Diamond’s Journey, Days 5 & 6, 5-22-2017

Day 5:

Sunday and, because of my schedule, we all took the day off training.

Day 6:

Monday and it’s raining.  While on one hand I don’t think Diamond would be bothered by rain all that much since she must have lived out for the first two years of her life, I decided to bring her in anyway.

She came to me from about 40-50 feet away and followed the target into the paddock and then left me to investigate all the things in the paddock.  It was a fairly quick perusal and then she followed me and the target stick into the barn and into the stall.  Atticus didn’t even bother her except maybe to sniff her as she went by.  I moved her hay net and feed pan in there, added hay to the net and hung it up, and added a water bucket and filled it up.

I fed everyone breakfast, gave them hay and water and went inside to finish getting dressed and eat my own breakfast.

I came back out and started working with D first so that I could get in more than one quick session.  My plan was to work with her a bit, put her back, work with Ollie, put him back, work with her some more and then either put her back or turn her out again into her “lane”.  Then I’d work with Atticus.  I could then also work on getting Atty back into the barn, which he doesn’t like to do, so that I could get D out again (assuming she was in).

Well, that plan went down in flames.  Mr. Atty didn’t care much when she originally came into the barn past his stall, but he sure cared a lot when she tried to come in again after doing some training.  He was quite nasty about it biting her rather harshly and she backed out again.  Methinks he was just a tad jealous!  Resource guarding and all.

She backed out of the barn and then seemed to deliberately back up to Atty’s stall window so that he could bite her on the butt and she could buck and kick!  She’s a pistol!  She has her weapons and she’s not afraid to use them!

She also offered, at least it looked like it, to back into the barn.  She did this twice.  I’m not sure what to make of it.

During this break from training and going into the barn she got a chance to roll in the paddock – softer footing than the lane.

However, D and I and three short sessions in which she learned or started to learn to:

* Follow a target
* Go into the wash stall and turn around
* Face forward regardless of where I was standing and facing
* Keep her head (and mouth) away from me
* Pick her front feet up

In working with her feet (my trimmer is coming on June 1, ten days from now), I ran my hand down the back of her leg.  She quite quickly offered her foot up, but included jerking of it forward as if she was nervous, wanted to paw, or has had people hold onto her leg and she wanted them to let go.  I tried clicking earlier and earlier and the jerking almost disappeared.

If I had more time, I would rather teach the hoof handling through shaping rather than my touching her leg.  But I’d like to get something trained before the trimmer comes.  After he’s here once, then I have another five weeks to work with her on this.

I have not, to the best of my knowledge, trained a horse into satiety.  Peggy Hogan says she has.  I’m not sure that I trained D into satiety this morning or just into “brain fry”.  By the time we finished with our third short session, she was about finished.  She was still taking food and chewing and responding to what I asked, but she had slowed noticeably.

With the help of the target stick, we went back to the lane by the barn.  After all, horses evolved on grasslands where there’s not a tree for shelter to be found.  She certainly doesn’t seem to mind the rain.  Unlike Mr. Ollie who is, as my husband says, “special”.  He doesn’t do rain.

If you would like to help us help Diamond, please click here to go to the GoFundMe page to help defray the costs of rehabbing Diamond.

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About Laurie Higgins

I play with clicker training - with my horses, dogs, and cats. I also attempt to grow vegetables with the hope of one day being able to feed my family from my garden. My daughter and I are learning ballroom dancing. Well, we were. But she left me for a paying horse job, so now my husband and I are learning ballroom dancing. I'm also now helping Peggy Hogan, of Clicker Training Horses (and The Best Whisper is a Click) to teach people how to train their own horses using "clicker training".
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