Time flies. 2 months are an incredible difference between the newborn colt and the little stallion we’re dealing with now. He’s courageous, crossing borders, but very honest and sometimes not that smart, a bit blonde even :)
I’ve tried to capture the 2 months worth in pictures. You’ll see him grow, and if you know him in “person”, you’ld know he’d also grown in peronality. Horsinality would be a better word as horses are less complex in what they like and don’t like.
From the side, standing
And what have we learned in those 2 months?
Humans are fun, not to be scared of.
If I do evil I get evil.
Some horses and humans are greater than I am. Not only in size but also in mind. I’ll have to respect them.
From a human perspective I would say…
After a long while of being afraid the bad start we had with the vet on the first day would linger- I’m very happy that we got over it.
The vet had to give injections and a vitamine ‘injection’, the latter one I had to give as well on the second day. Having a mare very worried about her filly and a filly that wasn’t used to being touched all over, never mind held and having plastic in his mouth, this was for Muratah a very scary experience.
A week and a bit later, when Klaus and Petra came over to see the newborn, I got greeted with a happy neigh. Muratah was in the stable, his mom a bit further down in the field. He saw me and he neighed. From there on I got the feeling that I was accepted as a family member. When my son was back, they were both curious towards eachother, which can be seen here:
From there on the 2 played with eachother – although different creatures, they are discovering eachother and finding the thin line between respecting eachother and pushing it a bit over the border from both sides. It’s in balance, and they show eachother their own worlds, in their own words. It’s understood by the 2 of them.
And from a “material” perspective – the things I’ve achieved so far, in timeline-order.
* 1st Touch:
from bum, the “hit and run” area, towards the sides, the hind legs, the shoulder, the front legs.
The head was a “no go” area, as well as going with the hand up the neck, that immediately was a runaway moment. The things I’ve tried to desentise him were putting a scarf on his back – waiting for him to become quiet again and then take it away from his back
There was a very interesting experience I rediscovered. As soon as “food” or something else very important came around -all focus went on that. Foals are just like kids, they can focus on only one thing at the time. And sometimes you can “abuse” that by scratching just there where he just before didn’t allow you to – just because he’s drinking. Keep it there without disturbing him and you’ll see he’ll have a surprised look at you and then continues drinking again or walks away.
And yes, sometimes the ‘thing’ became reason to run, but – surprisingly enough, it didn’t seem like panic. He still saw where he was going- something that doesn’t happen when horses panic.
same with a long whip which I did rest on his back.
He himself preferred a plastic back to play with and a big ball (and so did we!)
and the german flag. A pity germany lost that evening
We even discovered a new species: A Wabbit. A cross combination from a Wallabee and a Rabbit. In germany:
This took about 3 weeks.
I’ve seen the “imprinting” where people touch a foal all over when he’s just born. As said before, as it was my mares first foal she had the first right of doing all she needed to do. When she got a bit of a rest and the foal went into his little “sleep” session, we could do all this – but on a very small scale. He needs his first rest, we however got 4 years to go to learn him all about humans and their special wishes. Anyone got shaving cream?
10 days old; more here: muratah june 29th 2008
Being able to approach him rather quickly from behind and use my hands all over his body, I used a small leadrope around his bum and a hand on his chest to make him go forward. Thanks to Ric we had a good try, and we found out that if we just walk normally behind mom all goes fine.
But again, be careful: pressure means fight. patience means win-win. You will recognize the head going up and a bit of restance. Freeze, keep the pressure on the line and it will go again. And honestly – they’ll show you what they like most:
* Head and Neck:
after the foodbucket became important, lots of training on the shoulder and head and neck. Be careful, you don’t want to overdo this. He can’t see you when his head is in the foodbucket. Every touch he will react upon and you can even scare him.
Going from the shoulder to the head had the best effect, then slowly going back to the shoulder again. This took about 2 weeks.
with the foodbucket as an easy ‘entry’ to approach the head, the halter came in sight.
Actually this was easier then I thought but it takes 2 to get there. A good round pen which I didn’t have would have helped a lot. Not wanting to send the colt into a corner but not knowing what else the answer already showed up. He walked into the stable, where he -to my surprise- always shows a lot more confidence then outside, where he can walk away. One hand on his chest, one hand on his back with the halter, scratching as always, he did put his head down, and I could- after a few times again on and of – put it on. He was a bit surprised by the feeling, but then was distracted so much that we could go on our normal trip.
That was what I am trying to achieve: “halter on == we go out for a play and a run!”
so we had to keep the time as short as possible. Taking the halter off caused a bit of a problem as he was still very excited and very very itchy. We got it off before a hoof or a tree could stuck into it. Here he was almost 2 months old, “late” according to some people. “just the right time to start with it” according to muratah.
The hind legs were never a problem to be touched.
11 days old
When he had a frisky mood they touched me in a not so nice way. and I send him away like a dominant mare would do – head forward, “bite” him in the bum with my hands until he shot in a corner – within 3 seconds I stopped and had a “snort” at him, leaving him 10 meters away and looking a bit confused, his side towards me, chewing, his head down and tail down.
Once I could hold him a bit better on one place with a hand on his chest, I could start picking up hoofs when I wanted to:
One day I noticed he had a scratch on his hind hind leg, back side, just above his hoof. I guess his mom stepped on it as Muratah tends to run in front of her and then decides to stop running. I had to desinfect it and close it with “silverspray”. But what to do when he never had seen nor heard a spray before? Some horses panic. He didn’t, as he was quite used to a lot already. I sprayed into the cap first and let him smell it. He’s curious enough to stay, so I sprayed it into the cap when he was watching. Still no movement except for his nose into it. I then quickly sprayed a millisecond on his shoulder and scratched him on that spot. He was surprised but not scared. It felt cold, so he had to try to put his nose in it.
Another dot on his side, bit more down towards the bum, where I had to go to.
Then on the bum. First a dot, then I became creative and made it a bit bigger ..
The end result was a nice painted horse – and a hoof that I could clean and care without any problems. Just make sure you’re not facing the hoof – sit aside, facing ‘backwards’ and do it all next to you as an extra precaution.
*Back aka “saddle”
Well, I’ve started with a scarf, a flag, a plastic back, then a cap and a bucket.
Right now I even got leadropes over him which also touch him on his legs and the “mistboy”. It’s a play thing, he gets things on his back which he carries around. And I get to find in the field where he dropped it.. :) Not that I can’t wait until he gets his first saddle on – cos he already got that one on ;) – but it’s another “getting used to” thing. Toss it on his back like it’s so normal and he’ll accept it.
* Other scary stuff
Today we got even this creature running around in our field, scaring the other horses away:
Lots of wise lessons I’ve learned from my own arab mare Sharmenta, especially the things I should not do.
That she was right, proved my currently 6 year old son to me. I can say, being consistent and fair to children, give them their own space and responsibility in borders takes the best out of them. It’s up to the wisdom and/or experience and/or 6th sense of the parent(s) to see how far the borders can be set, and in which direction. All based on trust and communication.