'Cool Running Creek'

'Cool Running Creek'

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

An Amazing 3rd Week

Let’s try to catch up from last Friday. On Saturday, day 14, Medicine Man continued to amaze the masses. After his performance for the reporter, quite impressive I might say, we wanted to improve on his leading off the shoulder. I like for my horses to stay parallel on my left or right shoulder, about 1-2 feet away during movement. On start, stop, left and right turn, and backing, I want him to stay glued there. Starting with me on his left side and a little help from a lunge whip and the fence, “Doc” picked up the idea within 5 minutes. I only had to lay the tip of the lunge whip on his hip to get forward movement with a little clucking and a slight tug. He only showed slight concern of the lung whip moving around behind my back but it was enough to encourage forward movement. I wanted to accomplish good lead control before he was introduced to the “world beyond." After 15 minutes on each side, it was time. So, I opened the gate and “ let him go." Well, ok, a bit more controlled; it did take a few minutes of coaxing for him to realize there were no beasts beyond the confines of the ring, but the sight of green grass was too much! Five steps out and hmmmmmm, what a taste! I figured he has not tasted anything green since his capture, almost a year ago, and boy was this paradise! A walk around the fence line (I have all high tensile electric) so he saw his boundaries, and then turn him loose. I promise, if he moved out of a 50’ square box the entire afternoon I never saw it. No attention to his newly aquainted friends other than just the occasional glance, his mind was all GREEN. Throughout the remainder of the day, we would on occasionally just walk up to him, pick up his lead, move him a few steps and release him. The goal is to assure him that anyone can walk up to him without fear. Later that evening I returned him to his pen, a little sweet feed and good night. I did forget to mention he was given a friend to share his pen with, a 2 yo QH mare named Misty that Chapin is training. It took them a while to set the pecking order but “Doc” maintained his position and they continue to get along well.
Sunday was met with blazing temperatures, 95 and humid. Early morning we continued to work on leading and back out to the pasture. I did saddle him and did some work on turns and forward movement. I need to continue to focus on him giving to pressure along his sides to get a more responsive movement with signals from a rider, but I’m very satisfied with his efforts. Later in the evening, with the weather so hot, we figured a bath was in store. I brought him up to the barn and started with the water running on the ground from the hose. He was very weary of the sound more than the water, but did eventually investigate and drink from the water as it ran on the ground. With that I picked up the hose and created a spray with just my thumb and just sprayed all in front and sides being careful not to let the water hit “Doc”. After a few circles, me advancing and retreating he let me move the spray to his front feet. Still being somewhat thirsty from no water all afternoon, I decided to offer the water, still at a light spray about 2 feet in front of his face. Again, I’m very careful not to hit him with the water. Slowly, he advanced to the spray and begin to drink, when this started I knew this task was going to turn into a bath party. Within 5 minutes, he had the hose in his mouth, water spraying everywhere, including all over me, but was he ever enjoying this adventure! Over the next 15-20 minutes, we had washed his entire body, head to tail, under and over with “Doc” just wanting to play with the stream...Well, before the creek ran dry, we called it a day returned him to his pen with Misty. Another successful day!

Monday brought another blistering day and a reporter from the News and Observer, a popular paper from the Raleigh area. During the interview Medicine Man stood by Carolina, the reporter, with no lead and a most satisfied expression on his face. I think he is beginning to understand that all this attention is directed towards him. As Harry, the photographer, moved around inside the pen we lunged, led, backed, mounted bareback, and then with saddle...all the while “Doc” was a complete gentleman. We finished up the session with a “Doc” working on his balance with me on his back during movement. Seems he’s not quite use to the additional 185 lbs, but he’s making great strides daily. Today, Tuesday the 26th, he has a break due to a busy week. Wednesday the 27th we'll go to the shoe store for a trim. Stay tuned!
My plans for the remainder of the week are more introductions to the outside world for the first trail ride planned for week 4.

This water business might be pretty cool...

Mmmm, tasty!

Wilber, So how about a drink!

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