Having Inez out in my yard is such a blessing. Not only is it a joy to see my family interacting with her throughout the day but it gives me opportunities for short training sessions several times each day. In between the sessions, I spend time cleaning her paddock, giving her gentle massage, lots of scritches and sometimes sitting with her reading while she dozes in the warm sun.
Working with the halter was my first priority. In order to keep her safe during vet visits, being able to load her into the trailer in an emergency and being able to keep her still for grooming and care, she needed to get used to a halter. Shannon brought over one of her rope halters. If you are not familiar, these are designed for Natural Horsemanship and have no snaps, buckles or stitching which makes them safer and stronger. Thier unique design assists with training and helps put pressure in the right places which helps the horse to understand and respond to cues.
First, I spent time rubbing the halter all over Inez until she didn’t care about it. Next, I put the lead rope over her neck and used it to gently pull her toward me, giving to the pressure. Before long, this was quite routine as well. Next, I calmly slipped the nose band over her muzzle. That was a whole day of short lessons of calmly putting on and taking off just the nose portion.
We then progressed to draping the poll strap over her neck and eventually pulling out the tension. Within a day, I had it tied and she was calmly standing (though her face in the photo shows she was not excited.)
I am still sleeping outside with her for those of you who may be wondering. She eats most of the night but now feels comfortable to doze next to me sometimes as well. She had a lovely visit with my niece this week. It’s fun to share this love with Kate. I think she could have stood in the paddock petting her all day.
Up next will be learning to lead. I keep telling Inez that once she can lead, I will take her to eat grass but she’s just not sure.