We worked with Tex, of course. He made huge progress and we were able to create some fissures in the layers of emotional scar tissue he has layered over his true self. He uses indifference and reactivity to protect himself. He stands in a corner of his pasture or paddock and ignores people, and he startles at the slightest touch.
|The only way to get the alfalfa in that blue bucket, was to stick his head in the feed bin where I was sitting. I did lots of silly things.|
|Robin working with Tex|
Secondly, we are working on getting him to enthusiastically come to his name. All of Robin's horses come flying out of the back of their pastures when they hear their names. Tex knows his name and will amble over to me, but we want him to be thinking, "Hot dog! She's calling me! Here I come!" This was a tough one for Tex. There were many times that I went into the paddock, he ignored me, and I left without giving him anything. He started coming over more yesterday afternoon. Today, when we got home, I put him in the arena (rather than the boys pasture with Flash) -- so I am his only entertainment, at the moment. He was very enthusiastic about me this afternoon; he even went so far as to trot all the way across the arena when he saw me opening the gate. (talk about melting my heart).
In between sessions with Tex, Robin taught me the games that build the bond, and I was able to practice liberty skills using her horses. There are three components to establishing, and strengthening, the bond: draw, pause and push. I was able to experience all of them. I even worked on walking at liberty with Red, her Dutch warmblood. Each horse was different, and each taught me something that I can use with a member of our herd.
|Walking with Red at liberty|
There will be a shift in the posts on the this blog, I'm pretty sure. There is so much I want to do and I want to share it all with you. Lucy and Pistol have already had a lesson in "push," and Jackson and I worked on "pause."
The clinic was a game changer for me. -- if you are interested in learning how to work with horses as willing partners and participants, I highly recommend spending a few days at her ranch. She has horses that are star teachers and the setting -- on a hill above the vineyards in Sonoma, couldn't be better. Here's a link to her website: Liberty Horse Training.