Today was finally the day. The sun was out though it was quite windy, and we were both down at the pasture with the horses. It was time to for Alexios to finally understand the purpose of this purple, jangly thing he'd met on a number of occasions.
It was a rodeo at first. I had to catch and hold him, not an easy thing to do with such a large colt. I finally realized just how big our boy has become when I tried to get my arms around his neck and his rear in hopes of holding him in place. The reality was I had one arm around his neck and the other over his back and down around his belly. I had to press my leg up against his hind quarters in order to hold him in place. Once I had him securely held, Deb slipped the halter gently over his nose and then cinched it on his head.
He did not approve. I managed to get a lead rope attached to the halter, and then the great pulling match began. He wanted to pull away, and this was not something that could be allowed. He is a strong little bugger so holding onto him was not easy. We ended up half way across the pen before he finally realized that his method was not working. Also, something really fascinating happened - Anastacia intervened. She realized what we were trying to accomplish with him, and so she got behind him, and essentially held him in place.
Once things had settled down it was time for Deb to step in and work her magic.
The idea was not just that he stop fighting, but that he relax enough to forget about the halter and lead rope.
Slowly he let her get closer.
He had to try to resist but Anastacia was right there, keeping him calm.
Finally, once he realized he was going to come to no harm, he seemed to really try to understand what Deb was wanting from him.
I love this quizzical look on his face.
Anastacia gave him reassurance, and he let Deb reach out and give him a scratch.
Through all of this, Deb had been standing with her side turned towards him. This is a less threatening posture to have with a horse and will help put them at ease. If you are approaching a nervous horse it is always best to present your side and not front as it is less confrontational.
This was the moment for which we'd been waiting. Alexios forgot about the halter and lead rope, and made a friendly gesture toward Deb. It was now time to take the halter off.
As soon as it was off his head he whinnied to all the horses. "I survived!"
They all whinnied back. "Good job, young man!"
Almost immediately, he began to nurse as a way to comfort himself and be reassured by his momma.
The other horses stood by in a show of support.
Anastacia wasn't too pleased when Favorito got a little too close for her taste, and she showed him this by laying back her ears and turning her rear toward him. She also made sure that she was between Favorito and Alexios.
It was a successful training session with Alexios, and once we saw that everyone was very relaxed, we left them alone.
We were around the property for awhile longer, and when we left, Alexios was stretched out in the sun, fast asleep. He'd had a big day.