Sunday, February 10, 2008

Rehab Horse and Cute Little Lambs

Bea EWE tiful!

Friday was busy. As soon as chores were finished up here, I ran to a friend's place to do chores for her. She was on her way with her litter of Border Collie pups to get their eyes checked in Seattle. She had several ewes who'd lambed, one that had lambed a few hours before she left, and one who was due any moment. Sue Ellen, the ewe in question, kept trying to steal everyone else's babies, so desperate was she to have her own. Thankfully for me, she managed to wait until Janet was home later that afternoon. However, I ended up making two trips just to be sure things were going okay.

Frisco, formerly Alladin, was a couple hundred pounds underweight and infested with parasites, looking more like a woolly mammoth than a horse with all his long hair.

About noon, I took off for Arlington. Remember our rehab boy? Well, the little booger had rubbed his halter off his first week there and they'd been unsuccessful getting it back on.

Frisco has some rope issues. He's very head shy and protective. Also food aggressive. Combine these things with the fact that he's put on about 100 pounds and has rid himself of his parasite overload, and you've got a 15 hand horse who's feeling just a bit too good. So down I went in the pouring rain to help get a halter back on him. He wasn't over joyed to see me.

Frisco is good at avoiding the rope of someone who can't throw it very well. I worked him until he was tired and would face up, and given his fear I didn't want to just toss the rope at him, so tried to reach it over to his body and rub him with it. He wanted nothing of it, though, and after an hour he was steaming, my glasses were steaming, and my coat was a muddy, slimy mess. We churned up the clay beneath us pretty darned well. So I gave up the slow approach and started tossing the rope over his back just so he'd get used to it and hopefully start to relax.

Except that the rope slipped off his back and got tangled in his tail.

I caught a wild horse by the tail...

Hey, not conventional, but I'll take it! Frisco wasn't too happy about his tail being pulled around to his face, although he didn't fight it. I got him to change directions so that the rope went from his tail up around the front of him and across his chest. Then I made him turn again, this time flinging the rope up over his back and completely wrapping the boy up like a Christmas present.

Needless to say, I wasn't carrying my camera around with me while out there in the mud and rain, so you'll just have to take my word for it when I tell you that I think Santa will be sending me an invitation to come and wrap gifts this Christmas. I'm pretty sure this was the best wrapped pony ever.

With himself wrapped up and the rope now around his neck, Frisco gave up. I walked up to him, rubbed his sweaty body, blew in his nose, talked to him a bit and then slipped the halter on. Once he's at this point, Frisco is a well mannered horse. He leads, he follows, he stops and stands. He needs more work, of course, but someone at some time put a lot of effort into this horse. He's incredibly athletic and a horse that would be a lot of fun to ride.

Frisco is disappointed that he's once more wearing clothes.
Look at the mess we made of the ground! I think we're all looking forward to spring around here.

I left the halter on him as it will make it easier for his new owner to get close and let him know that life isn't all that bad. She can take the end of the lead rope and rub it on his body, or bring another rope in and let him get used to it falling across his back, neck, and face. Or at least that was the plan...

24 hours later he had it off again. He'd rubbed off one ear by night fall. His owner watched in horror from afar as he put his foot on the lead rope near the snap and began to work it off the rest of the way the following morning, unable to get to him before he was once more free.

Hopefully now, though, she'll have taken in how I worked with him and be willing to stick it out no matter what the weather until she can get back up to him. I suggested that she just put it on, give him a treat and then take it off, no matter how long it took. That's his biggest lesson to learn right now; trusting her hands near his face and not fearing the halter. She's just a bit too far away for me to run over every few days :)


thepowerguides said...

I could just imagine the fun you had with Frisco made my day with a smile ( sorry suspect was not so funny for you


Tracey said...

Thanks for stopping in, Steve! No, not so fun for me, but I survived and can laugh about it now that the mud has dried :)

photogchic said...

So is Frisco the horse you get to train? I am SO ready for things to dry out...miserable to work in. Have been living in rain pants:-)

Tracey said...

No, Frisco is the horse that we picked up last fall and rehomed. He had been part of a 30 horse seizure last year. A couple hundred pounds underweight still when we got him and loaded with parasites. Poor guy.

The horse I get will be completely wild. No clue how long in off the range. I won't know until I get there in March what I'm getting.

Ditto on the drying out! I need gravel here big time.

Anne-Marie said...

The little lamb is soooooooo cute. I love the photo. And Frisco sounds like a handful. Maybe he's still bitter about the parasites =)

jules said...

What a difference a bit of TLC makes! The Before and After pics are great, he's doing so well and looks a different horse! What a lovely boy [in spite of his mudlarking], he looks like he wants to play all day.