Last night (wow, I’m actually caught up!), I headed up to see Smokey after work. From the driveway, I heard him neighing at the other horses down the hill. He’s still alone in his pen in the paddock just in case the other horses want to torment him or he manages to get loose.
Footing is still terrible and the poor guy is still sliding around. He seems to be increasingly angry about this, and I can’t blame him.
I’m trying, bud, but you have to let me put a halter on!
He met me at the gate and I proceeded to brush him on all the spots he loves to be brushed. As footing and logistics allowed (didn’t want to be cornered by his butt), I removed the remaining auction tag glue and tried to brush some of the pink runoff from it off. He’s still got a few pink marks on him, but it’s getting better. I re-brushed his front legs and kept running my hands over his face. He would still shy away, but not as violently as before. Progress.
We tried giving him carrots, sugar cubes and various other treats to no avail. He wouldn’t touch any of them out of my hand. We finally gave up and threw them in the hay manger where he was nibbling on the hay nubbins that had fallen into the bottom. From time to time, he would pick up a treat and chew it, though it seemed relatively begrudgingly. He also didn’t go for the sweet feed we tried to tempt him with. He’s awfully stubborn.
Such a stubborn boy.
Here’s the thing about Smokey and his hay – he is super picky. All along, he has made it clear that he will only eat the parts he likes; the remainder will go on the ground. I would say about half of his Bermuda mix ends up trampled on the ground.
But the good news from last night is that I’m finally able to grab his nose and move his head around a little. I think this is an important step towards getting him into a halter. I did try to put his nose into the noseband of the rope halter I have for him with a little success. The first couple times he let me put it partly on his nose, but then pulled away. With the mud and his pulling power, I didn’t want to risk it too much. I went back to the rope around the neck and pulled his around a little just to get that mojo going. He’s still fairly resistant, but making progress.
We re-rigged the pen panel that is attached to the fence after he made a rather bold move to put his head between the two. I didn’t want any escape attempts (I’m still paranoid that I’ll get a call that he’s caught in the panels) so I’m trying to minimize his opportunities. Soon enough, he’ll be able to go out and make some friends.
He is still hot and cold about being brushed. From time to time, he will just walk away from me while I’m brushing him. Generally, he comes back, but last night I could tell he was somewhat cranky, so I let him move off and be by himself for a few minutes before approaching him again. I think the mud and lack of friends to play with is getting to him. The sooner he’s into a halter, the better.
Aside: Before you view the next set of pictures, know that I don’t really look like this. I am the least photogenic person I have ever met, so look at the horse, not me.
Grooming montage from last night.
He also got to meet my two dogs through the fence. He is FASCINATED by them. The first time he saw a dog, I think he was pretty upset and scared, but he seems to have come to realize they are innocuous. I don’t think he would pulverize them if there was no fence in between, but my dogs aren’t well-versed in horses, so they’d probably get stepped on anyhow. We’ll keep a fence in between for now.
No one was sure of anyone else in this picture.
Thanks to my mom for taking some pictures with my phone! It’s certainly harder to take anything worthwhile myself when you really need a bigger picture than just a gray cheek or a currycomb.