Help with the Mana boy. What he knows, and what should he know? Help!
So since I am now able to be with my horses everyday where they are boarded, I have been working with Mana regularly again. There were somethings I had to reteach him as well as unteach him from my last boarding place.
I have gotten him through those things and am ready to move on to some stuff that is a little bit more difficult/"scary" for him.
When I first tied him to anything he tried to walk away until he felt the pressure, at which point, he moved back to where he was. Never had an issue with tying at all. Just an "oh, okay. This is how it is, I guess." reaction. (Which is how he has been for most things, bless him.)
The first and only time I had a big pull back/freak out moment came a couple months ago when I had him tied and was going to slip his new halter on over the one he was tied to. (Haltering him was one thing I had had to reteach. He's much better since then.) Deja decided that it was time to run full speed out of the paddock and around to the far edge of the pasture. This spooked him and then he wanted to follow her too.
He pulled back as hard as he could (I thought the halter would break) and stayed planted as hard back as he could for at least 30 seconds before he stepped forward again. Apparently he had learned his lesson and never did it again even when a similar situation occurred.
He has been such an easy boy. I have only so much training ability, so I don't know what I would have done if I had gotten a different personality in a foal!
I keep things very short. I show him what I want the first time, try to get it right (for the most part) just once, and then stop for the day. I find that, if I show him what I want, then let him think it over, the next time around, he's basically got it already and just needs to be refined.
So far, out of three horses, he's the one with the least issues! I'd like to keep it that way, but I want to teach him as much as I can myself before he gets sent to my trainer late this year to start saddle training since I'm having them go over EVERYTHING with him and refining what I've done already. The more he knows, and the better he knows it, the less time he spends with the trainer, and less money that could be put to better use in feed than teaching stuff I could teach him.
This is what he can do now:
-Halter and lead
-Pick up and hold with no fuss all four feet
-Can be touched anywhere with hands
-good with face being touched (even eyes being covered and getting in his ears)
-Takes wormer fine
-Moves any part of his body with a little pressure from my fingers
-backs by pressure on halter as far as you want
-backs by pressure on chest with or without voice command
-respects personal space and never steps on or into people
-Stops when I stop while leading
-Knows "woah" and will stop the majority of the time
-used to fly spray (haven't done it since he was a few months old since Deja is gone-zo if she hears a spray bottle, I just wipe it on.)
-Fine with being wiped everywhere with a cloth and flyspray
-Trailered perfectly once with no prior training, just needed a butt rope to keep him going the right way (would practice, but have no access to trailer :? )
Does this sound like an age appropriate list of things he should know?
What else would you suggest?
I want to/am planning to teach him :
-Cross tie (though I never use them, i'd like him to know how)
-hobbling (again, never use it, but would be nice)
-general scary things (cones, tarps, fluttery things, etc...)
-Maybe teach him to take a bit (won't need it for a while, but good to have him know it...)
-Girthing (just need to get a surcingle)
-Come to me by a certain noise or call (like a whistle maybe)
I know I have been slacking, but I am trying to catch up now. I totally wasn't prepared for a foal and so was not prepared at the time, so progress was slow.
He has had LOTS of exposure to big loud noises and such and they really haven't bothered him at all. He is low in the herd, so I know he is basing his reactions on what the higher ups in the herd do, which is why I am glad that Deja and Thelma are at least very spook proof. Chainsaws right next to their paddock didn't have them running, no, they were standing there at the fence waiting for treats. Truck pulling into pasture with trailer and round bail on it? "Lets go investigate!", Dogs barking in your face? Lick it!
I am planning on putting down a tarp and feeding their grain on that from now on.
Sorry for this being sooo long, but it is my first baby by myself, so I just want to make sure I am getting him a good start!
Thoughts and suggestions are welcomed.
Cookies or sweet yummy thing of your choice if you got through that!
Do you have access to any other kinds of animals? One of the things I've felt so blessed about with Lacey is that animals, no matter what kind, hardly ever scare her. Even animals that run at her (like a GIANT woolly sheep) don't phase her. Also, dogs. Lacey's fine with calm dogs and seriously aggressive dogs, but excited jumping dogs scare the beejeebuz out of her. I don't know why she doesn't mind "dangerous" dogs while probably safe dogs scare her, but she's an Arab! Who knows what they're thinking. :P
At the camp I work at during the summer, so many of the horses go absolutely crazy when they see a deer (and deer are very common around here) and that can be get really dangerous when they all start trying to get away from the deer.
But anyway, being "animal proof" could be really helpful.
ETA- I think it sounds like you've given Mana a really good foundation. I mean, I have zero experience with youngsters, but his knowledge sounds good to me!
He was pastured with a donkey since birth until June, and their goat would constantly wander into the pasture and try to steal food, they also had free range chickens and ducks that would come into the pastures and pick bugs from the poop. :D Their cat would wander across the pasture to get to the alfalfa field behind it and the place they are at now is crawling with cats. He's also had experience with bunnies and deer so he is good with all sorts of wildlife. Thank goodness.
Where I am now, their dog Ellie (Nice big dog), will come out and start running around and trying to play with them like a dog, but whenever someone starts running around the pasture, that means it's RACE TIME! And the horses take off.
She barks in their faces and everything, but I guess they know she isn't serious because they just stare at her.
Actually, I undersold that a bit. Not only is Mana good with chickens...he kind of is obsessed with them. He puts his head real low and pricks his ears and follows them all around until they get so creeped out that they run away! I really have to get it on film one day. It's hilarious.
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