Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Those First Lessons

As soon as Rio was born I began to introduce her to the things she would need to become accustomed to and accept. We haltered her on the first day and ran the clippers all over her body just to get her used to the feel and sound. Rio was a happy baby, relishing in human attention but sometimes to the point where she was in the way when it was time to muck her stall or tend to her mama. She's very inquisitive and learned early on how to unhook the stall door from the inside. I have a feeling she may be a bit of a "Houdini". Rio enjoys being brushed but doesn't like it when you brush her face. I also clipped her bridal path but she fusses a bit when it's time to clip her face or ears. I don't think she's afraid of the clippers, but think the blades tickle her face. We'll definitely need to work on this as I have plans to show her so she'll need to stand still to be clipped.

After the first week or so I began picking up her feet and using the hoof pick. She handled it pretty well but sometimes tries to put her foot down before I'm finished. I also tied her using a blocker tie-ring. This allows the lead rope to slip through the ring easily if she pulls back or panics. She learned early on that when she got to the end of the rope if she stepped forward there was a release. This early lesson will come in very handy as she grows up. When she was just a few weeks old I was careful to keep our sessions to 10 or 15 minutes in length. Rio would definitely let me know when she'd had enough and wanted to visit the "milk truck". She's a little over 2 months old now and I take her from mama for longer periods of time. I usually groom her then walk her around the barnyard a bit.
She's progressing very well and is usually very well-behaved. But last evening she was quite feisty and kicked out while I was leading her and caught me on the shin bone...ouch! It was a little reminder that she is a horse that will require lots of training and patience on my behalf. I also have a bad habit of comparing her to her mama whom I've had since she was weanling. Perhaps it was that long ago that I don't remember Tia being a naughty girl but Rio definitely has a personality all her own. She is very sweet but I can see that she will be a handful at times. Hmmm...looks like I got myself a fiery red-head!

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