Monday, February 22, 2010

Continual Progress

Today was the fourth day in a row that I have worked with Sham. In those four days I've seen some excellent behavior, some running away, some discomfort, some attempts to please, and now some definite, happy submission to me, the boss.

Again Sham came to me in the pasture. He was much friendlier than usual, letting my feed him grain and rub all over his neck and withers. Usually he comes up happily, but he keeps a little distance and only puts his nose out to me. Today I got the rope around his neck and only a few moments later had his halter on. No fuss. We didn't even need the airlock.

In the arena he was great. His leading is improving every day. His yielding was amazing, too. I was able to turn into him for multiple circles and he was totally fine with it. He also showed me some new, low head carriage that I didn't really expect to get from him.

Since things were going so well I decided to add a few new things. We worked on really abrupt stops at varying points during our leading-he was awesome at this. We spent a few more minutes on backing-he was just so so at this. And we had a few interesting attempts at circle driving-he tried really hard at this. Robin says it was hilarious. I couldn't tell because he was always a little bit behind me, but apparently he was very timidly following me along and keeping close tabs on the stick that moved around his back and neck due to the fact that he kept lagging (it's supposed to stay at his withers). Perhaps we should film the next attempt.

After lots of demanding exercises (Sham was visibly tired, it certainly wasn't taxing physically, but we think his brain was working really hard), we brought him back to the pasture. He is getting so happy to hang out with us that he didn't even roll and trot off to the bale or the water tub. Instead he just hung out by the gate for more nose rubs and ear scratches.

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