Kachina is settling in nicely. The 4 pasture horses are truly becoming a unit. I'm glad. I'd like to try to turn Griffin out with them before the snow all melts so that he can transition onto pasture in the spring with the rest of them. Because he needs so much work though, I've been making it a priority to work with him.
Poor Griffin is lonely in his pen.
Standing on top of the hill in the pasture here, this is the place where Kachina went through the fence that first day. You can see how she would have difficulty seeing it without the yellow and teal tape as she was galloping over hill looking for Griffin.
Griffin (and Kachina too when she was with him) are so neat about their poop. Neither of them would poop in the front pen where I feed them hay.
Instead, they poop in a big pile in the back pen. Silly ponies. It's kind of nice, but it means that their poo pile is a frozen mound at least a foot thick at this point in the winter.
I want Griffin to face up to me when I enter his pen. What he does now is sidle himself up against the fence and keep his head straight. He will look at me if I don't put too much pressure on him, but if I do anything that he feels makes him uncomfortable, he will straighten out, look at me with only one eye, and sometimes even move off while snorting. If I catch him and halter him, he's actually pretty good about facing up and leading, but when left to his own devices, it's still his first instinct to sort of distrust me. If I'm deliberate about approaching him, he will stand and wait for me and let me do pretty much anything to him, but he's still so unsure if I move too fast, especially if I jump up and down.
Today, I worked with him on basics. I did tons of desensitizing. He is completely fine with me throwing a rope and stick and string at him, but if I jump up and down, he'll snort and move away. So I worked with him on that, and toward the end, he wasn't flinching hardly at all when I would randomly jump. I also did some refresher work on moving his hindquarters away when I asked and moving his shoulders away when I asked. I haven't done any of this in a while so it took some coaxing. Griffin is so unafraid of objects, that he is not worried when I tap him with the stick. This does create problems getting him to move when I want him to. I try to really make sure my body language is asking him to move, but he's not tuned into that yet. I also use clucking to signal I want him to move and that helps him get it quicker.
I ended our session with putting a fleece blanket on him just for fun. He's never worn anything before (accept for my shirt last summer), and he took this very well. He was a bit snorty about it at first, but quickly got over it. He is so unspooky that when I lead him around and the wind caught the blanket making it flutter all over, he didn't worry about it at all! I do have high hopes for this horse. I think he will be a fabulous trail horse, but he needs to like me more.
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