Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Panama's first training session

Panama had his first training session this morning!

I arrived at the stables about 45 minutes early. I'd wanted to give him a bath — he was caked with mud when I arrived yesterday evening, but I hadn't had a chance to get it off — but I ran out of time, so instead I just curried and brushed him twice. I also made sure that I mucked out his stall before the training session, guessing (correctly) that I wouldn't want to afterward.

I was very pleased with both the trainer and the amount of progress she made. She picked up all four of Panama's feet, and I immediately noticed that she had a better way of doing it than I did — a way that enabled her to hold onto his foot better, and still have one hand free to pick it out as necessary. In fact, we picked out all four feet — she did two while I watched, since it's been about 15 years since I've picked out a horse's foot, and then I did the other two.

She also did a few other things — making him walk and halt, tying him and having him stand while she groomed him just a little bit, etc. Then she took him out into the pasture and showed me how to lunge him.

For the most part, Panama behaved decently. The trainer commented that he is smart, because he caught on to things fairly quickly. However, there came a point where he'd had enough, and she had to deal with his stubborn streak.

Overall, though, I think it went quite well. The trainer did say that from what I had told her, she expected him to be much worse than he was. Others have said that, too, or shown surprise that he's not mean. That always amuses me, because I never describe him as mean — just as untrained and a little skittish from being a baby and a rescue.

However, I have to say that I think Panama has already come a long ways since he first arrived about a month ago. He has clearly come to trust me almost completely, and is much less spooky and wild than he was when he arrived. With the added help of a trainer, I think he'll be quite well-behaved in no time.

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