Reclaiming Andi - day two

Next, we have her looking for the bucket and standing comfortably and eating. I move a few steps left or right or away every few bites, and within minutes, she's following me (the bucket) around.

The next step is the halter. She's already worn the halter and decided she didn't like it, so the goal we need to keep in mind with this is not only to get her to wear the halter but also to get her to want to wear the halter and to like wearing the halter.

Starting today, she has to wear the halter to get her grain. This is initially somewhat of a drawn-out process. I go in the stall with a bucket of grain and the halter and just hang out. She sees the bucket and wants to approach, but she doesn't want to approach the halter. I give her a few chances to go ahead and approach me, but she decides she'd rather not eat than wear the halter.

My next step is to go ahead and put it on her anyway. I don't want to traumatize or upset her in any way, but I'm going to firmly insist she needs to do this. I manage this by just walking her in the stall. (Remember this is a largish stall) I approach, and she walks off, but I continue to approach, slowly and quietly and easily. I don’t sneak up on her, which would increase her tension, but just approach her slowly, steadily and consistently. Eventually, she stops in a corner and lets me slip her halter on. At that point, I stand with her and let her eat the entire bucket of grain. Once she's done, I remove the halter.

This step is a little harder for her because she has to unlearn her dislike of the halter before she can learn to like it and want to wear it. This part of the routine takes about three days before she can be haltered easily. She will approach a person easily enough now but still doesn't want to be approached. I'm dealing with this by walking in with the bucket and halter, letting her approach me, slipping the halter on, and letting her eat.


Val said...

Whoo-hoo, sounds like you're making progress!
I noticed as I leaned across Moonie's back the other night after pitching hay, that he's a smidge taller than Sahara at not-quite-3-yrs-old... Time to get serious about starting his training - at this point all he knows is how to lead & load. I just hope he's as mellow as his mama & inherited NOTHING from Uncle Quig!

Becky Burkheart said...

Lead and load is good! And 3yo is the perfect age to start doing a little more with them. I don't guess I know this guy, but he sounds like he has a lot of potential!