Monday, December 15, 2008

Zephyr's 2nd Halter Lesson

Today we began Zephyr's 2nd halter lesson. It was basically a repeat of the 1st lesson but without any of the drama. Zephyr evidently remebered his first lesson which was almost a week ago because he resonded readily to slight pressure on the halter to turn either way. The only time he would hesitate was moving directly forward in response to the halter. But by the end of the 30 minute session Zephyr was beginning to walk forward beside his handler without too much hesitation. With several more lessons Zephyr will be walking and responding to the halter with no hesitation or resistance at all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

First Training - 10/12/08

Today marked the first training session with Zephyr who is now just over 3 months old. It began with us catching Bree (Zephyr's mum) and leading her into a smallish yard where she promptly begin munching away on the fresh green grass with no worries at all about what we were doing to her baby.
Zephyr has been handled all his life in the form of patting etc but he has never had a halter on. He is quiet enough but cheeky so we approached him quietly with lots of petting and soft voices. We slowly placed a lead rope around his neck and after pulling back briefly he calmed and decided it wasn't hurting him at all. We then slipped the halter over his nose and to our suprise this didn't really bother him at all. We also slipped a loop of rope over Zephyr's rump to use later to encourage him to move forward in response to slight pressure from the halter. Again Zephyr did not even blink at this, he just seemed to accept it and ask "What's next?"
Well, next came the inevitable explosion when Zephyr realised we had controll of his head. Zephyr did the usual rearing and bucking routine then decided he should give up all hope of freedom. He reared and fell over backward which needless to say gave us a bit of a fright when he just lay on the ground unmoving. But then he turned his head slightly to look at us as if to say "I AM NOT MOVING!" (What a drama queen, eh?) With some gentle proding we coached Zephyr to his feet and determined he was none the worse for wear from his attempt at a backflip.
We continued with the lesson by gentle pulling and releasing to get Zephyr to turn both left and right and to stop and start. This was also accompanied with much praise and petting. We had only a few minor tantrums during this so we decided to end the lesson when Zephyr was begiining to respond more readily to my aids.
We slipped the halter off without any problems and as soon as Zephyr was free he immediatly began seeking a scratch on his favouraite spot (his rump). This is a good sign as this indicated he was not stressed by the incident at all and he was quite comfortable to be near us after such a new experience.
We finished off the whole experience by scratching Zephyr's itchy spots and even lifting his feet which he did not mind in the least.

What a good boy! =D