the sub zero temps. Sorry for the blurriness, it was cold and I had to take my gloves off to run the camera.

In other news with Argo though:

I have been working on getting that dang snap off of his halter. He is getting much more comfortable with the abominable snowman hands touching his cheeks, jaw and forehead. We have practiced with me holding the snap in my hand. The first 72 times he would back up the moment he felt my hand around the snap. He slowly became comfortable with it just resting in my hand while I stroked his cheek with my other hand. We are now up to him feeling slight pressure when I hold the snap. The first time he felt it, he quickly stepped backwards. I make sure he always has an escape from me. He feels safer and more confident in our sessions when he does not feel trapped. He now will hang out with me while I gently grasp the snap and hold it, so for now the snap remains.

What amazes me during our little sessions is the way he watches me with his eyes. I try not to stare into them, but it is so hard not to watch those huge windows to his soul. Each time I am with him, I feel another thin layer peel off of him. Little by little he learns to trust me a little more. As I stroke his forehead, I am amazed by the sensitivity of Argo. Just a breath from me and he reacts, not in a jumpy way, but I can feel his skin underneath my hand tighten and then relax. I have never been around a horse that is as sensitive as him. I now understand why my friend’s mare, Mystic does not like a stiff brush used on her. I always felt it was the princess in her, but now I realize it is her sensitive nature.

I began touching the area where his neck ties into his shoulder with a crop. This was quite comical to watch the first few times. Now though he has pretty much gotten used to it, almost to the point where I think he enjoys the scratching now. He is more protective of his left side than his right, so we start with the bad side and when he allows me to touch his left side, and then he gets his much deserved treat. He has quickly figured out that if he works with me, he gets rewarded, and the longer he holds out, the longer I will pester him. He is an extremely quick learner when you think about it. 17 years in the wild and then plopped in my lap, that’s a lot to overcome and he has been a shining example of how special the Kiger Mustang is. I’m not sure if I will ever adopt another one, but I’m not, not saying that I wouldn’t adopt one in the future.
I can’t wait till I can curry that coat of his and look at that tail, it will be so gorgeous when it gets a proper brushing, his mane is in wind knots right now, but we will get there, we have nothing but time.

Argo also has been getting more used to my dogs. My dogs normally in the past, always followed me into the stallion paddock, but since Argo arrived, they have not gone past the fence line. I worried he would be alarmed, scared, charge them, etc..., if they ended up in the paddock. I think they sense what could possibly happen and are respectful to Argo. That does not keep them from doing their antics outside the paddock though, which always gets quite the snort and blow from Argo.

I mean come on, what would you think if you had that charging out of the barn towards you at full tilt with the food lady and her red wheel barrow?


Linda said...

What a fatty--he's eating well this winter, I see. :):) Beautiful boy!

That's very interesting what you said about feeling "trapped". This is one of the major differences I've found between domestic born and wild born.

The wild ones will kill themselves to escape feeling trapped. The domestics can be worked through it a little better, I think.

My farrier is wonderful, but he did make that one thing an issue--and another farrier recommended I do the same thing--so two farriers recommended I have Beautiful trimmed in a 12x12 stall. This may work for domestic colts, but I knew it would fry her mind--I requested we be in the larger paddock.

Also, what you said about the sensitivity--Beautiful was also very sensitive to touch--hyper-sensitive--but now she's more relaxed and let's me curry her pretty aggressively.

Sorry you have so much snow. Winter is a tough time to gentle a Mustang!! Keep it up, Spring's almost here. :) Yay!

Grey Horse Matters said...

You'll get to that snap eventually. Argo is just a wonderful boy and little by little it seems he trusts you more each time you work with him. Glad you got this guy and are working with him at his pace. The weather makes it so much harder but Spring is around the corner. I keep saying that even if I don't believe it.

SkyBar Farm said...

Linda ~ yea he is a bit of a piggy. :)Thank you.

I totally agree with you on being in a larger space with Beautiful to trim her feet. I realized fairly quickly that the more space I give Argo the more he wants to be with me. If I give him an out he does not feel like he needs to use it, but he is more relaxed knowing it is an option.

Grey Horse Matters ~ Yes, the snap will come eventually. I'm really glad I got him too. At first I thought I bit off more than I could handle, but Argo has been a fantastic teacher. I wish spring would come sooner too. I am just about done with winter.

Angela said...

How wonderful you and Argo are progressing....albeit at Argo's pace but that is what he needs. I have a friend who is an EMM trainer who says every time she trains a mustang she is reminded on how to be patient....And I TOTALLY understand about those incredibly velveety eyes....Amazing, aren't they...Hope your weather gets better....COME ON SPRING!