We went on another trip, and I was so happy to get back to my horses. I had a great time on the trip, don't get me wrong! It was wonderful, but I kept wishing I had my Tonka with me. I will take him there eventually, but he's not ready for that kind of rugged wilderness yet!
Today was really hot and I didn't really feel well at all. I was thinking I wasn't going to have any horse time, but I finally decided I had to do SOMETHING, and spending time with the horses isn't that hard. I didn't even consider riding because I was having some dizzy spells. I got Tonka and Soxy out together and let them both stand tied. Soxy doesn't need practice, but she did need her bridle path trimmed, so I did that, then let Liam brush her and love on her.
Tonka got his mane done up all pretty, since it was threatening to switch sides in a couple places. Then I introduced him to the fly spray bottle. Not spraying it with him tied, but letting him sniff it and rubbing it on him. He didn't want anything to do with it at first, but then he got more comfortable and tried his teeth on it. So we set it down and moved on to saddling. He's still really uncomfortable with being saddled. Once it's on he's fine, and he doesn't care about the cinch, but it's the approach and setting down of the saddle or saddle blanket that bother him. And during his week off he seems to have forgotten he knows what this is about. So he did a little dancing but accepted the blanket. When he dropped his head I'd remove it. Took him about two times to realize that he'd trained me to take it off when he dropped his head. Smart horse. Then I put the saddle on the tie post next to him, left the blanket on, and went to get some detangler/conditioner because his tail was looking a bit icky. Mind you, I am not a stickler for brushed and pretty tails. As a matter of fact this is the first time I've ever brushed his tail out completely. I like tails in their natural state, with their pretty curls. And I think that too much brushing ruins them. But his ends were looking a bit dry, and I'm going to bathe him tomorrow anyway, so I decided to get it all greasy and brush it. Also note, I'm not big on bathing horses. I don't think I've ever used soap on any of the horses here. I did bathe my percheron mare a couple times... But I want him to be pretty for the trail competition on Saturday. Not that he isn't pretty. It's kind of for fun, kind of because I imagine it will feel good to get the dust and sweat off, and kind of because I want him to be a good example for his breed. Don't want people thinking, "Eww, look at that nasty mustang."
Then I saddled, unsaddled, and on and on, without cinching because that isn't where the issue lies. Once again he trained me to take the saddle off when he lowered his head and relaxed.
Then John had to go to the store. I have been wondering how he might do with creeping traffic, since I know he's had a lot of exposure right next to highway traffic, but didn't know how he'd react to slow moving, "sneaky" mobiles. I told John to creep by on his way out. Not a problem at all.
Untied him, worked on fly spraying. Left side was not that big a deal, but did involve a bit of moving around. I'd rub with the bottle, then spray while I rubbed, so I wasn't coming out of the blue and startling him. Eventually I sprayed all over, even under his belly and on his sheath. Really not that big a deal. The right side was another story. Start from scratch, rubbing with the bottle. Spray, freak out, continue to spray, stop and stand, stop spraying. Not really that big a deal, but a bit more active on that side. He's not an old hand at it yet, but he did get to where he'd stand still for it, and we called it good.
Oh, and in the middle of that John got back. Tonka was standing with his hind end in the driveway, perpendicular to traffic. I left him there. John rather nervously creeped by about 2 feet behind Tonka. He was happy there was no dented car. Tonka looked at him, but that was about it. Good boy!
Sorry for the boring play-by-play, I know it's probably not all that exciting. But it was for me! I love my smart horse, and just had to write all about his good training session, even though it's not all that interesting to an outsider... You all know how that goes, the little triumphs and elations, that you know seem small to others but are really wonderful. Kind of a "you had to be there" sort of thing.