Grooming for Success: How good are you?
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Mustang Makeover: Day 3 - Getting to know you

Day 3 Mustang Training

The first couple days went really well. I spent as much time as I could just sitting in the pen with "little horse" to get him more used to my presence, and he seemed to take it well. I make sure I'm in there twice a day with the pitchfork doing everyday chores, and walking in there to feed him. I got him to come close and sniff me a bit, and even take a little hay out of my hand. I was fortunate that the wranglers at the holding pens were able to get a halter on him while he was in the chute. This will make my job a bit easier once I am close enough to touch him. 

After having two days to settle in, I decided today I wanted to ask a little more from him. In the video you can see me trying to get him to move around me in the pen, and to go where I ask him to. I'm using a long Parrelli stick as an extension of my arm to move him around. As much as possible I try to let him sniff it, and once he is more comfortable I will start using the stick to scratch and rub him all over his body. While he's moving around the pen, I keep an eye on his ears, once they start flicking towards me and he seems attentive, I stop and ask him to face me. When I get the desired reaction (him facing me) I reward him by stepping back, or relieving the pressure.

He picked this up very quickly, and soon he was following my movements with his front end, which is the first step to ground work training. Today I did this about three times, with long breaks in between. At the end of the day I sat with him while he munched on hay, and he seemed to relax considerably. He even rubbed my legs and nibbled at my hat with his muzzle. Tomorrow I will do the same thing, continuing to work him in his pen, asking him to face me and follow my movements, slowly getting closer to him. For the first few days (maybe the first week) I will not try too hard to touch him, eventually he will come around, and it will be his idea.

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