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What's Happening Today - We're still High & Wild, with a few thoughts about roping a horse.

As with a lot of things, there are good and bad ways to go about them.  Roping a horse a manner that is smooth, calm and effective can be a low stress way to build a rapport between horse and human.  Used properly, it can build confidence, respect, and help the horse learn how to yield from pressure and follow a feel.  Used improperly, it can create the opposite - a lot of brace and fear.

Well, we successfully made our way through over a hundred head of horses this week, making a significant improvement in them all.  Some had never been touched, and by the end of the week we could walk up to most any of them in the corral, catch them with a halter and lead them out.  Some we halter broke, worked with all of them to follow a feel on a rope, and to be able to pick up and handle their feet.  We prepared lots for the first rides when they get a little older, fixed a few issues in some, and made the whole herd a lot more accepting of people.  This has a lasting impact because the brood mares pass their opinions and ways to their offspring through thier body language in various situations. For example, even in ways as subtle as their posture, the tension in thier bodies or lack of it, when they look at people approaching in the distance when they are out ranging on the side of a mountain.  How long they watched - did they resume grazing, or prepare for flight?   If they ran off, how long did they run, at what angle, how fast, and how often did they look back.  For horses, everything means something, and something means everything.  With not a word spoken.  I love it!

This little fellow is expressing his opinion of the rope.  Freedom of expression is a good thing, to giving him the chance to make up his own mind about what is being presented instead of forcing it on him.  Glenn just allows him to wear the rope, and have it touch him all over, note the slack in the line.

Pretty soon he decides that making a big fuss isn’t helping, and there isn’t that much to worry about anyway.  Notice the rope wrapped around and touching his legs, I don't know if you can see it from there, but it makes a complete circuit and back around.  He might wait for the colt to make the first contact with his hand.

In this picture, Glenn has looped the rope under the little fellows jaw, and is working on being able to touch him, move him off the slightest pressure of the rope, change eyes.  Notice how Glenns posture is non threatening, how his body is opened more away from the horse with his shoulder and back more towards his nose.  Very inviting for the horse to not move off to the right, even though his body is positioned this way.   He is starting to get comfortable and trust the human and his tools.  The relationship is starting.

Can you see the curiosity?  Quite a contrast to the first picture; the story has changed, and the relationship is starting to build.   This little guy made a big change as he had a lot of innate exuberance to begin with.  Seeing his perspective on things respected and natural dignity preserved throughout the process was beautiful to watch.

Along with the Colt Starting and Horse Development we managed to bring in another herd of horses off the side of Horseshoe Mountain, which went like clockwork.  Everyone was perfectly positioned and held their spots to keep them heading towards the lodge, and did a great job of staying back and pausing often enough to keep them from getting their adrenaline/flight tendency up.  We are joined by a new group of people and we are looking forward to another action packed week and some gorgeous scenery.  Today they headed up to "Gary's Hole" - a beautiful little spot nestled in the top of a meadow draw, beside some timber and a little spring.  It is up pretty high, between two mountain passes and was named "Gary's Hole" after Glenns Great Uncle Gary Powell, who was the original Outfitter in this area.  A legend of a man with a fabulous sense of humour who inspired many of Glenns ways and values.  I stayed behind today to catch up on a few things - I joked to Glenn as he left by the end of the day I'd have the laundry done, the website updated, a colt started and an bay outlaw named "Romeo" tuned up, my nails done and probably a real good nap, ha ha!  Stay tuned for updates to come in the days ahead as we have a Manitobian and UK influence on things this week!

A bit of tension in the human?

But it all worked out in the end!