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adam-and-j

  The horses have been at Jason’s for a month and a half now; not all of that time in training, of course – work schedules and weather take precedence as they should – but they’ve been getting schooled in all the basics and have really come a long way.  Mel and Adam have handled them nearly every day and worked with Jason on all the lessons so this is a real team effort.  I am glad we were able to get the horses to them well before they were finished with their Biological Woodsmen apprenticeship, so they are part of the girls’ training right from the start.  It will make for a very strong bond between the young horses and handlers, I think.

The weather was cold and nasty as January finished out, so they spent time in the barn, introducing them to bits in their mouths and simply handling them a lot on the ground including mane and forelock thinning.  They discovered J didn’t like being touched on her poll or top of the head, and would fret and shake her head, so that had to be worked through.  Adam is very tall (he makes her look small in the photo above but she’s really a brute) and exceptionally patient, which helped a great deal. 

Next they sacked them out with an old bridle, and put the harness on them.  More bit familiarity, learning to be comfortable with it in their mouths, eat around it, and yield to pressure as a signal.   Jason wrote, “They are getting better manners every day, and we will keep up their handling toward the end of them being productive working animals.”  I’d remarked they were like kindergarten students, to which Jason replied they were more at an elementary school level – such good news to hear. 

Hooves were trimmed the next week, and the horses did very well – all the daily handling had paid off.  On February 5th Jason wrote, “I think they did very well with the foot work.  Having good control on their head and teaching them about standing still, respecting our space and being rewarded for submitting to our handling of their feet is important.  They are tractable.  We will make great horses out of them.”  

They are spending time in separate box stalls during the day, which is making them braver and less attached to each other as a herd, and better animals all around.  School is going well.

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