Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Some Plans for Orion...

So, Ethan is coming up to see Orion today (hopefully) with his sister and maybe their mom.  I'm not sure who all is on the roster for the visit. lol  But I'm excited.  I can't wait for all my friends to meet Orion.  I think he could win over anyone.  He's so sweet and gentle and gorgeous.  I mean seriously, all he has to do is look at me with his big eyes and his ears pricked and I freakin' melt.  He's that cute.  And so far he's responding well to me, which is great.  No real bond there yet, but it's a good start so far.

I'm going to read about some stretching exercises to do for his legs and some massage stuff while I wait for some definite plans to be made for later today.  Everyone is busy right now, so I don't want to bother them about it at the moment.

I think one thing I'm definitely going to do today, because I think it's so damn cool, is lunge him. I've tried explaining how it's done to Ethan, but I think it's something that you can't understand the allure of until you actually see it in action.  It's all about body language, as Liz told me.  She had to teach me the other day because I had never done it before.  I've read about how to do it, but not actually done it.  And really, it's not that hard; it just took me a few minutes to get the hang of it.  Every time I stopped driving Orion around the circle, he didn't just stop.  He actually came to me.  It was so sweet.  I couldn't believe it.  He may have just been trained to do that; I'm not sure.  But one thing I did notice was that on that day, when I put him back out in the field, he immediately came into the barn and waited for me to come in.  I'd only been out there twice before, but when I put him in the field, he just went on doing his thing, eating and walking around.  Sunday though, he came and waited for me.  Whether for treats or because he wanted to be around me, I don't know.  He got both though.  I started teaching him to "kiss" while he was there. lol

I think that lunging might be another way I can start to build a bond with him.  Simply put, when you lunge, if you do it right, you're speaking the horse's language.  Facing them head on is aggressive.  It's what a head mare will do when one of the herd is in trouble or needs put in their place.  When you turn sideways to them, it's passive.  It's like saying "Okay, you can stop now."  So they do.  They stop.  

One of the things I'm interested in doing with Orion is join-up.  It follows the same kind of rules as lunging does.  You act aggressive and send them out to the outside of the circle, except in this case, you don't have a lunge line attached.  They are free.  They move around you in that circle, and eventually, they will want to stop.  In the herd, it's like asking permission to come back in after they've been chased away.  The signs that they want to come back to you are fixing their inner ear on you to show you they are paying attention, dropping their head lower, and licking and chewing.  Once they've done all of this, they'll usually come into the middle with you if you let them stop.  And remember, nothing is attached to them, so no one is making them do it.  You resume a passive position, and they decide to come to you.  

It helps build the bond stronger, because you've proven to them that you can speak their language and they got to make their own choice about you.  It builds trust.  I want to do that with Orion someday.  For now though, I'll just stick to gentle lunging, because I don't want him to work too hard with his legs being the way they are.  Sometimes join-up can take a while.  I don't think it would with him, but I don't want to risk overworking him.  So that will be saved for another day.

For right now, I'm sticking to reading my new book on essential oils so that I can learn more about aromatherapy and how it can be used.  I want to learn all I can before I start it with him so that I can make the most out of what I do. :)

And that's what I'm going to go work on right now! :D