I am loathe to admit this, but I was at a total loss for a few days. The only reassuring thing was that I had two other friends going through the same things with their youngsters. We were all at a total loss.
First things first though, he came off the grass. That helped..
Secondly, he had become very, very reliant on Muffin, and that was at the detriment of his relationship with me. He didnt need a bar of me, while Aunty Muff was around to take him under her wing and to protect him from that nasty, nasty tall lady with the feed bucket and halter, alternating between looking totally bewildered, and ready to cry.
So, Muff has gone home for a holiday - just for a few weeks. And gosh, yes, that made a difference too. Now he calls out to me when he sees me (and thats gotta be good for the self esteem.... ok, I have no life...)
Thirdly, and here's the weird part, I found help in an unexpected place. As I think I said, Troy is the first unhandled horse that I have had, in 30 years of horse ownership. Lots of good advice coming from all quarters, but nothing really seemed to gel. Anyway, in desperation, I did what we all do... but don't admit... I googled. And found a website belonging to Franklin Levinson, who I had not heard of before. Anyway, his advice on catching timid horses (I really felt troys issues were out of fear, not naughtiness) struck a chord, so I tried it. And bugger me, it worked. Lots and lots of "joining up", "bonding", call it whatever you like, but basically its involved a very, very passive way of taking over Troy's space, until he turns and comes to me. A little like the Monty Roberts stuff, but a lot more passive.
And the nice thing is that Franklin emails, free of charge, his advice. And it has bloody well worked. And has taught me a few lessons in patience. So I have had to swallow all the facetious things I have said in the past about natural horsemanship, or whatever you'd like to call it.
It was frustrating at times, as I am not a patient person by nature. But, I now feel like I have his trust, which I never had completely. And the halter is back on, and we are tying up again, and all the rest. Without bribery, or trickery, which is fantastic. Without dramas, and without fence jumping...
So, happy stories. Its been very humbling for me. I've gone from hardly believing what a doddle this whole young horse thing is, to falling flat on my face (figuratively!) and completely losing faith in myself to make it right, and now I feel confident, but far, far more aware, that I can do this, and make a lovely horse out of him, with a lot of time and patience.
Anyway, thats the end of my epistle!! I'll get some more pics over the next few days. Honestly I will..... :o)