I am just ridiculously excited about my session with Venice yesterday. I reorganized my rope so I could configure it in a proper war bridle. And in a very short time was able to flip the loop over her nose and slowly tighten it up. She did not panic at all, and I was able to lead her forward around the stall. She was cautious, but never truly frightened about it. After a couple of minutes I took it off, and then was able to again flip the loop up and tighten it.
After a bit of work on leading, I was able to touch and scratch the right side of her face. She’s been allowing me closer and closer to that side for quite a while. But I was never allowed to touch more than her jowl. Today I was able to scratch down almost to her mouth. It obviously surprised her that it felt so good, and she suddenly started to lean into it.
Next I got the halter and showed it to her. I used the folded crown piece to touch her nose and rubbed it all around her mouth. She got interested and did a lot of lip wiggling. Then I worked my hand a little closer and sort of tricked her into allowing me to rub her upper lip with my fingers. By the time she realized that it was my hand, she was already kind of enjoying it.
Later in the day I went back and had another session. This time I was able to feed her a few horse treats from my hand. She was sort of startled and spit a couple of them out in her confusion. But eventually she did eat them. And was really quite polite about taking them from my hand with her lips. She didn’t snatch.
I’d just like to take one moment here for a bit of a rant… Breeding horses, but not handling or training them in any way is utterly irresponsible and morally reprehensible. A horse with no training is completely worthless to anyone and is always in imminent danger of neglect, inhumane treatment, and death. Halter breaking a foal is easy. Halter breaking a five year old is on a whole new scale of difficulty, and most people do not have the time or the energy to invest when there are so many nice, trained horses out there.
Even horses in good homes are just one home away from a bad situation. Good basic training like haltering, leading, and picking up feet is necessary for any horse to find a new home should their current owner run into hardship or die. And more advanced training (like say… green broke to ride?) gives horses enough perceived value to stave off misfortune.
Do you want to guarantee your horse a good home in the future? Train THEM!!!! That will be their passport for life. They carry that with them even if you have no idea where they end up. It’s a far better guarantee than a contract, or a promise, or a sweet-faced buyer.