So apperently we weren’t very creative naming Medicine Hat so we just called him exactly that. He’s a beautiful Nokota I worked with in North Dakota that had never been handled before.
I was picked to work with him and I was very excited. He is a very pretty boy!
He was pretty sensitive which is new for me, most of the horses I’ve worked with at the colt start have been more left brain, he was more skeptical and it took longer for me to work up to the point of connection. He was GO GO GO! with every little thing. So this was an adjustment in myself I’ve never had to make before. I had to get really quiet, really calm, even calmer then I felt and we slowly worked our way up to the first touch.
As soon as he realized It wasn’t a tiger paw on his whithers but actually a strange monkey paw that felt weird but also kinda good especially when “it” used the non leathel claws to scratch….he started to calm down. He accepted leading very easily with the rope on his neck and looked eager and interested in me every step of the way. Of course I felt an overwhelming warming sensation in my heart for him.
Then it was time for the haltering.
Well, that was a problem. We found out very quickly he was teething…so every movement I made with the halter was causing him pain. He started to react very severly, trying to jump out of the pen and simply get away from me. Jack Lieser, the clinician saw this instantly and took over for me.
By this time, Medicine Hat being as reactive as he had shown when we started working together was starting to get very scared and was at the blow up stage. Jack had a very gentle but strong conversation with him because he quickly needed to get Medicine hat to realize we were not trying to hurt him.
I was amazed at the discussion I was witnessing. Jack had gotten him to understand the halter and humans didn’t mean pain, he got him calm enough to gently take off the halter. Medicine Hat calmly walked back to the herd.
Later on that same evening, he was right up to the fence with the other Nokota’s we worked with that day, getting attention and scratches from humans. Somehow Jack was able to completely get him to understand what happened earlier was a mistake and we didn’t mean him harm. We could jump right in the arena and socialize with him, he showed us, he likes the butt scratches the best. I love how much this horse taught me about skeptisism, signals of pain, and most of all of acceptance when you get it right. It was a very valuable lesson to me and I am amazed how quickly he understood. Jack, of course is the best horseman I have ever met and seeing him get thru to this horse with minimal stress and ease made my head spin. I don’t know if I will or even could be as good as he is but I do know I am very happy and lucky he’s one of my trainers.
Here’s a shot of Medicine Hat being cute after the morning event, wondering what the camera is: