I love baby animals, as most people with hearts do. Kittens, puppies, foals/weanlings/yearlings, chicks, ducklings…my heart melts. Probably why I ended up with a baby horse and a baby dog in the span of two months. While my mind was going insane trying to keep up with the baby german shepherd who, during the first week home, decided that sleep is overrated (I was getting like two hours of sleep a night. KILL ME NOW) and peeing in the darkest spot of the hallway, right in the middle where EVERYONE steps in it because YOU CAN’T SEE IT is super fun, things seem to be settling down. Currently, I have said German Shepherd sleeping on the couch with his favorite bacon scented ball and baby horse gets to meet our farrier for the first time. His hooves are in pretty darn good shape and whether or not they get trimmed today or if he gets to wait a bit longer for safety purposes, we shall see. Either way. Baby steps.
Ruger’s ears are standing up, he’s now sleeping through most nights, only waking me up around 6 to go potty which is fine because I’m up around that time anyways, he’s learned lots of tricks and is pretty much my shadow these days. He was 23 pounds when he came home a little over a week ago and now he is 33 pounds. Yes. Much weight. Big doggo.
As far as Ransom goes, he is doing great. He got a couple days off because we’re currently building a new fence in our yard to help contain our two big dogs which has kept us busy in the evenings…we have a big yard and we’re trying to make sure that we do a good job with it. I did get to work with him yesterday and he got to wear what I have called a “big boy halter” for the first time. We opted to ditch the rope and try a normal halter. He did really good, tried turning into a giraffe a couple of times when I tried slipping it over his ears but we got it on after 3 or 4 tries and then he was cool with the whole ordeal.
I have gotten to the point with him that I feel like leading is no longer dangerous or risky. A month ago, even less than that honestly, it was. It was risky and scary at times because he would blow up. Luckily, my fears that stir up in the saddle on occasion go away on the ground and I’ve always prided myself on the abilities I have on the ground. I’ve dealt with very bad horses on the ground and I’m decent at groundwork. I knew that his behavior didn’t come from aggression, but from uncertainty. He had no clue what I was doing or what I was asking for. The first thing my trainer noted is he tries SO HARD to please his handler. Whoever is with him. He thinks about the situation hard and he really does try to do good all the time. When he figures things out, he’s golden.
I’ve also been working on desensitizing with whips and throwing things over his back. I’ve had a saddle pad on him a number of times but he’s still not really a big fan of the whole getting it up there process. He’s fine after a moment or two, but still fidgety. I’ve started draping light stuff – a small english pad, my jacket, just random things – over his neck and dragging it until it is placed on his back. He’s nervous with whips unless I’m the one with them, in that case, he has pretty much stopped reacting to them. I can rub every part of his body with them with no negative reaction, and yesterday he even started following me and nudging the whip, being playful. He loves to play with muck rakes – he picks them up and carries them around, and he started doing that with the whips which I like because I know that fear is going away.
His weight is near perfect now, mane and forelock are something straight out of my dreams can you imagine how long it’ll get?! He’s just a yearling! I can’t wait to get him on some Biomane when he’s a bit older, hahaha. Long manes and forelocks, GIMME.
I can go up to him all of the time in the pasture and touch him without him bolting, and 9 times out of 10 he comes to me. He’s PERFECT in the stall. My goal is to be able to start working on tying him by the end of next month. I wouldn’t consider him halter broke yet but we’re getting there. I think he’ll learn to tolerate tying just as easily he learned that stalls aren’t scary.
I’m excited for summer because of longer days and better weather. He’s turning into a really good horse and I like him more and more every day. The more I work with him the more I’m sure that he’s going to make a great riding horse.