We had our farrier appointment for the horses last night. We pulled shoes on Shad and the whole herd got their trims. I was a tiny bit apprehensive about Eagle's turn. So, when we still had two horses to do, we brought him in and put him front and center in Ladde's stall, where he could nosh on some hay and quietly observe. And observe, he did. Eagle is definitely a "watcher". I like that about him. I'm a firm believer that horses learn from watching our interactions with the other horses, seeing how they respond and such.
So, T started out with the front hooves. It's his habit to work on both front feet first, and then move to the hind ones. Eagle pulled his LF out of T's hands once. T picks it up again and moves on as if nothing happened. Front hooves done, and on to the back. T picks up right hind quietly, but confidently. Trims the hoof and all is well. On to the LH and Eagle staunchly does not want to pick up the foot, and has a mildly worried expression on his face. T asks us to let him have Eagle's lead and he does a few minutes of groundwork, backing, moving away from pressure and standing quietly while he runs his hands all over Eagle's back and hindquarters. This took a few minutes for Eagle to relax and let T pet his rump and hind legs, but he finally did. Then T quietly, but confidently asks for Eagle's foot again...slowly, but surely Eagle lifts his foot. T sets the foot down, gives Eagle a reassuring stroke or two. Eagle sighs and licks his lips. Again, slowly and confidently T requests that Eagle lift his foot. Eagle complies. T holds the foot a little longer this time before setting it back down and giving the reassuring little pet and soft-spoken "good boy's". Third time, T picks up his nippers and trims the foot. Eagle stands quietly and was fairly relaxed in his whole body. I'm so thrilled I could have kissed T !! Afterwards Eagle got to stand quietly while we chatted, he got an apple as a reward, and I removed his halter. He was still in the barn with us, but loose. He chose to stay with us and not go outside. Another very good sign. I gave Eagle his evening ration and he ate his hay, but continued to watch us instead of going outside. I think he was mulling over the lesson in his mind. And it was apparent that he was very pleased with himself. He knew he'd been a good boy and he felt good about it. According to my hubby, who fed the horses this morning, Eagle was still feeling confident and comfortable with himself this morning. :)
Judging from the rope burn scars on his right hind foot, somebody in his past wasn't so patient with him, which is even more amazing that he was so willing when he was treated with kindness and respect. My gut instincts are right on the money with this horse. He wants to please, he gets enjoyment when he understands your requests and he is one very smart horse. A true "diamond in the rough". I'm so thankful we got him! He is admired by everyone who meets him, and so far without exception, every person believes he will make a wonderful trail horse.
So, the plan this fall is that we will continue our groundwork in the round pen and look for a local horseman or horsewoman to work with us and aid us with their expertise. And then hopefully, if all goes well, we'll be riding by winter in a nearby inside arena. If everything doesn't go perfectly according to this outline, well then...we'll take things slower. However long it takes...but we'll get there. It's all about the journey, right? And, I have to admit that I'm enjoying this process of getting to know this horse immensely! He's a joy to be around and with every single day I see a layer of distrust peel away. That's what true horsemanship is all about!! The building of a trusting and long-standing relationship. It is not simply about riding. Not for me anyway.
In other areas, it's turning out to be a fairly busy week. Monday after work, we took our truck to the repair shop. Recently it's developed this rather unsafe "wandering" in the steering. It reminds me of older Fords we've had in the past. Loosey-goosey steering is something I hate. Last night after work was the horse's trimming/pedicure appointment. Tonight I'm visiting a barn about a half hour's time from our house where hubby and I will observe a "trainer" (I really hate that description), horsewoman work with a horse. Her prices seem a bit high, but I want to keep an open mind and observe her in action before I make a decision. Tomorrow night, we pick up our truck from the repair shop and go to a friend's house where we're picking some apples and some pears for making sauce for the freezer. Friday after work, we'll be picking up our first ton of stall bedding pellets for this season...in preparation for "stall cleaning 101" term 2011/2012...oh boy! And, I guess amongst everything else, I'll be making apple and pear sauce this weekend. Fall is always a very busy time of the year for us.
I found out from the Oregon State Dept. of Forestry that they'll begin selling woodcutting permits on October 12. They've doubled in price this year, from $10 to $20 for 3 cords, and they're limiting the number of overall permits that can be purchased by a single family from 5 to 3. It's still cheap wood, and I enjoy getting it, so I'm not complaining. They haven't revealed the location yet, but we're hoping it might be the same as last year. This area encompasses hundreds of thousands of acres of forestry lands and if it's too far to drive, it becomes cost-prohibitive if you have to drive for hours and spend big bucks in gas just to get to the wood cutting area, so...keeping our fingers crossed there. Judging by how cool it's getting at night, it won't be long before a fire in the woodstove's going to be necessary.
And, lest we not forget...we'll be needing to get about 4-5 more tons of grass hay to re-fill our barns for the winter. Our hay supply we put up last summer is looking a bit too small for my comfort. So, as you can see...we're busy. We're just hoping to be able to accomplish most everything before God forgets to turn the water off in Oregon. Again. *sigh*
Hope all your fall projects are going well. Has anybody else noticed how fuzzy the horses are getting already??? Ours sure are!! Let's just hope they're getting prepared, and they don't know something we don't know!! :~D
Lorie and the gang at Cingspots
Oh, as far as anniversaries go...yesterday marked the one year date since the all-too-soon demise of our beloved pup, Nellie. In some ways it seems like such a long time ago, and then again, I can't believe it's been a whole year. I still miss her. Rest in peace sweet girl. And next week, we will have had our sweet little Ruby for a whole year!! Now that's something to celebrate!! Yesterday was a much, much better day than last September 27th...all around! Amen!