He loves me, he loves me not…
Last night I retrieved Smokey from the pasture (adorable video of him walking to me below). He’s such a friendly little guy and walks right up to you like a puppy dog. Apparently he does this to most people who go visit him too, it’s not just me.
He let me put the halter on and I struggled with it for a minute so he backed up a little, but nothing major. I had a carrot with me, so when he arrived near me, he got half and the other half once the halter was on – Have to reward him for the good things.
I started off and he followed me for the first few strides, but then stopped dead in his tracks. I pulled on his face and waited him out before he got moving again. As we were going down a hill, I expected him to kind of run up on me a little but he actually kind of pushed me a bit. I had to nip that in the bud, so I stopped and pushed him off me. This seemed to irritate him quite a bit. I think he realized that we were both going away from Colors (his now BFF) and going to do work which he isn’t 100% in favor of.
He planted his feet again and I had to wait him out with pressure on the halter again. Once he was moving, he sped past me and kind of cut me off. I popped him with the halter and backed him heartily to let him know I wasn’t playing games. This isn’t scared of something, this is just defiance. We struggled to get going again and he tried the cutoff maneuver again, this time trying to add in a spin to get his butt near me. I managed to pull his face around again and back him harder.
We got to the narrow part of the paddock leading up to the gate and he spun around on me again. Thankfully, I was watching him pretty closely now and caught it before his butt could really threaten me. I was pretty aware of how I was the only one at the barn at the moment and was fully prepared to drop the lead if he did strike or kick at me. I pulled him back around and spent some time making him stand there and not move. It was also rather gusty and I think he’s one of those wind-excited horses, so that didn’t help. He hollered for Colors, who, of course, didn’t come running. This is what I get got talking so highly of him yesterday…
I got him clamed and respectful enough to walk on and we walked with no more events down to the arena. I put up the green panel across the gate again, just in case. I didn’t even bother to groom him right away since he was being such a turd in the pasture, so I put him right on the longeline. I wasn’t going to have an incident with him trying to superman the fence to get back to Colors (who was meandering our way at this point anyhow).
He was actually pretty good on the longeline. I was pleasantly surprised that he paid attention to me at all, much less as well as he did even when Colors walked up to supervise. We trotted both directions a couple laps (a few more counter clockwise than clockwise since that’s his tough direction). My mom came to see the show as I finished up a light longeing session. I took some time to groom him afterwards now that he was much calmer. I think the combination of seeing Colors come and go near the arena and getting a little more focused on work really helped settle him.
I got more hair off him, but I’m starting to see his shed-out summer coat and it’s gorgeous. I can’t wait until I can bathe him and see what he really looks like! I also managed to Slick and Easy all four legs all the way to the top of his hooves. He’s got pretty shaggy legs (which I think are adorable) so I’ll need to wash them when I get home from vacation this weekend. He’s still immensely bothered by the flies but my order with Stateline Tack should be arriving in the next couple of days and I have industrial strength flyspray in that box. He and Colors are choosing to stand in the muddiest corner of their paddock where they are closest to the other two paddocks of horses. It’s so annoying. I hope he doesn’t get thrush or something from all the mud he’s now choosing to stand in.
I turned him back out with no incidents. He led quietly back to the gate. I turned him around and took off his halter and fed him a carrot. I want him to learn not to bolt every time I take his halter off. He stuck around trying to beg more carrots out of me and then trotted down to meet up with Colors. I’m not sure he knows how to canter at this point. I’ve seen him gallop, but haven’t seen anything between that and a trot. I guess we’ll see.
Tonight is the last night I’ll see him until probably Tuesday as I’ll be going out of town. Hopefully he won’t forget his manners while I’m gone!