It rained last night making the round pen a wet mess! We had a lot on our list of things to do today so John and I just went ahead and got started!
First I had John hold Boomer and keep him calm him. Then I used the rope and put it around his back leg. I lifted each of his back legs three time for between 10- 30 seconds each. He didn't really even struggle! For the next week I will repeat the exercise daily, progressively lifting his leg more 'up' instead of forward towards his front feet. The next week I will start touching and grabbing his leg when it is lifted until he will let
me pick it up without the rope. This project already seems so manageable when I look back at his other fears we have conquered!
After that I put the belly rope on him and had John stand to the right of his head and hold the rope as well as calm him. I needed to give him his dewormer because he has been rubbing his tail for the last two days. There are several types of dewormers and they work best when rotated. generally you can give the paste every two months. The three types which are best for the rotation is a Pyrantel Pamoate, Anthelcide EQ, and Ivermectin 1.87%. Anyway, I gave him the paste and was expecting him to toss his head, rear, or back up. He just took it. He didn't really like it, but he took the paste without a problem. The way you give a horse any kind of oral medication or electrolyte is by a big syringe that has dash marks on the plunger with a stopper. You set the stopper at the correct dosage dash mark and put the syringe into the corner of the horses mouth and get it as far to the back of the tongue as possible, then you depress the plunger. It is fast and easy as long as the horse is cooperative.
After the worming, John and I groomed Boomer and got him tacked up. We have started putting the bridle on before the saddle so that we can use the belly rope. He fights the bridling process tooth and nails. Today he backed about 5 feet and tossed his head. Then he walked forward, put his head down, but he held his mouth shut. After a minute he opened his mouth and accepted the bit without a fuss! We were so proud of him! I longed him for a while and then John came over and held his head and the stirrup on the off side and I swung up like I was going to mount him but didn't put my leg over. He was perfect! I did it three times on his left side and then moved to his right. I swung up twice and on the second time I laid across his back! He swung his head around but didn't move an inch! I got off and we praised him and untacked him right there as a reward!
We put the belly rope back on and led him towards the hose. There was a huge puddle and we decided to take him through it. He went all the way around it and then finally put a foot in! Then he hesitantly walked through it! At first he was hesitating with his hind end really far under him and he was not well balanced. This on top of mud was causing his back feet to slip which was making him nervous and reinforcing his fear that the ground was not safe. When we got him moving forward, he realized that the ground was safe after all, even under the water. We tried
walking him through it the opposite direction but I made the mistake of staying on the dry ground. The reason this was a mistake and blatant oversight on my part is because when he feels trapped and wants to escape, his only escape is where I am standing. In short, I ended up with his kicking end in my personal space. All is well, but I know to stay on between him and the scary object from now on. After this we hosed him off, face and all and he was perfect!
After all of this we turned him out, fed him, and cleaned out the water trough! By the way, I feed him Purina Ultium, a food for high performance horses with a balanced ratio of carbs, fats, and proteins. I also give him a scoop of electrolytes in his food to make up for the minerals lost from sweating.
The pictures are of me working with Boomer on the longe line. The first two are of him at a working trot and at the walk. The third is of him stopped just before I gave him the cue to reverse. The last one is a shot of his snappy hock action!!!
(This video shows us working at a walk and trot with a reverse!)
(Charley getting checked out by Grunt)