Jackson has come a long way in a very short amount of time, when it comes to being handled and socialized. He now willingly and purposefully comes to greet me when I arrive and will hang out while I brush the big horse and is even almost ok with the idea of being brushed himself. He doesn’t put up a fight when you pick out his feet, and he can be touched all over without any kind of aggressive response (he just pins his ears and sighs like he can’t believe this is his life). I can catch him in under 5 minutes, and once caught, he just does the above, rather than trying to get away.
The one topic we have not made much ground on is leading. He is not in any way, shape, or form interested in being told where to go. We have been trying that classic approach, of applying pressure until he takes a step forward and then releasing, but this has not gotten us anywhere. He literally will take one step and resume his standing and bracing. Every once in awhile, we get 3 or 4 steps and I think “Yes! He’s finally getting the idea!” only to then find I have a donkey* again on the other end of the lead rope.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful that this little guy just plants his feet and freezes. I could have a wild mustang kicking, rearing, bucking and striking at the other end of that rope.
Jackson received his first set of vaccines on Friday, and the vet commented on his donkey-esque behavior. I just smiled at the other end of the leadline with my baby 6 feet away, feet planted, neck outstretched, eyes closed and said “this is my life”.
*Please understand that this post is in no way is a slight to donkeys. I love those little guys very much, and they have a great purpose and I personally know several that are far more well behaved than this weanling. Simply playing on the stereotype that they are stubborn.