Steve Holt! must have felt like he was in jail last night. It was the first time he was closed into his stall. See the poor baby peering out from between the bars? All I need to do is find him a set of striped pajamas to sleep in...
I said I wasn't going to...but I did.
What did I did? I looked back to see where Sandy was at the end of week one. The only thing I remembered clearly was that on day 8 I put the saddle on his back. That, and the fact that he was lacking confidence in a big way. What I hadn't recalled was that I'd left him tied for five minutes, or that I'd run my hand down at least one of his front legs. That must have been huge for him, because he was terrified to have me alongside his body, let alone feel my hand anywhere below the elbow.
At first I was a bit intimidated when I read how much we'd really accomplished that first week. Then I went outside to work with Steve Holt!, and it all melted away.
Steve Holt! and I had a visitor today. A quiet little blog lurker...yeah...that's right! Someone who comes and reads, but doesn't comment... I figure that brings my readership up to about 8, woo hoo! But back to the visit. I'd already been out with Steve Holt! this morning and not accomplished much. While he tolerates more than most horses have while I'm at his shoulder, he clearly is not comfortable with me being there, and this morning I figured I'd just not worry about it over the next few days. After all, I've got my Hags On Stangs fund raising show this weekend, so I'll be pretty busy.
Well...it sounded like a good excuse, at least. But then the visitor showed up. I was outside, introducing a soft brush to Steve Holt!, who seemed to be enjoying it's feel as he stood quietly while I groomed his neck, shoulder, down his leg and back to his hip. I was expecting my quiet reader to show up as she'd emailed to say she would be in town, so it wasn't a surprise when she pulled into the drive. Steve Holt! wasn't expecting it, though, and stood tall and alert, looking to see who was coming.
This was Steve Holt!'s first visitor, and he was curious. As his guest approached the fence, Steve Holt! walked cautiously up and reached out to sniff...friend? foe? Sniff sniff sniff...must be a friend. As I continued to handle the gelding, my visitor and I discussed training methods and how she was coming along with her own little mustang. She adopted 6 weeks ago and is looking for insight on how best to progress.
While we were speaking, I figured I may as well try something new. I took off my coat, let Steve Holt! sniff it, and tossed it onto his back. Again...he wasn't thrilled with this new situation, but he handled it with grace. I led him around (if you can call it leading...I'm not too sure that's what most folks would call it) a bit, then pulled it off and put it up from the other side. Everything was going swimmingly, but then he shook, and his shake that began at the head worked it's way down his neck and into his shoulders and down his spinal column...and the coat fell off.
Well, okay, maybe I'm exaggerating just a wee bit. But he did startle and bucked into the air before landing and turning to see what that was. When I say buck, it was one middle sized pop into the air with all four's. Thankfully, he settled back down quickly and the coat went back up on his back while I pounded and patted and flapped the arms, and while he wasn't exactly sleeping through it, he hung out with me and tolerated my strange human behavior.
And that, my friends, has me pondering the placement of a saddle on the back of one Steve Holt! just a few days earlier than 8 days.