08.05.06: Cold Shoulder

Sunday's work with Storm was nice. Several times during the day we stopped at his pasture and haltered him, rubbed him, and then turned him loose again. Coincidentally, he was always up at the top of the pasture near the gate with the rest of the herd, so we never had to hike into the bottom.

Late in the afternoon, I went and caught him and brought him out and down to the arena. We worked for a little while with small things, asking his hindquarters to yield, sending him in a circle (which went much better on the 12' line, he was less likely to wander off in some random direction), putting his head down, and other simple small tasks.

I also began working with him doing the 'extreme friendly game' by jumping up and down waving my arms next to him. The first several times, he moved away from me with a very worried look on his face (I'd be worried too with someone acting that goofy next to me!). As soon as I would get close enough to touch him he would immediately stop moving, so I walked away. We did this a few times on both sides, and he quickly stopped needing to move when I would begin. I'm glad he figured it out quickly because I was getting tired of being so energetic. Thankfully we were down in the shade and not in the hot sun like the rest of the arena!

After he finished so well on that note, we headed up to the barn and groomed him well. We had not spent much time working on that and he still had a lot of extra winter coat left, which was coming out in chunks. We purchased a new curry that is rubber with large teeth on it. It works very well at trapping the hair on the curry, which you just peel the whole thing off. We started calling them 'waffles' and counting them as they fell. We must have had more than a dozen thick round pieces of hair. While I was working with that curry, Jim was on the other side with the shedding blade, so we had one pile of waffles on my side, and a pile of fuzzy curles on the other side. There was a whole horse on the floor! We finished up with the grooming, and picked out his feet and applied some fly/tick repellant. He smelled like citronella after that, which wasn't entirely unpleasant.

I took him down into the shade where the grass doesn't get mowed as often to graze for a while after that. He enjoyed moving from giant grass clump to giant grass clump to get the good stuff. We wandered down the hill, and then back up the hill, and then down the hill part way again. We grazed for a long time just hanging out together swishing flies.

Monday's play session wasn't what I had planned, but as they say, you've got to adapt. I planned to do more of the work from Sunday, however, when I approached him in the bottom of the pasture, he turned around and gave me his butt moving off to graze. Gee, nice to see you too. I can take a hint.

So I worked slowly with him to allow me to catch him, which took about 10 to 15 minutes as it was. He simply kept moving away. Finally as he grazed I stood next to him and rubbed his side and back. I gently put the rope over his neck and waited there for a while before moving to put the halter on. Once I had the halter on, I simply left him grazing. We spent quite a while just hanging out in the pasture. I was surprised when Bella nickered at him at one point as we were moving around. But these are the things that you discover when you get to hang out with your horse.

Eventually I decided that I had enough and was getting hungry. I asked him for some lateral flexion on each side, which he did very well, and then brought his head down to take the halter off. When the halter was free, he immediately moved away from me again.

Hopefully the next play session won't be so cold shouldered.