Well, it's official. I've only had him for exactlyl 24 hours now and I'm in love xD
This guy is just blowing me away! With what I'd heard about him and the that I saw of him the first time when I initially met him, I expected to have a bit of a wild horse on my hands. I was fully prepared to be dealing with a horse that would run around, be all anxious and nervous, and not let me near him when loose. And I gotta say, he's pretty much the exact opposite of that. Morning
I headed out to feed him and gave myself enough time that I'd be able to hang out with him for 45 mins to an hour before I'd have to head to work. Well, he came over to greet me by the fence, though when I entered the pen, he didn't really want to be touched initially. So I just stood by the fence and let him come to me, rather than me chase him which is something new to him as in the past, it's always been that people have gone after him. But he seems to naturally be very curious, so after standing on his own for a bit, he started to walk over and stretched out his neck. I lifted my hand a bit and he bumped his nose on my hand and sniffed and then just stood next to me.
By the time I left, I was able to rub his face and his neck. Though I noticed that every time I'd go to touch his him, he'd tense up. But as soon as I actually made contact and simply gently pet him, he'd relax and lower his head again. I took my time though, and didn't push the contact on him. He enjoyed it when I pet him, even found a spot or two that made him want to stretch out his head and wiggle his top lip a little lol. It was just the few seconds before my hand would make contact with him that he'd tense up at. So i'm kind of wondering what's happened that would make him tense up at the thought of a touch. Evening
He greeted me again when he saw him coming, though he actually came over sooner than he had in the morning. I think he's starting to recognize me. Once in the pen, I was able to touch and rub his forehead without an issue. I walked around his pen and he'd follow me at times. And if I walked in a circle around him, he'd pivot to make sure both eyes were on me the whole time. If I moved off somewhere and stood there, then he'd walk over and touch my arm or my back lightly with his nose, keeping his head lowered and relaxed.
At one point, when I was asking him to follow me, he did for half a circle, and then he decided something at the fence line was more interesting and wandered off. So I gave one soft cluck and made a small motion with hands to get him moving away. He instantly trotted off, so I released the pressure and as I started to turn, he turned a little and looked at me. Keeping this going, I reached out hand as though grabbing an invisible lead rope, and continued to move in my small circle until my back was to him and I started to slowly walk away. Well, as soon as I'd reached out to him and walked away, he started following. And to give you a better picture of this, when I reached out to him for a moment like that, he was a good 8 - 10 feet away from. After that, he remained much more aware of me and followed me much better.
Things didn't stop there.
I went on and worked on rubbing his neck again and he even relaxed so much he was on the verge of dozing off, so then I worked on running my hands along his shoulders, back, and rump. He stood there nicely for me the whole time. With him doing so well with this, I decided it was time to bring in the halter and lead rope since he seemed to be ready. So I grabbed them, and held them in my left hand. He became a little more nervous again, so I just continued to pet him with my right hand since the halter wasn't in it. It took him a little bit to relax with that, but once he did, I worked it up so that he sniffed the halter. At first, as soon as I brought the halter closer, he'd start backing up. So I just held it out a little and he came over to sniff it and wiggle his lip over it. Since he did good with that, I walked away. Well, he decided to follow, so we repeated this little game of catch the halter until I was able to pet his forehead while holding the halter in the same hand.
We continued to slowly build things up this way until I was able to touch his neck with the halter. This was the big step as he resisted this a bit more, but the biggest reaction he had was just backing up and lifting his head a bit. No giraffe impressions with lifting his head though, and his backing up wasn't even all that fast. I feel like he expected me to just "pounce" on him so to speak to get the halter on, but since I just walked with him as calm as could be and not adding any extra pressure, he in turn, didn't freak out any more than that. And once he stood still for a few seconds, I walked away.
We did a lot of this, but eventually it got the point I could pet either side of his head and neck with the halter. Then I moved to wrapping the string around his neck and rubbing him with it like that and walking off. once it got to the point that he was fine with that, I took the next step forward and actually put the halter on him. With the halter on, I made sure to give him a lot of praise and then take it off again and give him a bit of a break. I was able to halter him again a few minutes later and have that go over even better and even led him around a bit in the pen. He didn't do great with following, but he wasn't awful either. But i kept the walking to a minnimum as I didn't want to push things too far for our first day. So after maybe a minute of doing a little bit of walking, I took the halter off again. I was quite pleased and happy when he actually stayed by me even when I took the halter off.
For the last few minutes I was there, I just stood with him. He seemed to want some contact, so I gently rested my hand on his face. He leaned into my hand and I closed my eyes, just relaxing in the calm, quiet moment. I could physically feel some of my anxiety and such from the day just fall away. I could feel his head drooping and him almost fully leaning his head right into my hand. When I opened my eyes and looked at him, he was practically asleep with how calm he was. It was really quite the experience to feel his calm and mine just kind of flowing together. It may sound silly or crazy, but it was a really nice bonding moment. Other
I'm failing on my name hunt for him. I tried a few names, but none are working. I've figured he needs a good, strong, noble type of name. But it sure is hard finding one that suits him. Hopefully it doesn't take too much longer until i get one picked out. Also I got him a red halter, as the store was out of other colors unless I wanted to go with nylon one, then I could have any color of the rainbow lol. But i think red looks rather nice on him actually.