Welcome to my blog - a diary about living with donkeys, notes about care, my training sessions and the absolute pleasure of donkey companionship.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A controlled experiment!

Ah!  At last a break from the rain - everything is so muddy.  We are supposed to be in for a good stretch of weather for the next few days.
Have closed off one of the paddocks to the donkeys and plan to reseed with pasture mix and let things regenerate until next Fall.

So, the donkeys have a bit less space to roam.  I decided to open up an area of short grass near the pond.  Set up a phony "electric" fence and will only allow brief periods of munching until they get used to it.  But rather than just open up the gate and let them in, I decided to use the opportunity to walk Ringo in, with halter and lead to see if he would pull towards the grass or listen to cues.

I halted him along the way to the grassy area every ten paces or so.  At first he was stopping and pawing and pulling away before he even realized where we were headed.  But I calmly persisted, diverted his head away from me and swung his hips around whenever he ended up facing the wrong way.

After some monkey business on his part though he just suddenly relaxed and was great.  He halted at the gate to the new area and we walked in, still stopping every few paces.  I didn't push it and let him graze
after he had "obeyed" me for a few steps on the grass.  I didn't want to frustrate him.

Went to get the jennys and let them onto the grass too.  After a half hour or so, I snapped the lead rope back onto Ringo's halter and he was an absolute angel about leaving the area with me.  Tied him to a tree while I convinced the jennys to depart also (which took awhile in Deenah's case.)

I will work in this area every day if possible as it is enclosed and the perfect place to work with Ringo on grass.  Should make the transition to the road easier if I feel I can control him here.

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