New Years Day..
The four are slowly expanding their comfort zone daily..new years day finds them spread out..one grazing..Sally of course..one standing asleep in the sand pile in the middle of the arena..it is Sampson..one off in the corner standing sleeping in the sun..it is Jade..and the other off rolling in the dirt..it’s Bella..scratching and enjoying the roll in the warm soft dirt..
three have flymasks on..Jade..Bella..Sampson..all put them on very politely and calmly..Jade needed hers put over her neck and brought up over her ears as coming toward her with it was scary..in approaching and seeing her hesitation slowly touched it to her shoulder..rubbed it around a little and she said ok by staying and not leaning away from me..then moved it up over her neck and over the ears and hooked the velcro..am letting Sally watch the others and learn about that..so halters on/off 3..flymasks on/off 3..everyone walking up and it’s all good..
it’s warm..almost 80 degrees..no clouds..no wind..horses are a little warm with their winter coats..a good day for seeing how they react to a bath..well at least hosing with water..Sampson is first as he has seemed the most experienced..take the hose..test the water temp..halter Sampson and take him to the hose..starting at his feet to not shock him slowly move the hose back and forth and around his feet..he stands..doesn’t move away or even try to..more..moving the water spray up his legs and onto his chest he stands..moving the water spray along his side and getting his body used to the cool water and finally over his back..water streaming down both sides and off the back..dripping off his tail..he seems a little surprised as maybe it’s been awhile but is very receptive..maybe it helps that he is not tied..he can move some if he choses..when introducing a horse to water especially a baby or green horse I hold the lead rope vs tie them up..if there is fear they want to move their feet..this way they can move a little and can be reassured vs being tied and getting nervous and moving and feeling trapped and getting more scared and going into fight mode..so Sampson moves a little but not much..success..
Getting Jade next she has watched him..putting the halter on and leading her to the hose she is hesitant but once the water splashes off her front feet she stands very still..seems to really be enjoying the cool water on a warm day..especially with her being a black horse..she stands perfectly still..when we’re done and the halter is removed she stands..more..i spray her with the hose and she stands..then slowly walks away..
In getting Bella I notice Sampson and Jade are now rolling in the dirt..happily a little distance away and seem to be taking their time..scratching and wiggling..making little noises..rolling over and getting both sides..then slowly doing their “get up and shake” routine..little clouds of dirt flying in the air..
Bella leads over to the water nicely but moves around more..she wants to leave some..not quickly and not rudely just not sure it’s a good idea to stay..same thing..start at her feet and once the water splashes off her front feet she seems to decide it’s a good idea to stay..i watch her closely though..the hand that has the lead rope is aware..feeling any movement..movement that says “I’m leaving” and movement that says what direction and how hard or fast..and ready to correct the movement or direct it as needed..
As the water goes over her body she relaxes some..still moving a little and looking off to the others..she doesn’t seem afraid she seems wanting to be in control..so we proceed and make it a lesson of “stand and behave”..all goes well and in removing the halter am aware she can spin on a dime and kick out with her hind feet..feeling good and scooting back to the herd..so remove the halter and step back..i leave her and am out of range..and she spins and runs off to find a good rolling in the dirt spot..after they all roll they trot around and play..some of my own horses get playful when wet..some don’t..these four seem to be having a playful moment..all four moving closely together and Sally right in there with them..
fun day..a new thing for here anyway.. all went well..Sally watched the whole thing and next time I catch her up will do the same with her..with her long winter coat the cool water should feel good..will do in the morning so there’s plenty of time to dry before the still cold nights. It’s all good..Happy New Year..