Sunday, April 24, 2011

A very nice Easter

Despite my inability to make it through this holiday without talking about zombies, this was a very nice day. My parents and my brother and his wife came over in the afternoon and I took them out to meet Sinatra. Then my daughter taught my mom and brother how to play Wii and she even walked through through making cute little Mii's which look eerily like both of them. It was all around a very fun, relaxing day just like I'd always hoped I'd have with my family and finally after forty-some years we're able to have.

Sinatra continues to be doing well in his new home. None of my family were too interested in petting him because as soon as I took him out of his stall he decided he wanted to try and eat my mom's pants. They were kind of the color of grains in his defense ... ahem ... my brother is not keen on horses at all and I don't think his wife is either. My mom tried to pet Sinatra and he kept nibbling at her hand for a treat and she finally just gave up. He's been much less mouthy with me though. As soon as he starts up I put my elbow up like my instructor showed me and he bonks his nose into it and looks annoyed so he stops ... until he forgets a few minutes later and tries again and gets the same result - he just ends up bonking up against my arm and not getting anywhere.

His hand walking is going strangly fine still. I expected him on his fourth full day of stall rest - especially after yesterday when I didn't take him out at all - to be a lot ancier. I took him out to eat some grass and he started bolting it down so I led him away from it out of fear he might choke on it. And we just walked around outside. And he sniffed a lot and looked around a lot. He tried to get a little prancy at one point but then seemed to realize "What's the point? She's not going to let me," and stopped quickly. The other horses seem to have a very positive effect on his attitude though and he is already quite taken with Rhodi next door to him and she with him.

Once again we ran into the problem at the stall. This time I walked with purpose and didn't even pause at all at the door. Which turned into me walking forward and him stopping dead at the door and me feeling for a moment like I was going to get catapulted backward from the yank of him stopping suddenly and me continuing to move forward. I tried again turning him in a circle, disengaging his hind quarters, putting a carrot in my pocket and he wanted none of it. My family was staying far away saying, "Oh, it must be us," even though my mom reads this blog so she knows this has been an issue for us since his first day on Wed.

Finally, I just stood in the stall holding the end of the lead rope, and he stood in the hallway outside and I just thought I'd relax a minute and try to meditate on what could possibly be a good solution. Then I heard the owner yell from the other end of the barn, "Hey, you back that horse out of the doorway and I'll show you how to get him in there!" I was so relieved that someone with decades more experience than me had a solution and the owner walks by with a flake of hay and Sinatra just follows him right in. "Lunch time," the owner said and walked back out again. So, I took of Sinatra's halter and give him lots of pets and went on my way.

I'm going to have to work on this with my instructor to find out what the solution is to Sinatra not wanting to go into his stall. I have a nagging suspicion that it is due to my inexperience handling young horses more than anything. That I am either freaking him out, or sending out some sort of weird "don't go in there" signal that I'm not catching. Because the rest of his ground manners - although clumsy and little kid inattentive - are fine. He leads fine even if he does have difficulty with personal space boundaries and he stops fine on the ground and doesn't try to bolt or pull you over or walk over you. I'm thinking maybe I need to spend more quality time in the stall with him too. Maybe groom him in there instead of the grooming area and give him treats and lots of attention and love in there - instead of it being the place he goes after treats, attention and love.

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