Monday 3 June 2024

Yearling Check In

I am thinking that since I kind of sucked at documenting things with the other youngsters I've had, maybe it's time to turn over a fresh leaf and try to do semi regular check ins on what the boys are doing or know how to do. It's all the little 'boring' steps now that are going to (hopefully) help make them nice riding horses one day. 


I had this thought that I'd save on hay costs with them grazing in the 'big' field. Sophie got the memo, the other two definitely did not and are super hungry when they come home at dinner.

Reggie:




Newly getting good:

- Leads and ties very politely.

- Trailers quietly, loads and unloads easily.

- Haltering/catching. Ropes on or around him.

- Yielding hindquarters, shoulders.

- Waiting at gate, or sending forward through gates.

- Polite at dinner feeding (used to feel like he needed to guard his food)

-Traffic. He's super confident, even with 'different' vehicles driving by, like trucks with trailers or machinery.

I need more pictures of him because right now in 99% of them he's just in the background trying to catch up to Buck. This is the only one from the last two weeks where he's in the lead

To improve:

- Can be fussy/impatient with feet

- Dislikes fly spray/sprays, can panic if I assume too much. Currently I spray near him on a cloth and wipe on and he's suspicious but accepting.

- Dislikes being groomed. I think genuinely doesn't like the feel of most brushes, because is happy to be scratched. Still a bit fussy about where you're allowed to touch (his stomach and flanks are ticklish!)

- Looking in mouth. (This is on me, he was great, then we needed to deworm them what felt like a million times and he's not sure about it anymore because I didn't do enough to make it rewarding at other times)

- Generally can get sharp and impatient, mouthy, can tend to spooky.



Overall:

Remains super brave and confident, very high energy and spicy. Thinks he's all that and 20 bags of chips. Is polite and a happy friendly guy, but keeping him busy keeps him out of trouble - he's the one who gets bored then gets himself into trouble by impulsively doing the thing and regretting it later. He's responsible for the majority of the inadvertent destruction around the barn and fencing :)



Buck:



Newly getting good:

- Leads and ties very politely. He was a bit of a wild child before, now he's the best of everyone.

- Grooming, can touch everywhere, fly spray, loves a good spa day.

- Haltering/catching. Ropes on or around him. Another big win, he was pretty scared of ropes.

- Yielding hindquarters, shoulders.

- Waiting at gate, or sending forward through gates.

- Vehicles/traffic. A city bus driver even stopped to admire him, complete with air brake noise the other day (and chat to G, who is the obligatory extrovert to counteract my introvert self) and once he saw the people inside talking he decided it was just a big car and hasn't batted an eye at traffic since.

Horsey friends don't even need an explanation of how 'excited' I was for the bus driver to pull over and talk for an eternity while I had a semi feral baby horse in hand, but it was fine ;)




To improve:

- Can be anxious about back feet

- Anxious about hose/spraying. I can currently hose around his feet, he's very worried if it touches him.

- Anxious about the trailer. I suspect it's more about being unsure and alone away from his friends and less the trailer itself. Loads, unloads reasonably well but anxious about staying in there too long (even with being served grain/treats). I don't want it to be a 'thing' so he just loads, stands for a few minutes, unloads and gets tons of praise right now. We'll start closing dividers and doors, then once he's good with that he can go on a short trip around the block.

- Looking in mouth. (As with his brother, this is on me, he was great, then we needed to deworm them what felt like a million times and he's not sure about it anymore)

- Blankets on horses, humans putting their jackets off or on. He's still terrified, despite me using all my tricks (hanging them on the fence, hiding treats in them on the ground so he can explore at his own speed. Folding things up super small to touch him, etc) We'll get there eventually.

It's funny I feel like he's kind of reserved because he is definitely the one that starts all the games

Standard picture right now, Reggie always in the background making bitey faces


Overall:

Not as naturally confident as his 'brother' so right now is the more reactive/less reliable/needing the most time of the two. I think that's going to be temporary, since is probably the kindest horse we've had around here and genuinely wants to be a good guy, no matter what. Once he's sure about something, he's great - he's just not naturally inclined to trust just anyone or get himself into a situation without thinking it through first.


Due to the logistics of two people leading 3 horses back and forth to the field, I end up leading these two together. You’d think that would be a terrible idea (and really it is, I’m not advocating this is as a safe thing) but they’re honestly so good. Until the halters are off, then chaos reigns once more :)


They're all entirely ridiculous right now

One of the things I'm enjoying right now is that their summer field fronts the row of houses our place backs on to.  So, the neighbours get a clearer view and I get to hear all the stories about what the horses did all day. "Wait, those are your horses!? The brown ones are hilarious! I can see them from my deck and the other day they were wearing their buckets on their heads and running around :D" It's already a bit of a thing where the neighbourhood gets excited to see them out there come spring.

Never did I ever think I'd see the day where Sophie is the sanest one

 It feels nice that everyone is so happy to have them living here. One of the downsides of being here in the past was that people mostly retired here and weren't overly happy to discover there were neighbouring properties with animals or hobby farms. (It's a very random mix of anything from regular city lots up to 5 acre parcels and beyond.) It's ages ago now, but my and other horsey friends lives were made miserable by one or a group of people calling the SPCA and the bylaw dept regularly. While of course we all were within the regulations, etc, they still need to investigate every complaint and it just got to be a lot. So, times changed and many of us ended up moving elsewhere. I was apprehensive to give it a second chance.

Part of the reason the pony cottage looks the way it does at the front. It's tucked at the end of the driveway in the backyard of the house, and screened by a few trees from the main road, in hopes someone nosy might wonder if it's a studio or a garden shed, surely it's not a horse shelter? ;)

But, here I am, back again. I've felt conscious of keeping everything very neat and tidy and keeping any noises, smells, etc to an absolute minimum 'just in case'. It seems like we've come full circle though, because I've had quite a few people stop to say how much they enjoy seeing horses around again and I'm meeting lots of new neighbours who've moved here with young families to do small scale farming, crafting, etc.

Whew, that turned into a novel. Thanks, as always, for reading. See you next week.

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