Smokey is settling into his new home famously. The first day I went out to see him, he was a bit of a mess, still very skittish and his head appeared to be held up by balloons that were about to make him take flight. Let’s just say it was like walking a giraffe on a leadrope.
Work and weather kept me away for a day, but I got to see him Thursday as well. He’s doing much better, though I think he may have BBQ-ed himself on the electric fence again since he didn’t want to come through the gate to the barn. He’ll learn eventually.
He’s kind of loving his new paddock that has a creek running through it. I know he loves water, so I’m sure he’ll basically never be clean for playing in it.
I’m kind of loving this creek, mom.
His new pasturemates and he are getting along great. Joe the thoroughbred and Angel the paint have both welcomed him into their lives without much fanfare. I guess he has horse manners, afterall.
On our way out of the pasture on Wednesday, we spent about ten minutes re-making friends with the gate (using the trailer loading technique I learned from Elisa this past week) and now he seems to be a bit more comfortable walking through it. He still speeds up just a bit through it, but nothing major.
We also worked on walking through the barn like a normal horse. I have to keep in mind that he’s really never been inside a barn before. The auction we got him at was in a big covered arena, but even that is a bit different than a barn. He was also there with about 150 of his friends and in open pens instead of stalls. Not much they couldn’t see and not too many doors scary things can hide behind. So we walked through the scary barn several times, many of those times with a bit of coaxing from the leadrope.
We stuck our heads in the other horses’ stalls and went in and out of his stall a few times. He’s still a bit flighty in the stall, but I think he’s actually relaxing a little bit more in it now. He wants to come out, but knows better than to bowl me over to do so.
One thing I have noticed in him recently is his lack of a top line. I’m working on keeping him going over poles for several reasons, including his lack of back muscles. Conveniently, the new barn has two sets of short standards that I can longe him over and not get stuck on the standard every time he passes it. I set one of these up on the lowest hole and longed him for a bit over that this weekend and while he did knock it down a few times, he got the hang of it after a while. He’s also been much more enthusiastic on the longeline since learning how to load (is it related to that or the new barn? I’m not fully sure).
He made it out into the big grass pasture with his buddies on Sunday and they were out there chomping away happily when I stopped by to feed him a carrot. He seems very comfortable with his new buds and while he thinks better of meeting me at the fence to get a carrot now, he still comes to me in the pasture once I’ve scrambled over the fence to see him.
This is one of my favorite pictures thus far. Smokey hasn’t ever seen cows, to my knowledge. The neighbors raise cows and they can walk right up to the separating fence. This was shortly after putting Smokey in his stall so I could groom him. He was enthralled with the cows who stood there mooing (loudly) and then started to head towards their barn.