Monday, September 10, 2007

Panama's progress

Panama is doing well in his new home. He's still a little jittery, but he is not panicked, so I have started working with him a little bit.

Over the weekend, I took Panama out of his stall and walked him around a little. This picture was taken on Saturday in the round pen (which is evidently never used, judging by the height of the weeds in there).

Yesterday I took Panama into the arena and set him loose. After giving him a chance to get used to his new surroundings, I worked with him a little bit using a mixture of ground training techniques. By combining training suggestions from Meredith Manor and Monty Roberts, I started teaching Panama not only to focus his attention on me and respect my presence a little more, but also to follow me around in the arena. All in all, it was a good start.

I was a little worried about how I was going to get his halter on him by myself, as so far I have needed treats and an extra pair of hands every time. This morning was my first time doing it all by myself. I had an inspiration, though: Instead of holding the halter with one hand and the treat with the other, or trying to draw the halter over his nose before he could pull away, I stood quietly with the halter held out in both hands and my head down, using much the same body language as I had used in the arena the previous day. Panama took a long time sniffing the halter, and after a couple of moments I drew it up over his nose -- and he didn't try to pull away at all. It was a huge success for both of us: me because I am learning how to communicate with him better, and Panama because he is learning to accept certain expectations of domestic horses.

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