Friday, March 26, 2010

The Game Continues

And on Tuesday Sham scored his first point. We were 45 minutes into a rather frustrating round of the game when things started to look better. I could see he was fatigued, and from a dozen feet off he put his head down and calmly walked right towards me. I let him sniff around me and then slowly started to rub his face with the halter (he doesn't love the halter wrapped around his face, but he does love these kinds of face scratches). I must have made a move or done something he didn't like, though, because he quickly turned his head to the side and bit my right forearm.

Not hard, but hard enough to leave a little purple circle and a little pain. He had been giving these testing nips to me all day. But none of them actually touched me until this one. On some level he must have known this wasn't a good idea, because before I could respond with a smack to the face he took off.

I was frustrated enough that afternoon that I had already resigned myself to the fact that I might not catch him (which is a faux pas in the game, one must always succeed, that is how it works). But I really couldn't let the score end with Sham 1, Brian 0. So I sauntered after him.

And he was not that happy about it. So he went to the bales to eat and ignore me. The bales present the biggest obstacle for me in the game, but I was a little angry about the bite and mustered some resolve to get close to him and move him. I made sure to move slowly and in a non-threatening manner, though. But Sham noticed. He started pinning his ears at me. Not a good sign. Then when he moved to bite again I smacked him in the face with the halter. He turned back to the bale to think about that one for a second. Then he tried it again.

I didn't even have time to hit him. I just raised my left hand and Sham about jumped out of his skin. He turned away from me, gave Leonard a huge bite on the back, and then galloped to the other side of the pasture. I counted the score as Sham 1, Brian 1 and decided to leave it at that.

Robin has been having much better success with Sham than me. She had a positive day on Monday, and another fairly positive day on Wednesday. On Thursday we both had the afternoon off and we thought it might be best if I watched Robin do her thing and see what I could learn.

More than once I was happy to be on the other side of the fence. There was lots of frisky horse running from the entire herd. And at one point Sham popped his hind end a little closer to my wife than I found comfortable. But she was unflustered by it. She is the most patient and thorough trainer in the state of Iowa. Perhaps I'm biased, but no one has yet shown me they are better.

Thursday's version of the game was the longest yet, 80 minutes to get the halter on. And after that Robin had to spend many more minutes to get his feet to move forward. But the day ended positively. She has a nice write up about it, including some not-highly-exciting video.

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