Keeping a 2yo's attention?
My trainer is having me work with her "babies" (they're 2, 3 and 5) - and I decided to start on the ground. I LOVE The 7 games by Parelli. I incorporate them in nearly every thing I do.
Anyways, The 5yo knows 4 of the games, and listens well. The 3yo is learning, and is very easy to work with. The 2yo, Moon, is not like the other two. He is very head shy, spooky, and anxious. I worked with him for a few minutes yesterday.. It was pretty unsuccessful.
I first tried to catch him (he's a hard catch because he's head shy.) - but stupid me forgot he's never worn a rope halter. I got it on his face - when I tied the knot, I applied a tiny pressure. He FLIPPED, the halter untied and slipped off his face. Luckily, Moon is friendly and came back.. But would not let me near his face. I caught his brother, Chester (3yo) - haltered him, and Moon followed us into a smaller pasture. I re-haltered Moon and took him to the round pen. On the way to the pen, he kept spooking. In the barn, by the trailers, at leaves on the ground.. He was a mess. I stayed calm and got him in the pen, reassuring him it was okay. I showed him my carrot stick. He smelled it, and let me touch his back with it. After a few tries, he would let me touch him all over, but kicked when I touched his legs.
After three minutes his attention was gone. I tried making him back up by shaking the rope. He just walked in anxious circles, not knowing what I wanted. I tried 4 or 5 more times. He still didn't understand. So I just kept steady pressure on the halter until he backed up. After a few times of that.. Attention was gone. I couldn't even move on to the next game. I knew I wasn't going to get his attention back. So I walked him over some raised ground poles and put him back in his pasture.
I know young horses take patience, but I know I can get through more than a 15 minute session. He didn't even learn anything. I'm going back tomorrow to try again, but should I do anything different? I kept my cool and tried to end on a good note.