Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A beautiful fall day and my horse settling in

Yesterday was overcast and chilly — a bit of a shock after our 80- and 90-degree holiday weekend — but today has been a beautiful fall day. Most of the day has been sunny, with just a bit of fall crispness in the breeze. With the exception of the short rainshower we had in the afternoon (ironically, right when I was visiting my horse) it has been a perfect example of fall in Colorado.

I'm developing a nice little routine of visiting Panama in the early afternoon to grain him and mess with him a little. Although the setup where he's at is still not ideal, he seems to be starting to settle in a little (when he's in the corral, that is — he's still a little nervous in the yard, which I don't blame him for because it's not very horse-friendly).

One clue that he's settling in is that he's not clamping his tail down as much. He had an itch in his tail channel today and was trying to scratch it on the fence; since the fence isn't very strong, I decided to try to scratch it for him. He got really into it, lifting his head up and swaying his butt back and forth, just like he does when he scratches on the fence. It reminded me of a dog getting really into a scratch and moving his hind leg like he's trying to help. Although I've tried to scratch his itches for him a couple of times, that was the first time he's ever gotten so into it!

Anyway, while I was scratching his tail channel for him, Panama was lifting his tail to give me better access. This struck me as a good sign, as yesterday when I tried to massage his tail, he kept it clamped down as tight as he could. I've noticed in the past that when he's comfortable he'll relax his tail and let me mess with it, whereas when he's not comfortable he won't. Maybe it was just that the itch was that bad or the scratching felt that good, but today was a big change from yesterday.

The other thing he did today was to roll right in front of me. Now Panama rarely rolls while I'm watching, as if he thinks he's not supposed to — but he also won't roll unless he's comfortable. But today, toward the end of my visit, he laid down and indulged in a very luxurious-looking roll. I wish I had had my camera on me — it was pretty cute how he arched and shimmied back and forth while he rolled.

I still want to find Panama a better long-term home as soon as possible, but it's a relief to me that he is starting to settle in a bit!

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