Sunday, October 30, 2011

Progress for Everyone

It's been several days since I worked with the horses at all because of both the rain and trying to finally get my studio/work space whipped back into shape so I can actually/hopefully make some money before the holiday shopping season is history. I also cleaned all of my tack yesterday in anticipation of riding again soon. I haven't even fed the horses for three days because Steve has been home and eager to find something he can do with his injured ribs so he volunteered to take care of both morning and evening feeding since Thursday night. I expected them to be happier to see me but they barely acknowledged that I'd arrived and seemed more intent on seeing if Steve had brought any food with him. I guess, as long as they were getting what they wanted as in food, they probably didn't even notice I was absent. My hurt feelings didn't last for long. I walked them all into the round pen...they will at least still follow where I lead even at liberty. Then I decided to work with Danny first. Of course, eager Django was trying his best to get in on the act which probably wasn't helping Danny to listen and obey but Dan was definitely not on his best behavior. I started getting frustrated because he was not only not listening to me but was fighting me every step of the way. Steve told me to cool down and remember patience. So, I got him to stand still for a few minutes...which is all he wanted to do any way....and leave the grass alone and then I let him go with plans to come back to him later after I finished with the two big guys.

I expected Riley to be more difficult because of the amount of time since our last session. At first it seemed he was going to be and then suddenly (this always surprises me) he gave in, he stood still and didn't move a muscle as I slipped the halter on his head. Then I walked him over to the the lead rope, fastened it and led him out of the round pen leaving the other two boys there me, it's good for both of them. I took him to the tying post, tied him and then started grooming him. His tail is a proper mess and I should have attacked it but I thought that we'd already had a major victory so I wouldn't push my luck today by trying too much. I wanted to keep this grooming session as pleasant an experience as possible. He may be difficult to catch but once he's haltered, Riley is a perfect gentleman. I groomed him and then worked on those bot flies that have been driving me crazy for so long. He's long over due for worming, too but I don't think a few more days wait will hurt. He was so patient and so still while I worked on scraping off fly eggs and scrubbing at the caked mud with the curry. I then used a couple of polishing brushes on him and let him go with a kiss and a lot of praise.

Next, I let Django out. I don't need the round pen to catch him and he was already halfway to the tying post before I closed the gate behind him anyway. I put the halter on him, tied him up and then went through the same grooming regime with him. I didn't tackle his tangled tail either but that day is coming soon.

Finally, I picked up my grooming bag and went back to the round pen and Danny. Considering his earlier behavior, I was really expecting a battle but instead of fighting me, he walked over to me and dropped his head so that I could halter him. Then I backed him up, side stepped to both sides, did a turn on the hind quarters and then led him around the pen like he'd been doing it his entire life. Instead of tying him, Steve volunteered to hold him while I groomed. I don't even know if that was necessary as he relaxed so that he cocked that rear hoof into sleep position and was quietly chewing as I brushed him and cut off bott fly eggs. He was perfect. After I finished grooming, I walked him around one more time but he was starting to lose patience with me by then. I have to keep reminding myself that this big boy is still a baby in a lot of ways and he doesn't have the attention span that the other horses do. I need to keep our sessions short but do them more often from now on....just like Huston told me to do.

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