Monday, June 11, 2012

June 10th - 4:48pm

Currently on the way home from Pringles. The second day of foal wrangling ended at about noon today with the remainder of the foals and one mare in the trailer. Today was a bit more exciting than yesterday since it was all of the foals and mares who didnt want to be caught yesterday. Plus with only one mare to bring home the babies only had one mare to follow in the front with none to push from behind. Seperating the mares out was a tad more difficult as one of the foals adamently refused to let mom go without a fight. Even if it meant trying to scale the gate. With me and a different mare inbetween the gate. Thanks buddy. Thankfully the reaction he got from me was enough to make him rethink that idea and not try a second time but my foot will definitely hurt tomorrow where he stomped it. The first attempt at loading everyone resulted in two foals (the one from earlier plus a friend) opting out of going through the chute toward the trailer. Instead decided to go up over the 5' solid sides when the first foal in line stopped and refused to go. Rounded them back up (though not before they each made an attempt at clearing various fences and gates) and got them back through the chute into the trailer. All in all not a difficult morning but one Im good not having a repeat of again for awhile. Watching all the babies and their mothers as well as interacting with them gave me a different, clearer, view of the pressure/release system we use to train horses. At one point a couple of foals pressed against the mare I was holding. She was literally at a 30 degree angle very calmly leaning back against them. The more they pushed she more she sat her weight against them. Not enough weight to move them but enough the foals weren't gaining any ground or moving her. When they finally moved away she didn't keep leaning. Just calmly returned to standing straight up. Ive always been taught and have experienced the whole they can't and won't pull/lean unless you do. But seeing it in action like that gave it a visual component as well. The mare didnt need to lean until pushed and when the pushing stopped she quit leaning. Didn't phase her either way. Herd lesson #1: Don't get in a pushing match cause you wont win. The foals are bigger than me and didn't phase her so no way I can with brute force. Then with the foal that wanted to jump me and the fence, a quick desisive thwack in the face with a fist showed him that I was to be respected and got me a heck of a lot farther than just threatening yesterday. Didn't have to repeatedly threaten and hope he didn't try anything. Like the mares disiplinging their foals and maintaining the herd order, punishment is swift and hard but consistent and fair. In a split second I proved I was serious and all problems with him jumping me were solved. Herd lesson #2 solve whatever problem there is quickly and directly then move on. Then keep the problem solved by not wavering in whatever punishment it is. The mares don't let the babies crowd or push them. Or lower ranking mares do the same. Everytime one tries a quick bite restores order. Not once did punishment move beyond a bite or kick and when the horse was out of their space all was back to normal. The punishment was always the exact same for each infraction and every single infraction of the herd rules brought a punishment every time. Corrections/punishments should happen to maintain order but need to be short, consistent and everything goes back to normal after. Both things are lessons taught to every rider but seeing it like that put more meaning to the words.
We're an hour or so away from the ranch with the babies right behind us. Its going to be a busy week with them to deal with and a championship show Friday. Plus we've got two other farms to visit Monday and Tuesday. There is a jumping derby Saturday with an auction that night as well. Craziness in Argentina! Starting early tomorrow at 6:30 am to get everone ridden before an afternoon on the road! 

Sheep, hogs, the pampas and one of the old farm hands houses.

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