I did another session with Rowan (and I’m very proud of that). Today I introduced her to the first stages of being tied. When we first started, I looped the lead rope on her halter through an Aussie tie ring. I didn’t tie it, or even loop it around the center thingy. I just ran it through the ring and held the end.
I groomed her right side, and she stood quietly. When I switched sides, I looped the lead rope around the center thingy so it would be a little more taut. I held onto the end so if she pulled back, I could control whether or not she got any slack. When I moved back toward her back end on her left side, she pulled back a couple of times. I held the rope and waited for her to offer even a bit of slack. She thought about it… and then took a step forward. Click! She didn’t even seem close to panicking, even when she was unable to pull away.
After I groomed both sides, I decided to see if she remembered any of the work with her hooves I did last summer. I ran my hand down her front right leg, and she shifted her weight and lifted it. Click! I did it again, and she again stepped back and lifted the foot. I held it several seconds, and then set it down. Good girl.
Next session we’ll work more on her feet. The problem I have with her feet is that rather than just lifting them, she always takes a step back first. It doesn’t matter whether the foot is back, forward, or square; she takes that step. I need to figure out how to communicate that she just needs to lift the foot, not step back and lift.