Today it was so super nasty and windy out that I almost didn't want to play with my good horse. After a nap and a big cup of coffee I felt a little better about it. Even with my warmest fuzzy jammies on under my coveralls I was a bit cold. Luckily Joseph's area is more protected from the wind, being behind the hill, and his shelter kept the blowing snow out of our eyes.
Today's plan of attack was hoof work. I brought my cotton lunge line and my trimming tools. He was curious.
I spent some time roping his feet. First step was to rub him with the rope. Then we spent some time swinging it up and over his back and around his legs. Eventually I wrapped it around his leg so I had each end of the rope in my hand with his leg in the middle. I couldn't take pictures of this process because he was kind of uncomfortable and I had my hands full. He never freaked out or tried to get away, the worst he did was jerk his foot or try to back up. I would put pressure on the rope and say, "foot," and he would lift his foot, then as long as he wasn't yanking on me I'd put it back down. If he didn't pick up his foot I'd put alternating pressure on each end of the rope. He did really well. I only did the front feet.
Eventually I put the rope away and picked up his feet and cleaned them out, then rasped the bottom of the toe a bit. He sometimes took his foot away, but I would just calmly ask for it back. He didn't do as well with picking his hoof up and pulling it forward, especially when I asked him to set it on the hoof stand. He started backing up to get away from it all, so I calmly backed him all the way around his pen. We only had to do that a couple times.
Here he is thinking it all over, done with rasping both fronts from the top. We did all of this with his rope draped over him just like that. :)
I don't think he's quite ready for me to take his front hoof between my knees, which I have to do if I want to use my nippers, so we didn't use nippers today.
Blue was really hoping there would be some tasty hoof trimmings for him. He's not allowed in there while there's a horse in there. It didn't take him long to investigate once we'd gone to the round pen.
In the round pen I asked him to move out a little more, and come back down to a walk. He gets worried, then he gets stuck, then he lurches forward. At one point I couldn't tell if he was bucking or loping or just lurching along. It's kind of comical but I really hope he doesn't do that once we start riding. He didn't pull on me much at all today. He did really well with his stops, and would stand there looking at me so cutely. He had a hard time transitioning down to a walk, but I could see that he was pretty happy with himself once he figured it out. He's so worried about doing the wrong thing. I think he's starting to realize that there's always a right answer if only he can find it. As long as I don't overdo my cues and I wait patiently while he thinks things through - not jumping to correct him, just insisting that he do the right thing - he's starting to relax and try things more thoughtfully and with less of that worried lurching into action without thought.
"Who's that coming down the driveway?"
A scary kid! But as you can see he didn't stay scared for long.
First Liam just petted his face, then I had him walk next to me while I led Joseph, then I handed over the lead rope and walked with them. Then I stopped and let them go on. Joseph thought that was weird and a little worrying, but he got over it.
Look at that nice bum!
His other end is pretty nice too. I love the golden color, and his black nostrils.
And yes, his nose really is that shiny and kissable.
At the end of our time together today he was relaxed and smiling.
It's weird not having time for several short sessions throughout the day. That's how I've worked with all the other mustangs I've had here. This seems to be working out just fine though. I worry that he gets bored out there in his pen most of the day, but maybe it works in my favor - he always seems happy to see me.