Problems handling and leading new weanlings?? - Page 5 - The Horse Forum
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post #41 of 59 Old 11-25-2014, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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Smile Update....

Not just a mentor, a super-mentor!!! Duffyduck put us in contact, and I will be forever grateful!! BerryBridge, I love you!!!

So - Progress so far.....

Last week I bought a nice soft halter for Shergar, and after lots of time and practise with her, and lots of treats to help her put her nose in, she now accepts putting it on without too much fuss....although she is still wary of hands being raised near her head.

We put up electric tapes to line the route from the barn to the field, and this helps - although it now looks like we are expecting a royal visit in the front garden!!

The trainer that came originally said that we should lead Vicky, with Shergar just following, for 2 weeks, and that then they would know the way and we could just let them out to run free to the field.........I was unhappy with this on several counts - firstly, it just seems so 'hands off' - especially with babies. Also, as they have to go through the garden and round the house, it doesn't seem particularly safe or controlled - we have small kids!! But also, it implies that Shergar is meekly following Vicky, when in fact she is doing exactly as she pleases, charging off whenever she feels like it or something spooks her.....racing back towards the barn, then racing back to find Vicky.......all of which makes Vicky very jumpy too.

Whilst putting them out with the trainer watching, Vicky stopped as usual, so I tried nudging her rear end around in a circle to get her moving again - as has been suggested, and it worked a treat!.....but the trainer told me off, and said that I should only let her move forwards, not turn her at all....that someone should follow behind with a stick or crop to tap her with if she refused to move...... only ever to go forwards out to the field....hmmm.

Bringing them in again now presented a new problem - Shergar is unkeen on someone walking behind them with a stick, and so once out of the field and into the garden she started to bolt round to the drive - which Vicky then immediately copied, leaving me behind! Fortunately they at least have no-where to go, and wait by the barn, so collecting Vicky's lead again was not problem....

He also told me to halve the daily pellet amount - they were getting @1Kilo each, split into 2 feeds. Shergar didn't like the reduced rations - she always seemed hungry - and got more aggravated each day.

I also wormed them both last week - then I know for sure they are done.

Given the reservations I had about some of the advice being given, and the language issue, I took DuffyDuck up on her offer of help with finding an English speaking trainer in this area ......... and to my amazement she came back almost immediately with a solution.......enter Super-Mentor!!!

A phone call later, BerryBridge had agreed to come over on Saturday - I couldn't wait!!

Bless her, her approach is everything I could have wished for - caring, understanding, common-sense, no-nonsense and patience - even with me!! (In fact, just before she finally escaped home, my 2 youngest sons to decided they were puppy dogs and immediately set about training them to ''fetch''!!)

Her advice was endless.....she suggested adding a second line of electric tape on the route from the barn to the field, explained how to control Vicky and stop her running off, and that someone walking ahead would help stop Shergar bolting, rather than following them with a stick, that we could put tapes up in the barn to let them have some freedom from their stalls on days they cannot go out - which also gives me more space to practise with them.

She had lots of help and suggestions about bulking their food - that Shergar was underweight and they should go back to full rations (which has immediately calmed her down again). This coming weekend we have session 2 planned, which will include a more detailed winter feeding plan for them both and an educational visit to the feed Merchants.

She explained the 'Indian rope trick' - which we put into practise after they came in....leaving a soft cotton lead rope attached to their headcollars for a short while.....this seems to work a treat. Then practising leading, backing, stand....with Vicky in her stall, and also some hands on with Shergar in her box - very gently, showing her nice manners and behaviour. Also holding her lead through the bars to get used to standing and being restrained - all of which she accepted with minimum fuss.

As proof of her wisdom and experience, the very next day I was able to lead Vicky to the field without the need of a following stick, and have been able to control her coming back in every evening since!!

Sorry - rather than an update, this is starting to resmble 'War and Peace' - but hey, I'm just so thrilled with everything!!! DuffyDuck - hope we can meet up soon - can't thank you enough! And BerryBridge - can't wait for Saturday!!

Thanks to everyone for their continued help, comments and interest - will try to post some photos of the things later.
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post #42 of 59 Old 11-25-2014, 05:16 AM
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Glad to hear everything's coming along nicely. Subbing for more updates :)

If I am not riding I'm thinking about horses, and if I am not thinking about horses I'm riding
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post #43 of 59 Old 11-25-2014, 05:26 AM
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Loungess, I am SO happy to hear everything went so well, and how this has worked out! BerryBridge was an absolute rock to me when I had some difficulties with my own horse, and gave me all the horsey and legal advice she could, and even asked her vet. She is one in a million! (and she has to say the same in return or I won't be sending creme eggs this easter :P)

I leave on my holidays in 14 days (EEK!) and will be gone for a month. I hope in January or early February I can catch the train up to see BerryBridge and hers, then we can come and see you!

Love it when a plan comes together!

P.S... you'll keep us all super super happy with lots of pictures of the girls! (and I hear you also have some other wonderful animals ;D)
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post #44 of 59 Old 11-25-2014, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Some piccies to help explain the update !!

