A terrific update from Jewel’s foster mom! Thank you Janelle for taking such wonderful care of this filly!
Just wanted to let you all know that Jewel has been doing really well. She has calmed down tremendously and is not spooking as easily, especially with being touched. Yesterday, I went into the barn to let the horses down to the pasture and she was laying down in her stall. She let me come right up to her and I sat quietly with her for a few minutes, petting her neck and face. She was so relaxed and happy, it felt good to see her like that.
I have been working with her using clicker training, and am happy to report that it is coming along well. She is not pushy or mouthy getting treats. Also, the clicking sound doesn’t scare her anymore like it used to. she is letting me toss the lead rope over her back, butt and around her back legs all while standing still, with no halter, free, and in the paddock. I want her to know that she can walk away if she wants, but I am trying to teach her that it is more rewarding to stay still than move anywhere. She is making huge strides in this direction. As a side note, she lets me run my hands all down all of her legs. I have not yet gotten to the point where I am picking up her feet, but that will start soon.
She is also coming up to me in the pasture so that I can put her halter on. I don’t have to chase her or trick her or anything. I hold the halter right where she can see it so she knows about it and can make the decision to come anyway. I have found the best way to get her haltered with little to no problems is to first let her come up to me. Then I put the lead rope around her neck from under her neck, not over her neck (so, I swing it over her neck from the far side of where I am standing). I then drop the led and put her halter on, and she stands really still for me.
I have also started to have my husband do some clicker work with her. I want her to learn to trust multiple people in multiple situations. Daphne is coming soon to trim her feet again so it will be another good learning opportunity for Jewel. She doesn’t really like Daphne (she makes her do horrible things like pick her feet up!), but she respects her. I am hoping we wont have to use the rope to pick her back legs up at all. We’ll see how that goes. I’ll give you another update after her trim.
Oh, one last thing, she is growing like a weed! I am going to stick her soon so I can start keeping track of how fast she is actually growing. I think she’s going to be a big girl.