First Halter for Omega and Unity!
I just had to link the footage from each of the Soul Sisters together, because this so embodies their beautiful differences and how I am connecting with each wild horse in their own way.
This is footage from yesterday, the first day I put a halter on either of the Soul Sisters. I worked with each of them for about 30 minutes to prep them for this and the video is the actual First time they had a halter put on.
Unity is first and she has been so in tune to my Energy Flow from the start. I connected with her through mirrored Grazing Mode Energy and she melted into the ground, growing roots deep into the earth and grounding herself in our shared space.
Looking at this you might think she was just oblivious to the halter and not concerned about it at all, but she certainly was cautious at first. (I have not used any ropes or anything of the sort so far, so this is the first introduction for both horses to something that is not just my physical hand, touching them) I did a lot of prep with her, basically practicing every component of putting the halter on, as an individual task. From slipping a rope over her muzzle, to draping a rope around her throat latch, to even pretending to tie the rope beside her left eye. I did all of these things as individual tasks and helped her build confidence with each component before doing it all together.
Unity’s left side is her slightly more cautious side, so for me to tie the halter on her left was a really big deal. She had been uneasy about me touching her ear moments before this footage. So I practiced that and it quickly became something that actually brought her peace, not fear. That is why I am doing it as I halter her.
With Omega, I used an entirely different form of communication, but it was also entirely the same, in that I broke everything down into small pieces and practiced each thing individually. You can only tell a horse ‘yes’ to one thing at a time (this goes for your kids, yourself and the universe too) so when I have a goal that involves the horse experiencing many new things. Like putting a halter on, I must slice it down to all the pieces of it, so that I can clearly say Yes to one piece at a time. It would seem this would be a slow process, but it is amazingly fast, because it actually makes sense to the horse.
So, any of you that have been following know that I am using a lot of Positive Reinforcement (+R) with Omega. Now, this is not just being nice and giving her lots of positive encouragement. I do that with both horses, more so this is actually a technique used by Dolphins trainers (and many horse trainers now days too) It builds confidence in the horse because it offers them some control. It also gives you a crystal clear way to say Yes, that thought was Right! Omega has done very well with it and I thought it only natural to use this communication to introduce the halter.
I broke all the components of haltering down into every layer needed. The layers were different with Omega than Unity, and not because of the different forms of communication, but because of the different doorways in which I can enter each horse. This is a bit of a whole new subject, but in a nut shell, Unity’s door is on her shoulder and Omega’s is in front of her face. So, I took this into consideration as I planned the ‘how’ of placing the halter on each wild horse for the first time.
With Omega, seeing as she loves having some control in the situation, I thought it would be fun to let her meet me halfway and put the halter on herself as much as possible. So our prep was a lot of having her drop her face into the halter. We practiced the nose of the halter separately from the throat latch part. I basically taught her to drop her head until she made soft contact with the rope, be it around her muzzle or under her throat-latch area. We also worked a lot on my hands up high, beside both of her eyes, which was scary for her at first. This was a necessity if I intended to put the halter on from the front, which I did. I also practiced, moving into her left eye to pretend to tie the halter rope. This was the biggest challenge for her, because like Unity, her left eye is her more fearful side (a lot more so that Unity though) but it was amazing how fast she got it. (btw, if you are watching this with the sound off, everytime you see me deliver a food reward to Omega, it follows my ‘cluck’ that tagged the moment she thought about dropping her head, therefore saying Yes to that thought. As we progress I will not continue to need to cluck and reward EVERY time she thinks about lowering her head, Ultimately I will simply hold the halter up and let her drop her nose in and she will keep her head low as I tie it. But at this stage in the process, it serves as a great reminder to her that Yes, she is on the right track, this gives her HUGE confidence and relaxes her)
After all these pieces and layers were fine tuned, we simply put it all together. Which is what you see in the clips, the last step.
Today, I used the same methods to put fly masks on the Soul Sisters (yes, Omega helped me put on her’s 😉 ) and for the first time they could stand in the bright sun and have shade, everywhere they are. I used some old ones I had, as I am still searching for the perfect brand to use for these girls. They will pretty much live in them, so it needs to be just right. I very much appreciate all the feedback for recommendations on fly masks for shade. Lots of options out there.
from our light to yours Mary Miller Jordan and the #SoulSisters