A Day on the Farm- Learning to Lead

Lark looking at the camera

Well, it’s the end of the day here and I am taking the time to write this blog post before I grain. Yes, I know I am going to be graining late but the horses will have something to eat later on in the evening.

Today was a HUGE day for miss Lark. She was led all the way out to the paddock and led almost all the way in. Lark is a case of needing to wait and hold on (figuratively, not literally). One of the biggest things I learned from Dude and then used on her was the thought process that if they feel the need to bolt, let them. Haltering I got down pretty well. I have method for getting a halter on a horse but now, I have a method for leading. This method might change and it probably doesn’t work for every horse but it did work for Dude and it seems to be working for Lark.

Lark wanted to do a sleep over. Dusti and I said no.

Lark is starting to get the idea of the haltering process, she still doesn’t like it, doesn’t quite understand why she needs to wear one but she is getting better about trusting me and allowing me to do things. Around the two year mark Lark finally allowed me to go on her right side and touch it. She now watches me with both eyes instead of one.

Lark has such an interesting personality. It is both cute and annoying. There are time when I say “really???” Because she takes forever to put things together.  I.e. if she follows me she gets treats. She also forgot she had feet when I starting working with her giving to pressure last night. I asked her to move sideways, she was so focused on trying to do what I asked while keeping her feet still that she actually stepped on her right front foot with her left front.  She then had a mini panic/reaction moment but settled down and stopped to think.

The Lark from a year ago would have bolted and ran around the paddock like and idiot. Lark of today did a mini rear to get off her foot, went back a few steps but let me catch her halter and repeat the process of teaching her to yield to pressure. Lark has grown by leaps and bounds. We have had a bumpy journey, one that many people have helped with. I am thankful for those people. I hope Lark will continue to progress.

The biggest thing that Lark has developed is the ability to think before she reacts. If she reacts she is better able to stop and assess the situation before going into full panic mode. I believe that she will get better about not freaking out over things. What I’ve noticed is that she will panic over more things after she’s gone through a flight response.

This afternoon she almost led into her stall on the lead rope but she panicked and needed to bolt, so I let her blast through the rope. I let go and she had her freak out. I fixed what caused her panic and then I went to collect her. She was a little confused as to what happened but didn’t go into full blown melt down mode.

I was able to bring her back and we were almost in the aisleway when she stepped on a piece of paper bag. The crinkly noise freaks her out. I could tell she was tired and really wanted to use the paper bag as an excuse to bolt. She didn’t though. She took a step back and started thinking. So I picked up the piece of paper and showed her I wasn’t going to hurt her. Then we did a little more baby steps while on the lead line. At that point I realized mentally, she was done. She needed to go back to something she felt confident in. Working with Lark is confounding, she really tries but they way she processes how things happen is so strange. I wish I could figure out why she acts the way she does but at the end of the day, she and I are learning to go in steps and small chunks.

I would love to write more but I need to feed the animals and go to sleep. There were many times throughout the day that I wanted to write this post but I got distracted by the animals. Rest easy everyone and stay tuned for more!

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