My recent posts on the Connection Club No.6

Tomorrow the big fight starts. We let the mustangs just hang out on the first day. Training starts on Day 2. We each are supposed to have our own animals, but ol’ Bob likes to run them under the rope on the first day while they are still in their bands.

In all honesty, running them under the rope is a very brilliant training protocol. You hang a 50 ft rope on the side of a 60 ft pen and you start very slowly pushing them back and forth under the rope until they realize that you just stand when they are under the rope, so they figure out that being under the rope takes all the pressure off. Having a rope across their neck, back, etc. becomes a source of comfort to them.

I don’t want to do it because it requires “chasing” them however mildly and I am totally focused on decreasing flight distance. I want to hand feed them instead and get them to touch me. I think if we get them to start approaching us its better than using their flight distance to habituate them to the rope. I would rather let them go under a rope because I indicated to them I wanted them to go under the rope after the bond of trust is solid.

But Bob cannot understand why I would object. And if I was to say, “okay,” then he would take that as a green light to do what ever he pleased to my horses. One day he went into the pen of recently gelded horses, of which about half were horses I was working with and he started tossing his ropes on them. I was furious. Finally I just went and opened the gates on the pen he was in and let all the horses escape into the alley, saying I was taking my horses out. He was left with one pitiful looking old gelding that I had clicker trained to put his head in a rope loop. Bob kept tossing his rope on the old horse for a minute not knowing quite how to respond to such a bold move on my part. The horse did not seem to mind.

We are each allowed to take five horses at a time. I am here 24/7 and I put the most time into my horses. Bob is here about 3 hrs a day, and KC is here about 1 hr a day, so when we don’t have enough horses I think they should be mine. We have to decide how to handle that tomorrow. The problem is that the horses can get adopted out from under you before you get them to pass inspection so you can get paid. I was going to try to take five of the new horses and let the others divide up the other four, but adopters showed up and took three of the ones I was looking at. It’s better to train the old ugly ones in a way as you can really make a difference in how adoptable they are.

I wish the contract specified an at-liberty flight distance rather than pettable on a lead rope.

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