Thursday, March 04, 2010

Double Barn Day

I got back from the barn today and hung around the house for a bit. Then Brian got home, we piled back in the car and returned to the barn.

The focus of trip two was Sham. Our plan was to at least put the bridle on and see how he responded. Our hope was he'd take it well enough to warrant a ride.

Sham is already definitely less flinchy about his head these days. His pulling back behavior has disappeared and he was easy to catch today. We brought him indoors and Brian did a lot of great groundwork right from the start. Sham was clearly pretty inclined to relax.

After quite a while, we brought Sham to the tie stall where he remained relaxed. We groomed him and petted him and saddled him up. Then Brian did more groundwork and then we bridled him. Brian got the bridle on with only minimal difficulty, then went back to the groundwork.

Then Sham had a pretty big spook/bolt brought on by an unfortunate noise that happened to sound just like the sound the wire fence made earlier today when I was feeding Sham some grain and he turned his head too far in one direction and the electric current zapped his nose. Apparently that shock made a big impression, because the clicking noise of the fence spooked him on his way out of the pasture as well. I don't think Sham is much of a spooker, but when he freaks, he freaks pretty violently. Brian handled it well, but was then understandably nervous about climbing aboard. I've been on enough semi-crazed horses that I could look at Sham's body-language and see we were in no immediate danger of a repeat episode, and didn't have much concern about my ability to control him even if he did freak out again (Steen has me pretty spook-proof these days). So, I mounted and after just the few minutes it took Sham to notice the bit no longer hurt his mouth, he relaxed and mostly did what I told him. Then Brian and I switched places and they had a pretty darn good ride. We kept it short and positive and left the barn feeling all the better about our latest family-member. I am pleased both that he's becoming more obviously Brian's horse every time we go out there, and that he's settling in and turning into the sort of horse we hoped he was when we purchased him.

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