The time had come to leave the front yard, and get Harley to his new work environment.
I caught him with minimal effort. Halter waistband dressed, cookie in hand, I walked confidently to him (after he trotted to the back of the pasture). He took a few steps away, and when I calmly said, "Whoa", he stopped, and looked at me again. Haltered, I led him to the leadrope, and then out of the pasture.
To the trailer, for a quick brush and more fly spray. He flinched very little at back legs getting sprayed. So, I got brave again, and grabbed my hoof pick. I very carefully lifted all four feet. He gave them well, though reluctant to pick them up. He didn't wiggle around or fight me - I didn't even get tail-swished. Success...
I took off the short leadrope, and replaced it with a slightly longer one, with a leather popper on the end. I also put my dressage gloves on. I wasn't going to lose hand skin on this adventure.
To the arena we went. Well, we tried. At first, I realized Ransom was still out and free. Big mistake. R and I tried to shuffle Ransom to his paddock, and he fought us. Fought us hard. With much forcing, Ransom slumped to his paddock. During all this, of course, Harley is on the end of my lead rope, scared spitless. Poor Kid. He wanted to respect me, respect whatever I was doing twirling the lead rope, but also stay WAY out of Ransom's way. LOL I praised Harley for staying 90% calm during Ransom's "arrest".
Harley got to the arena after that without effort. I walked through some stickie mud, and he followed very carefully. We got to the high part of the arena, and I proceeded to try to lunge him. He tugged on me some, pulled me around the arena a while, then realized that to get me off his nose, he needed to leave the rope loose. To leave the rope loose, he had to stay on a nice circle. To stay on a nice, calm circle, he had to slow down.
It was Gawgeous. Absolutely breathtaking. He's got the most amazing trot. I Wuv It!
We also worked on "whoa". The first two or three took tugs,, of varying significance. By the end, Harley learned that, if he watches my body language, and stops when I get in front of his shoulder, stopping is very painless. I got a nice, solid halt, facing up to me each time. Happily, he doesn't stop and then barge into my space - he will "face up", and take a step or two towards me, then halt, and wait for a cue to come forward. very very nice.
I also did a few turns on fore, turns on haunches. These all went a little better. Then, onto desensitizing. I tossed the rope at him, at his back, butt, shoulders, neck, front legs, back legs. The only place I got the slightest panic? Back legs, left side. I had to toss the rope a half dozen times before he relaxed. I have heard natural horsemanship trainers all say "if you do it on one side, you have to do it on the other, too." Romeo and Harley have both proven them wrong at this. Once Romeo was calm on one side, he was simple on the other. Harley - exact same way. EXACT same way..
He did very very well. We played together for about a half hour, maybe a few minutes more. When I walked him back to the trailer, I stopped a few times, and he stopped with me. Really cool! I walked on, he walked on.
I am, as Mrs. Mom would put it so gracefully, the Boss Hoss. Alpha Mare! CEO Chief Horse-Feeder... (or something like that).
He will enjoy two days off. Me? I get one, then it's back to Ransom, and a three day weekend.