Monday, August 11, 2008

The Gabe Files: Training update

Gabe has been an absolute joy to work with. He's SO freakin' smart that I'm starting to worry he's going to figure out how to get out of work later down the line. We had a bit of a respect/halter issue in the beginning, but with just a couple of days work, that issue is GONE. He respects the halter, respects my space and keeping his eye on me during our sessions watching for signals from me, which is exactly what he should be doing.

So far he's met Mr. Beach Ball, Mr. Pool Noodle, Miss Dressage Whip, Mr. Scary Tarp, the Squiggly Rope and the Cavaletti Kids. He took each in stride, no spooking, no wide, white eyeballing of the scary things (tarps are SUPER scary horse-eating monsters!), just intense curiosity and a silly playfulness that is so funny to watch in such a huge horse.

He did, however, murder Mr. Beach Ball. Poor, unfortunate thing. He was so unafraid of Mr. Beach Ball that he kicked him around, nosed him around, picked him up in his teeth to fling him across the paddock, and finally, he stomped on him. I guess a newer, sturdier version of Mr. Beach Ball is in order.

He "whoa's" on command, he backs when I take a step back and moves nicely sideways away from me when I tickle him just a bit. He picks up all his feet and stands fairly well just ground tied while I groom him.

However, the light mist from the fly spray bottle sends him into spasms of "Oh MY GOD! It's ACID! It's ACID! I'M DYING!" when I spray him, but only when it touches his left side. Very interesting. Working on it and slowly but surely he'll get over the left side fly spray phobia .

My Gabe is a peppermint addict. When he hears the wrapper crinkling he's all ears and lips. When he first came home he had pretty bad peppermint manners and was VERY mouthy. We fixed that pretty quick because there is nothing more dangerous than a horse who is over zealous with those giant teeth. Last night when I was working him I was wearing pants without pockets so I stuck a handful of peppermints into a fanny pack for the occasional Super Good Boy reward. He figured out pretty quickly where those peppermints were...and then, the little bugger, figured out how to unzip the dang thing with his lips! I'm tellin' ya...too smart.

Just because I think it's kind of cool, I'm putting up a picture of Gabe's daddy. Gabe is the spitting image of his papa! Seriously. The last pictures I posted of Gabe he was still wet from a bath so you really can't see his grey markings so well. I need to get new, better pics of him.

He's just as handsome as his dad!


A. di :) said...

sure sounds like your enjoying your new horse.

Wendy said...

oh, she's in love! it's so cute!

Sona said...

Poor Mr. Beach Ball....

lol! Sounds like he's a great addition to the family.

lov grma f said...

He sure sounds like very smart and well behaved horse. Enjoyed. very good looking also

Kathy said...