31 January 2012
Using the Rope to Stop the Brace
Yoshi's been too lame to get the rope out. Not so today. I brought the 60' with me and turned Yoshi loose in the round pen. He stayed close, hooked on nice - until I started building a loop.
He took off to the left and I ignored him. Loop built, I kept it on the ground and watched him run. He was frantic. Geez, I hadn't even swung the rope yet and he was crazy. Since it was already that bad, I started swinging, but I completely ignored him.
He was stuck in some place inside himself and I wasn't going to join him there, so I concentrated on my work. I built and threw loops. Yoshi ran. More loops. More running. Two separate things.
Of a sudden, Yoshi stopped. So did I and I walked away, my back to him. I could hear him licking from the far side of the pen. I turned, leaned on the rails and watched him. I built a loop while I was waiting.
I stepped back to the center and swung again, facing away from Yoshi. He started up again, frantic. I just kept doing what I was doing. When he came out of his bad place, I stopped and walked away.
The next time I went to the center Yoshi was much calmer. He watched me build and swing. He moved off, but he didn't bulge his eyes. He still cantered, but he lowered his head and bounced his nose along the ground as he went.
About 90 minutes into it, I was able to walk up to Yoshi and put the loop over his head. There's a colt-knot near the end, so this rope won't tighten down and choke. I placed and removed the loop several times, not touching his ears, and then repeated the process touching his ears. He lowered his head and accepted.
Next, I asked him to walk and I rolled his hindquarters away from me in both directions. He was much softer doing this with the rope than in the halter. He's learned to brace hard against anything on his head. The rope around his neck was new to him and he never bothered to brace, because I never gave him anything to brace against.
Then I backed off a bit and threw a loop over his hindquarters. I brought this loop around behind him and asked him to switch eyes from the rear. He got this right away! He really liked it and blinked and licked for quite awhile afterwards. I repeated this procedure many times before I took him into the barn for a bath.