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Q's post was so much easier to write than Griffin's!
I started to look through old blog entries with Griffin to see what goals were with him so I could note on them, but it became too daunting. He was honestly so much of a clean slate that to remark on every tiny little change would be like writing a book on “how to start the young horse”. I think the biggest noticeable change for this little guy is his health, his growth, his developing personality. Yes, he has learned a lot, and I will note everything he has accomplished so far, if anything, just for my own later recollection.
Health: Obviously this is the most noticeable change in my little guy. He came to me a few hundred pounds underweight and his nutrition requirements weren’t being met on quite the level they needed to be. He immediately had a pelleted grain introduced to his hay regimen and some added vitamins and minerals. In addition, he had time to spend in a stall in a barn out of the elements for a few days so he could “get a jump start” on his new life.
As time wore on and his diet was steady, he really started to pack on the pounds. His coat still took forever to shed out due to poor nutrition in his past, but once it did, he shed out into a nice, shiny, healthy, summer coat.
A summer of grass and running and playing over 40+ acres with his little herd helped him out so much. His buddy Oliver, a year older, has been a great playmate – a very tolerant playmate as Griffin is quite the bother!
|August 12, 2012|
|August 31, 2012; stretched out a bit awkwardly...but its the best I could get with flies/dog pestering everyone around|
Throughout his time of increasing weight and health I worked several days a week with Griffin. The horse that couldn’t pick up his feet now picks up his feet without incident and lets me trim them. He’s developed some hardy little feet, though I do hope to work on getting his heels down just a bit.
He can still be impatient if left to stand for too long tied, but he hasn’t dug to China yet. He’s relatively well-mannered when left tied for any length of time. He is very respectful of me and my space when I’m working around him when he is tied or otherwise. He moves as I ask and doesn’t pester me to death. Quite the little gentleman.
He’s become a little king of the round-pen and long-line work. He knew how to go in a circle in the beginning, but stop? Go? Speed up? Slow down? Turn? On command?!?! Concepts that just blew by him. Now he is a champion! I doubt Q will top his responsiveness.
He has remained soft to pressure throughout everything and we’ve been able to apply this into our work with driving. We began driving with just a side-pull halter but have progressed to bit and bridle. He didn’t like the bit at all in the beginning. But now he accepts it like an old pro. He began as not-so-soft with it but has since realized what I’m asking for and has returned to giving to the pressure with nary a signal from my hand. Sometimes its like he reads my mind. He flexes well to both sides with or without the bit and bridle, and he accepts a saddle without any issue – but he always has. We’ve put a variety of objects on him or around him since the beginning. He may give a wide eye, but he trusts people to not hurt him no matter what our crazy whims. (Though he still thinks I might be a monster when I dance spazztically around him. I’m not sure if this is his version of an insult to my dancing or what…)
He’s the most loving and willing horse I’ve ever been around. Despite not graining him for months now, he still is the first to come (and now the only to come) when I whistle for the horses in the field. He follows me when I bring Q in and mopes at the gate when he is left standing in the field. He soaks up any and all attention. He’s the most willing little worker ever. It was hard for me to be a leader and not a best friend to him at first, but the benefits of it are paying off and then some now. He tries whatever I ask of him and is a very honest little guy. Cross that stream? Okay. Walk through that scary dark tunnel looking area? Okay. Jump over this little pipe? Okay. Trot those scary ground poles? Okay. Go over this strange striped jump thing you have out here? Okay.
That last one was a really big surprise to me the other day. Jeanna was out while I was getting the horses and Griffin – of course – came in first. She joked that I should see if he would do the jumps. We both didn’t think he would. Little guy scoffed and went over all three when asked. (No excessive requests for speed, form, or repetition, just a mere “try this”. I won’t risk him an injury by putting him through something like that very rigorously before he is “of age” to do it. What little we did was no different, or perhaps even less stressful, than when he jumps the creek in the field.)
I'm so happy with my little guy and so excited to continue the training process as he grows. I don't know what his specialty will be yet, but I do know he will give me his all in anything I ever request of him. He's such a willing, honest guy, I hope I can find a job he loves.