We have made some progress with gentling Montana to the halter. He is still very shy about the first touch and had learned from his previous life that he can keep his head just out of reach from the halter by holding it far to the other side. He will allow us to walk up and pet his shoulders and at time his head. To continue to make progress and change the behavior, we easily can throw and rope over his neck (he stands and has no worry about this) then work on him giving his head to the halter.
We’ve done a lot of work getting him comfortable with things coming under his jaw and to the opposite side. We also had to work some on getting his feet free. When he feels free and not braced, he is more comfortable and willing to stand to be haltered. Otherwise he is like a ticking time bomb and if he felt stuck enough, he may out of fear bite or kick out. Luckily, we have been successful in helping him release his braces and have kept both him and those working with him safe.
During the last Horsemanship clinic with Joel Conner, we were able to quietly walk Montana with his friend Darla to the indoor arena. There we were able to spend more time on groundwork. He has carried over change with new things such as introduction of the flag or moving his hind and front quarters. However, the evasions to the first touch and haltering still persist. It is pretty cute when — once the halter is around his neck now and we are practicing taking it on and off — he will stick his nose down into the halter. He knows what we want him to do, but is just cheeky about accepting it at the beginning. On a good note, he is a bright and willing horse, everything new he experiences will be with a good foundation so it is our hope that the work to saddle will be fairly straight forward. However, we are aware that as a young horse he was ridden for a short time. Maybe 30 days of training, so we hope we don’t uncover old trouble due to any bad experiences long ago.