Saturday, April 5, 2008

One, Two, Three, Four

I woke up yesterday morning and looked outside to see Sandy standing as far as he could get from the blue tarp. He'd not eaten a bit of his dinner. I went outside and encouraged him to come closer, then slid the alfalfa to the edge where it was easier to get to. It still made noise when his lips picked through it, but eventually dinner was eaten...for breakfast.

A bit later I decided that since he'd been so good at making the choice not to pull back the day before that perhaps he was ready for a walk outside of the fenceline. It would mean no safety net if he got scared and went backwards, but I figured we had to do it the first time at some point. City Boy had left the tractor sitting outside the big gate, so I led Sandy to the man gate alongside it. He had to walk through mud, which we know he's not fond of. He was also concerned about both the tractor and the narrow gate. He promptly planted his feet deep in the mud and expressed his concern. His attention went back and forth between the tractor and me. I, of course, was already on the outside and he was pretty sure the tractor would swallow me whole. He didn't want to be next. But after a minute he shakily jumped through the gate and into my arms.

Okay, maybe he didn't land that close, but it was obvious that he was going to stick with me. Small worry snorts escaped him; he was half crouched and ready to spring into action. I gave him a pat then led him around to the front gate of his paddock, one he hadn't passed through since his escape from the trailer when he first came.

Sandy's time on the outside didn't even last two minutes, but it was long enough for him. He was happy to be back where it was safe. I was pleased that he opted to stick with me and know that I was the safety net where mustang eating contraptions are concerned. He still needs to boost that confidence so that I can actually go somewhere while on top of him, but this was a good first step.

Before dinner we made one more bit of progress. Sandy stood quietly while I handled his hind legs. I ran my hand all the way down to his feet and with some coaxing he even managed to lift them just a wee bit off the ground for me.


Rising Rainbow said...

He's showing confidence in you. That's a good thing. And even touching his back feet is impressive let alone a bit of picking up. Moving right along. You'll get this thing yet! Way to go girl!

Anonymous said...

Great going Tracey. Am proud of both you and Sandy

Jamie said...

I read somewhere that horses really don't like to have their feet "played" with because it's what they use to defend themselves from predators...So I think Sandy letting you play with his feet and even getting him to let you lift them a little ways is a SUPER HUGE thing.

The tarp and the confidence will come with time. Glad he enjoyed his little 2 minute walk, minus the mud of course.