Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sinatra

I think tomorrow is going to be a lie around the house kind of day. I got up this morning (after not enough sleep) and went up to S.A.F.E. to clean paddocks. I haven't been up to do that in two years and things have changed a lot since then. For one thing, they have a tack shed with a white board with a list of chores you can initial when you're done. And many of the paddocks are gravel which is a lot easier to pick out than grass. But when I used to go one person would come in and clean everything, so I cleaned about eight stalls and paddocks before the owner of the farm came out to give one of the horses his bute (medication for pain) and said I didn't need to bother to do the stalls because there was a second person coming. I said I'd already done the stalls and she said, "Well, you can leave those paddocks over there," and I said, "I've already done those too," so she said, "You should stop and go home." I was realized. The last two paddocks looked very tiring after the first eight.

Since I was already in Monroe I drove up to see if I could visit Sinatra at Northwest Equine Stewardship Center where he is staying while the vet figures out why he is lame. I signed up to be his foster mom and he'll probably be coming to live with me within the next couple weeks. Well, live at the stable where I'm going to move my horse at the end of April.

I met Sinatra about three years ago when he was scruffy little baby that had been nearly starved to death when he was about five months old. He was so starved that he couldn't even stand up and his rescuers were not sure he would live. Animal control was supposed to go in on a specific day and seize all the horses on the property but they were afraid if they waited a day to take Sinatra off the property he wouldn't survive. As it is he barely survived.

He's a cremello Arab/Saddlebred but he is small for those breeds - only 14 hands. Probably because his growth was stunted by being so severely starved as a baby. He has a great personality though and is very smart and fiesty and silly.

I haven't seen him in at least a year - maybe two - and he is a lot bigger than I remember him. And he's very handsome. But he's still a kid. He kept trying to nip at me but after we walked around the round pen together for a bit and I corrected him every time he started to reach to nip at my arm and praised him whenever he stopped himself, he quickly started to catch on. Then before I left the round pen, he got all excited because the horse in the arena started galloping around and he wanted to play with her so he started cantering and bucking (a big no-no for him right now!) in the tight circle of the round pen and he came roaring toward me as I was unhooking the latch to leave. I turned around, held my hand out and said firmly, "Stay back!" and he skidded away from me, then reared. I snapped at him, "I'm still in the pen, silly boy!" and got the latch open and exited. He definitely needs to learn some boundaries and some manners - like not running around like that with people in the round pen and to be able to stop himself before running over a person whether they instruct him to stay back or not. It was an unfortunate thing to happen the first time I've visited him in a long time because his vet and her assistant popped their heads up over the arena wall in concern and asked if I was ok. I explained he was just excited and not paying attention that there was still a person in the round pen.

His vet (who is also my vet ...) gave me his halter and lead rope and said I could take him for a walk and groom him if I had time. So, we went out so he could eat a little grass. I tried to walk him toward the woods but he got very nervous and I figured he doesn't know me well enough to trust me to take him somewhere that new yet, so we just went and walked around the grounds. I took him back to the arena to groom him and let him eat some hay while I was since standing still is not his strong point at his age. That made him really happy and his whole body relaxed and he let out a bunch of happy sighs. One thing I need to ask the vet is what's going on with his front hooves. I've never seen hooves like his - extremely concave and he didn't appear to have any frog. He wasn't really into lifting his feet for me at first and I'm not sure if that's because he's young and was being stubborn or if it's because they hurt. Either way, he did end up lifting them for me and being very polite. Except when he tried to bite my sweater.

When I was done grooming him, I went over to the arena wall to get his blanket and turned around to see him grabbing his brushes out of his tack bucket, waving them around and then flinging them across the arena. Totally like the baby Sinatra that I remember for a few years ago! I'm definitely going to have to get him some toys! Especially because he's supposed to be on stall rest with only light hand walking it sounds like.

He's so much less spooky than Rolls who reminds me of him as far as personality goes, just Sinatra is so much less nervous. When I was leading him out of the round pen into the arena, the vet knocked something and it clanked and my whole body tensed because I expected Sinatra to spook and gallop off, but he just perked his ears and kept following me. That was a nice surprise.

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