Sunday, May 9, 2010

Leading from the paddock . . .

This is a follow up from the previous post where I explained about Chrome not wanting to leave the paddock where I let him graze. I let them graze for a few hours then went out to get them. I could tell they'd been galloping around and were excited. I don't know if something scared them or if they were playing. I went armed with my sugar cubes, expecting a huge fight. The last time I led him from the paddock I turned him loose before I closed the gate because Zeppelin hadn't come in yet and he bolted past me back into the paddock. I lost my temper and chased him around (so he couldn't graze) until he let me catch him and lead him back out, so I wasn't surprised when he started to walk away from me today.

I was patient and didn't chase him. He stood near Two Socks and watched me approach. As soon as I touched him he relaxed and let me take his halter. I put the rope on him and gave him the sugar cube (happy I didn't have to use it as a bribe). As I expected he balked when I tried to lead him from the paddock. Instead of backing him or longeing him I swung the rope behind me toward his haunches. I only had to do that twice and then he led from the paddock. I took him all the way to his stall (gave him his second sugar cube and also rubbed him with the lead rope so he wouldn't get skittish about it) and locked him up so I could get Zeppelin out of the paddock and close the gate.

So it went about how I expected. I hate that I chased him that day and now he's skittish of me (he seems like a very reactive horse to me and I don't know for sure if that's just his personality or if it's his age), but he was hard to catch when I got him (see earlier posts), so maybe it's just who he is. I know we can rebuild the trust between us and I know things like this will happen as we both learn. I know I'll make mistakes and I'm going to try not to beat myself up about them. It's not like I beat him or hurt him in any way. I don't want a fear based relationship with him, but I also understand I'm a predator and he's a prey animal. There may always be times when that comes between us. We'll work through that. Anyway, another lesson success. Don't you just love how every interaction with our equine friends is a training (learning) experience?


  1. These things happen - it sounds like he's already fine. Glad he led well once he got going!

  2. I "chase" my horses in from the field all the time. I'd pick up a stick and herd them in. I never gave it a second thought until I got Kinsey.She is such a sensitive horse that I worry she will see me as being too aggressive. I have changed to just very gently herding them in. I have not seen any negative side effects with Kinsey.

  3. Balking, while leading, is the biggest problem I have with Yalla! Sometimes she'll just plant her feet and not move, even when I pony her with another horse. I try to wait it out but usually I have to swing my whip or a rope behind her to get her moving.

    As far as chasing, I often chase my horses around in the arena. It's a game we play. They come up and I chase them away. Then I just drop the whip and the game is over and I can walk right up to them. Matter of fact, if the horse is hard to catch, I'll chase them until they 'ask' to be caught.


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