Thursday, August 25, 2011

Griffin's big day

Every morning that I have arranged to have my mom come and watch Wren, as I'm getting Wren to nap, I am usually daydreaming about what I'm going to do with my horses, which horse I'll bring I daydreamed about working with Griffin and potentially getting Cody out and teaching him to pony in the round pen.  Well, often my daydreams are not what I end up doing, either because something with the horses dictates differently, or I just come up with other ideas as I go.  What I ended up doing was getting Griffin up in the round pen.  On the way there, he was a little leary about things in the yard, but he just looked at them and continued on with me.  I let him sniff around and become familiar with this new place before I did anything with him.

He was pretty calm about the whole thing, slowly exploring.  Then I got my stick out and "round penned" him loose, asking him to stay a constant direction until asked and when asked turn to the inside to change direction.  He was a little snorty at first with me asking him to move, but he was hooked onto me immediately.  I made him keep it up until he wasn't snorty anymore, then I asked him to face up and keep facing me as I walked back and forth in front of him.  He was really good, remembering pretty much everything we'd done with our "mini-roundpenning" in the tiny mustang pen.  We didn't spend much time in the round pen because it is so boggy (I'm deciding I don't like the sand - we may need to find something to add to it to firm it up).  Since he settled down so quickly and became very comfortable with me, and is respecting the leadrope so well, I took him back down to the barn and tied him to the hitching post for the first time.  I don't like to tie horses to this post if I think they may pull back because it is not set in the ground very deep (Cody has already pulled it crooked when she pulled back once and Sassy, the mare we had over the winter, pulled it even more crooked).  So me tying him to the hitching post shows my confidence in him!  I spraying him with fly spray, then decided to take him for a walk in the woods on the trails! 

My dogs came along with me and were crashing around in the brush, but Griffin paid them no mind.  After the round penning, he was very comfortable with me and was not leary hardly at all.  He was interested, but it was a mild interest in the new places we went.  He put complete confidence in me!  I love that feeling.  The only thing that really worked him up was the noise of my dogs splashing into the pond.  The picture below shows him watching them run down to the pond from pretty far away still.

He got over being worried about that noise pretty quick though.  We just went down and stood at the waters edge and watched the dogs go in and out.  I led him back and forth and around and just asked him to check out the water, which he did.  As we watched the dogs, I took a picture of his injured eye.  You can see the cloudiness is receding, but the spot where the lesion was has become very opaque and white.  But it is so low, that even if it doesn't go away, it's not going to be a hindrance to him.

Griffin shows off how over this he is.  By the time we left the pond, the dogs were running into the water right at his feet and it didn't phase him.  He did not volunteer stepping into the pond though, and I didn't want to make him go in right now because that was not the goal of this walk.  Plus I was wearing my boots and didn't want to get them wet!

After the pond, we walked through my parent's yard, past the chickens and the orange tractor (walking through a narrow area with chickens underfoot without a  moment's hesitation), then we came back through the wooded trails and ventured onto my neighbor's trails.  We walked past their barn filled with horses, came out by their house, went down the driveway and past my husband's cattle farm.  Griffin had a bit of difficulty with crossing a narrow washout, but with persistance and picking an easier spot, he crossed.  He watched my husband's herd of 30 heifers running away with a bit of alarm (but who wouldn't be alarmed watching a mass of dark cattle kick up dust as they foolishly stampeded from the sight of a wild horse).  His alarm was just watching them with a high head and side-stepping a bit. Then we walked down along the road and through the yard of my husband's business, complete with large scary machinery and racks of pipe.

Griffin is curious, but not alarmed by any of this.

We even went along the road, and watched 3 cars pass by, including a big silver tanker type-truck.  Griffin was totally unconcerned by any of it (it helps to have your pasture border a road that semi's drive on regularily).  When we got back, we stood tied for another couple minutes for a thorough grooming session before being turned back into the pasture.

Griffin was absolutely awesome on our walk.  I couldn't have daydreamed a better outcome for my horsey-time!  I was so proud of him and so pleased with his temperament.  This horse has so much potential.  I hope I have the time to bring it out in him!  I don't think it is going to take much work.

Taking a young horse for a walk alone in the woods is the best thing for them.  They have to rely on your leadership.  If I were to pony Griffin, he would have assigned that leadership to the horse I was riding and not me.  Now I know he trusts me pretty completely, and my trust in him has been pretty firmly established.


Anonymous said...

That sounds like an amazing day - he was very good!

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

What a great day! Sounds like he really is an amazing horse, and he's definitely good looking too!