In this session, I switched to using the lead rope on the halter instead of the 20′ cotton rope that I have been using up to this point. This is the next step in introducing Timber to the halter and eventually getting it on him. Little did I know that we would actually get the halter on him in this session.
Since I was able to flip the rope over Timber’s neck from only about 3-4′ away, I figured now I could “catch him” with the 12′ lead rope on the halter. The idea of this next step is to let Timber get used to the look and feel of this new (to him) lead rope and halter. I would start introducing him to the feel of the nose band going over his nose and, when I felt he was ready, I would slip the nose band over his muzzle and see what he would let me do next. This process went so well that I had the nose band on and the halter tied before I realized what we had just accomplished! It was truly amazing.
Timber is trying so hard to overcome his past and wanting to trust me. He still has moments of fright and wanting to flee but they are becoming more and more infrequent.
Now that I have a halter on him, it is much easier to work on the next steps. I have mentioned working on “games” with Timber. Let me further elaborate. When I got my first horse (at 47 years old) I set off to research various training techniques and approaches. I settled on the Pat Parelli approach. In his Level I training kit there are 7 games that you do on the ground to help establish clear communication and partnership between you and your horse. I have used these to great effect with many horses. While there are many approaches out there, I found one that works for me and really have no reason to change. Note, this was the “old” Level I training kit not the “new” training kits that came out after Linda Parelli joined the effort. I have seen some of the newer stuff and have to admit that I think it’s not as good as much of the pre-Linda stuff that Pat was doing. ‘Nuff said.