Arroyo, 4 month old
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 06:48 PM
Arro is now 4.5 months old. He is getting more independent and sometimes asks questions about why things the way they are :) Overall, he is very friendly and loves attention. He is bigger and stronger now, however, he is not aware of his strength and I need to pay close attention to where he is and what on his mind. Once, he run into his mom at a full gallop. Now, can you imagine if it was me instead of his mom. I have started letting him know that he must be careful around me and horsing close by is not tolerated.
Arro learns a lot these days and the most improved skill is leading. To create in him a very positive attitude toward it I use several situations:
  • I lead him to the barn after I have Regala in the aisle. He is usually grazing near paddock close to Santo :)
  • I lead him back outside after he had his daily dose of being tied, groomed and feet picked
  • I lead him back into paddock if he didn't go with his mom and stayed outside. I even feed horses first and let Arro hang around outside and only after lead him into the paddock.
Arro and me had a few "conversations" about what is allowed and what is not :) He had a period where he wanted to mount his mom while we were on a hack. Good thing I was watching him. I quickly turned around and laid my whip across his back. Another time I caught him even earlier. He was about to mount and I got him across his neck. I hit hard because it is extremely important to make him understand I am not kidding and such behavior is absolutely not tolerated when I am in the saddle. I believe he got the message because a few days ago we were on a cool down walk on a trail and Arro got left behind and galloped to catch up. I turned around in a saddle pointed my whip at him and said: "Whoa!" He stopped in his tracks several meters behind his mom.
Another thing he is questioning now is being led to the barn where his mom is standing tied. He doesn't need to drink milk often, he is grazing and Santo is very close. He now does not have a very good reason to come to the barn. For the last week he started stopping and not wanting to come. Usually when you train a foal to lead you would use a bum rope to nudge him forward when he stops. I have been doing it before. Now, I take long in-hand whip and gently tap him behind his bum. At first, he was surprised and tried to turn around and go backwards. I kept tapping very gently on his bum until he made 1 step forward. Now I do not need to really tap. I only bring it close to him and he walks.
Also, he tries to nip me on rare occasions - not hard or mean, more like why not :) I gently but firmly smack his lips with my hand. That usually stops any further attempts. If I notice any deliberate nipping he will be in a lot of trouble. This is again one of those things I do not tolerate and he has to know that from the start.
I am writing about all this hoping that readers will realize that even though foals are very cute and loveable they are fast, strong and unpredictable. Never fool yourself that a little foal is like a pet. My foal now is the size of a whitetail deer and deers are known to kill people.
I have been trimming Arro's feet once every month. I just did his third trimming. His hoof wall is quite hard now and I have to use nippers rather than knife. I use knife to scrape the flaky sole and tidy the heels. I do not use a rasp yet. I do not tie him for trimming. I just keep him in the barn with door closed and his mom there too. He is giving me his feet very willingly and can stand still for a few seconds :) It takes me about 10 min to trim a pair of his feet. Also, I do a lot of scratching of withers, neck and bum between the jobs :)
I would like to say a few words about Regala. She has been absolutely amazing hacking out in the fields. We started cantering there and her baby gets excited and wants to sprint ahead of her. She doesn't care, she steadily canters and listens and she doesn't miss a bit. Couple times Arro tried to kick at her and I swung my whip at him right there in the midst of canter without even slowing down. Regala didn't get excited or scared, she didn't even sped up. She continued cantering like nothing happened. And it was her second ever canter in the fields. I am so impressed with her and I tell her that all the time :) I love hacking her and Arro out. He has a chance to see so much, negotiate different terrain, jump logs, go through a tall grass, up hill, down hill. He will grow in a surefooted and confident horse who is afraid of nothing.
The next blog about Arro will be in November.
Happy riding...
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My blog is about teaching, riding and training. I share what is important to me in my work with horses and riders. The writing helps me to think things over and have a better understanding of training ideas and priciples.
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