Monday, March 1, 2010

After the Dentist

While I was up in Wisconsin for the Birkebeiner, Robin graciously took care of Sham for the vet visit (I really have an amazing wife). He was mostly good for the appointment, but still I worried that he would hold onto a few bad memories when I went out to see him next. Afterall, I've only had him for about two and a half weeks.

But when I trudged out to the pasture today he looked up and came right over to me. I had carrots in my pocket and a bucket of grain mixed with alfalfa. He was more than happy to venture into the airlock for snacks. And after much chomping and petting, I haltered him up with very little difficulty (he only pulled away once).

Today he led like a dream. It was almost as if the dental visit never happened. But after he was inside for about 60 seconds the worries came flooding back. So I concentrated on our leading exercises. We did lots of easy, short, sharp turns and I gave him many pets and words of encouragement. Within a few minutes we had some nice and relaxed head carriage going. We slowly worked into a few of our other groundwork drills, and I was back to feeling surprised at how well he behaved given his past visit indoors.

We finished up our evening with some grooming and tacking. He is getting more comfortable with the tie stall and isn't creeping forward nearly as much. And he picks his feet up like he's standing on hot coals. It is amazingly fast. Sometimes it is so fast I'm not ready for it.

After the untacking and final grooming I left him in the pasture as the sun dropped in the west. He turned down the come-ons of one of the pasture mares and hung out with Robin and I instead. Sham is turning into quite the companion. I can't wait to see where we will go this spring.

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