I only had times for treats tonight because I have a rather nasty cold. He took his treats gently and politely with me squatted down. Then, when I was all out of treats, he snuffled me all over my head and face. He even steamed up my glasses, LOL!
Oh my goodness. What a lovely moment. *sniffs, reaches for the kleenex*
I will get pictures again soon. He has more leaves in his mane now from our round pen. I can't wait to get him comfy with a halter.
It looks like CW and Strongid-C are the only types of feed-through dewormer available for horses. He'll need the vet to approve the dose based on his fecal, but does anyone have experience, good or bad, with either one?
Things are going well but I could use a little advice.
The round pen thing seems to be working but, while he'll walk up to me or allow me to walk up to him, he has not allowed me to touch him. Until last night.
After a very short moving him around session, he walked up to me, with a little hesitation, and let me rub his forehead and cheek. Then, he stepped back and turned his hind end towards me. Now, I should have read his signals better and stepped back myself before he got defensive, but I didn't in time. Shoot. Now, I can't let a horse turn his butt on me so I quietly moved him around again and tried the touching thing. I was unsuccessful, however, he did start turning sideways instead of showing me his butt, so I called him over to his bucket, dropped some treats in, and exited the RP to end the session (hubby and son needed me). He let me reach through the fence and pet him on the head again, so that was good.
The previous owners trapped him in a pen, using feed and, with a couple of people, cornered him and forced the halter on. He is harder to approach from the shoulder than head on, which is unusual.
My plan for today's session is to try to touch him again and hopefully, read him well enough to back off before he turns his butt towards me. If he does get uncomfortable, I hope he has learned to turn away and not around or I will need to move him around again.
As far as doing rope work, I am not comfortable enough and I worry that it would cause a pretty big blow up, if I did it wrong.
I think what you did was perfect! Clearly he understood because after you left, he allowed you to touch him- which was the next hurdle you wanted to conquer. So bravo! I bet today's session will only build on that! The fact that he allows you to touch his face is pretty awesome. I'd expect a more neutral zone, neck, shoulder, etc. face is pretty intimate! He is definitely trusting you.
I'm not in the same boat in that our pony is not feral, but she doesn't like me much. Probably because I'm the one who administers meds, has to clean her dirty butt and tail, and generally is annoying to her. So I have had to employ some of the same tactics in getting her to trust me, which is hard when I need to handle her for things she finds unpleasant. But I think those little victories really help with her overall attitude towards me.
Wait a minute on that butt thing! Once he got over his initial fear of any touching, my semi-feral donkey would turn his butt to me, too. Never in a threatening way, no raised leg, no stomping, kicking or anything. I always ignored him and walked off. Until it dawned on me that he wanted his butt scratched - it's seriously his favorite thing! Now I stand to the side to scratch his butt and he's perfectly happy with that. Unless you think Gus is being threatening in some way, try to see if he's just trying to get you to scratch him there...
It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.
I totally get you wanting him to not be afraid, but you know what? He's not afraid of you-- not if he's taking treats and snuffling you all over. He is, however, telling you what he's willing to accept and not accept. Unless he's on a leadrope, every touching lesson is going to end with him unilaterally declaring what those limits are. And I don't mean that he turned his butt to you (which yes, is really bad)-- it's the fact that if he turns away you back away. IMO that's not the right foundation to establish.
I have a big (16.3 big bodied heavy mare) that loves her udders scratched.... Loves it.... It was very disconcerting at first because she would walk up to you in the pasture or her stall and present that area to you...lol, once I figured it out we were good, but it took me awhile to understand what she was so 'politely' asking for! Lol
Yeah, leave a halter on him to make him easier to catch. Maybe even a drag rope. If he really gets the halter off, then do a collar. The idea is that some horses haveing a halter (or collar) on gives them a psychological feel of already being caught and it makes them easier to catch. Not all horses, but I have seen enough that it does. We had one mare that was untrained, and we thought we were o.k. as she was not too hard to catch with her halter on...took her halter off and couldn't catch her for anything. Had to end up basically roping her. Huge mind-set change.