Friday, September 9, 2011

Rondo figures out he's taller than me

Well, I suppose I should have expected it would have happened at some point.  Rondo is now fully aware of the fact that he's taller than me, and can keep his nose out of my reach if he so wishes.

Last week when I haltered him, he kept his head out of my reach for a moment or two before letting me put his halter on.  I should have known it wouldn't end with that.  Yesterday Michael and I visited his family briefly, and when I went out into the pasture to halter Rondo and bring him in for a little grooming, he played "keep away" with his nose.

First he lifted it up into the air and to the right.  Then he tried to walk away — I fisted his mane and told him to whoa, and he did (I figured out some time ago that even if he tries to walk away from me, if I still have at least one hand on him, he thinks he's still "caught" and stops walking).  This time when I produced the halter he tried lifting his nose straight up, and when I didn't give up, he tried walking away again.  Lather, rinse, repeat!  Finally he tried lifting his nose up and to his left, right over my head.  Still I didn't give up, so after we'd been at this for several minutes, he finally just hung his nose low and let me slip the halter over it.

He may have realized that he's taller than me, but hopefully he's also figured out that he can't use that to avoid doing what I want for very long.

I didn't have a lot of time, so I just groomed him.  He's starting to shed his summer hair, and I think his coat may be starting to get a little darker as he sheds out.  Last year his winter coat was much darker than his summer coat, with considerably less roaning — it'll be interesting if it's the same this year, or if it changes from year to year.

I did find an inch-long gash on the outside of his front right pastern, so I decided it was as good a day as any to introduce him to Mr. Hose.  I was half-expecting a rearing episode, like when he first met Mr. Fly Spray, but he was actually pretty good.  He danced around a bit at first, trying to keep as far back from the hose as possible, so I started slow — I hosed his pastern for a couple seconds at a time, ending it before he could pull away, and praising him each time.  I started hosing his leg for longer and longer each time, continuing with the praise, and he quickly he stopped fidgeting altogether.  Before long I was able to kneel next to the leg while I hosed it, touch the cut, and use a washcloth with some betadine on it to clean out the cut (which was initially packed solid with dried blood and mud).

I'm sure he cut himself in the pasture on Wednesday, when it was raining and muddy.  The cut didn't turn out to be all that deep, and the area was only slightly swollen, but I'm glad that I took the opportunity to teach him to stand for some cold hosing and first aid.  Standing patiently for this kind of thing is a skill that I don't think any horse should be without, and I'm glad we had a relatively minor cut to learn on!



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