Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Boys - Day 1

Today Brian and I went to the barn for our first time hanging out with our two horses together. First, we put them in the airlock for a meeting unimpeded by Brian and me. It's pretty clear that Sham is not a submissive horse in any way (he's already slotted himself into the top gelding position in the pasture herd). However, he's also not particularly aggressive. Steen isn't one to pick a fight. He tends to disengage himself from horses looking for a conflict. We hoped there would be little excitement. We got what we hoped for.

Steen approached Sham with curiosity.

They had a mutual sniff.

Sham let Steen know that he's the boss. Steen agreed instantly.

Sham chased Steem around a little just to be sure the hierarchy was exceptionally clear.

After the two of them seemed comfortable with their new relationship, we took them indoors. Three other riders were getting ready to leave for a trail-ride, so the place was hopping. Sham was inclined to be restless at first, and so was Steen, so the initial part of the day wasn't super great. Sham's biggest weak spot is ground-manners. He's not bad, per-say, it's just obvious nobody has ever taken the time to make him yield. I was trying to help Brian do some of the exercises I did with Sham yesterday and there were horses going every which way and Sham and Brian were both getting a little frazzled.

Finally, the ride left and we were alone with Sham feeling a little anxious and Steen in all-out pill-mode. Brian took Sham to the tie-stall and tied him up and after just a few attempts to walk forward, he started to calm down. Brian brushed him and picked his feet and that went well, so it seemed best just to forge ahead.

A few moments later, Brian had Steen's saddle and pad in place on Sham's back, and the bridle we had set up for Cal on his head. Sham was visibly relaxed by this point, so I decided to hop on. I handed Steen to Brian and took Sham to the arena, where he treated me to a very lovely if brief walk-trot ride. Brian then got on, and the two of them walked quite a few nice circles around the arena.

Turning left.

Turning left again.

We then returned our boys to their respective pastures. We watched Sham share mineral-bucket-licking real-estate with the alpha mare and roll so enthusiastically he flipped back and forth three times before wandering over and getting a drink. He definitely seems to feel quite at home already.

Hopefully things will just continue to get easier from here on out.

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