20141125_132516.jpg
The girls stall in the barn....

20141125_132559.jpg
The route marked by tapes through the garden

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Onward round the garden......

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Past the sheep and geese....

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To the electric fenced paddock in the distance....

20141125_132939.jpg
The ducks that wander about to cause confusion....

20141125_133004.jpg
The Parrots that shriek just to cause trouble.....
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post #45 of 59 Old 11-26-2014, 12:05 AM
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Lol quite an obstacle course for the little ones!
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post #46 of 59 Old 11-26-2014, 04:28 AM Thread Starter
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Another small step on the progress path - have finally convinced them both that they actually LIKE carrots!! They both ignored them for days - Shergar actively pushed them out of her food.....and suddenly they seem to have clicked that new smells and textures can be good......a handful for carrot sticks in their bowls now disappear in a flash!!



(Yet more thanks to BerryBridge for her advice to cut them into sticks !!)
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post #47 of 59 Old 11-29-2014, 02:37 PM
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Update, as Loungess has little time at present.
I visited again today.
She is doing really well with her handling. Leading one (the foal that had been handled by the breeder) with the other ( very shy) following to the field, and back in successfully. Handling in the box going really well too. Come forward, stand, go back commands being practiced daily.
Diet and management now super.
The OP is great to work with, and understands exactly how she should implement the tips I've given her.
The foals have settled very well into their new environment now, and are looking very well in their coats too.
Every day a step in the right direction.

And what a nice family too!!
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post #48 of 59 Old 11-29-2014, 02:45 PM
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Yes DuffyDuck - you are my best honorary niece!!!!!! You know that any way.
And Loungess - I think we are really on the same wavelength regarding handling philosophies.
Looking forward to you coming her to my yard, to practice and learn on my horses and foals,and hopefully be able to transfer those experiences to your babies.
Love to the family.
See you soon, x
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post #49 of 59 Old 12-01-2014, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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Another update and a brainwave...!

Yeahaa....we can now put them out and bring them in again with some pretence of control.....and it is soooo good!! Thanks to BerryBridge's patient, sensible advice and observations we can now lead Vicky and keep control, despite Shergar's best efforts to excite her!!
In fact, much to my delight, when we brought them in last night, they actually trotted in calmly side by side all the way - for all the world as though they were both on lines and had been doing it for years!!
The biggest frustration in our progress to date has been the fact that I am unable to put the girls out Tuesday-Thursday each week, as I have no-one here to help me....so by Friday, they are super frisky and difficult to handle. But yesterday, we had a stroke of genius.....
...We have a small field directly opposite their barn (across a very small road that leads to to just one neighbour). We didn't think we could use this before because, firstly, we have our male alpacas here, but more importantly 2 sides border another neighbour's field, and have barbed wire along them. Although we have electric fencing on our side keeping our animals away from it, I didn't think was safe for babies running around.
But then I was thinking how our apacas currently spend most of their time at the far end of their field, in the orchard area we have recently opened up now the apples are gone........so we have created a paddock for the girls within the alpaca field.... The girls are only out for a few hours each day, so the alpacas can roam the whole field the rest of the day.
So we put the corner posts in last night and added the plastic poles and the tapes this morning, then....voila....we suddenly have a mega-simple turnout procedure!!! I still lead Vicky, with Shergar following, but they barely step outside of their barn and they are in the field!! Suddenly life became so much simpler!! This afternoon I brought them in on my own - with just one of my boys around to help with the tape-gates!
Sometimes the answers are so simple - but I just didn't think of a field within a field before!

20141201_121334.jpg
The corner posts and plastic poles in place....

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Here you can see the girls barn - nearest building on the left..

20141201_125423.jpg
The tapes are added....and this photo is taken from just outside the girls barn, so you can see how close it is for them.....

20141201_125426.jpg
You can see the alpacas under the trees on the right...

20141201_141417.jpg
And Voila - the girls are out....and if you look - Vicky is laughing, she is so happy!!

20141201_142139.jpg
After racing round like mad, they calm down to graze.....best of all, this photo is taken from the lounge....I can watch them play!!
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post #50 of 59 Old 12-02-2014, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
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Laughing Horse...

Sorry - this is a close-up of Vicky laughing - I'm not sure you can see it properly in the other photo, and it is sooo gorgeous!!



Also, forgot to mention the in-stall training which I practise every time I bring the girls back in.....we leave a soft lead reign on both girls for 10-15 mins, to let them (primarily Shergar) get used to it being there dragging around and following them - Shergar already pays very little attention to it - other than to pick it up and try eating it!! It also gives them a chance to stand on it and so stop themselves walking ........ here is a picture of Shergar this weekend - she stood on it with her back foot en-route to getting a drink - and then couldn't quite reach to get her head in the water!! It was very funny to watch her look round at me to see what was going on!! But she stays so calm and collected the whole time - no panic - great!
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