So he had been behaving like a pretty bad boy. The last post was about busting the fence and my concerns about working with him while he’s eating.
The fence rail he kicked out when I touched him on the shoulder while he was eating. Dude! (And I don't say "Dude" very often, but...) Dude! I'm so thankful I was not on his side of the fence when he reacted!
And he also did THIS when he got into a fight with Forrest during which he gave Forrest a big fat hock!
So for the last 4 days, we've been busy! I worked with him on the food issues, and using a suggestion from Kacy, (thank you so much) I brought a wheelbarrow load of hay and grain into the arena then brought him in with me and we both came upon the food together!
The things I did to work up to that and then taking him to the food, made a huge difference in his eating behavior.
You can kind of see how bad his feet still are. We worked on picking up his feet as well. He's making some progress. I'm certain he's never had his hooves trimmed in his life. He has no clue as to how to pick up his hooves. He's like a baby whose never had his hooves handled before.
LOOK...where I'm standing! Woo hoo!!
I'm so excited to be taking a picture from this angle. He's like, "I will allow it this once." What a pill.
Really, I've discovered that he enjoys being fussed over. Initially, I couldn't get close to him with a brush in my hand. He acted like it was a weapon. Isn't that sad! And NUTS! Now he loves it. I'd like to think that when he was a baby, someone pampered him a little bit and the memory of that is returning. (making stuff up in my head again...)
I spent some time brushing him and working on his horribly tangled tail. He seemed to like that. His trust meter is really climbing! I'm so proud of him.We were doing so well, that I figured we need to take it to the next level and what else could I do than pull out Forrest's draft saddle to see what he thought about that. He can buck!
You think you're going to put it where?
The pad is accepted without much fuss.
Now how the heck do I get this heavy thing, clear up there? (His hind leg looks relaxed doesn't it? I wonder... :0)
It wasn't easy, but I got the heavy saddle on his back. I carried it around on my head for awhile, trying to figure it out, then I had to stand on a mounting block to git r' done. Now all I have to do is attach the girth on and cinch up!
Here he is, all cinched up! The bucking fest is over. (Sorry no pictures of that, I was busy saving my life.) He just got a little excited. Then I let him hang out and eat hay with the saddle on. He got comfortable with it. Then he became frightened of it when I went to take it off. It fits really well, but taking it off took some imagination to get done safely. For that, once again, I put a fence between us. It's not that he's so much worse than other horses when he gets reactive in situations like this, just so much bigger when he does react. It's like avoiding an earthquake! You can't really!=0) So it's best not to be find yourself in the same region when it happens.
I've been worried about his teeth so last night, our friends from Performance Equine Dentistry stopped in on their way home to give my big buddy a once over. Dick and Kathy Vetter are awesome. They even gave me a deduction as a donation toward Spencer's rehabilitation.
It was getting dark by the time we got started. Spencer was pretty good, but not the easiest patient Dick has done, or the biggest (but we had to work on him outside their clinic trailer) Even after he was sleepy, he was a bit of a giant snapping turtle. We'll work on his behavior with others. So far, he can only handle one human at a time.
I told Dick he deserved an award for getting this guy done. He said, "No, you deserve an award if you can make a good horse out of this guy." Thanks Dick! I will.
I've heard that horses won't purposely hurt people they like. I think it's better to say, horses won't purposely hurt people they trust. I'm getting the feeling that he no longer wants to hurt me. Once we get past that, then we can really go to work on somethings.
It will take time to let him know that all humans can be trusted. He just had some bad luck with a few in the past. I keep saying, he seems like such an unhandled horse, but I know also that he was handled, but over-handled when he was.
He just doesn't trust people and is so accustomed to being bad when he didn't have a studchain on his face and being good when he did because of the amount of pain that could be inflicted on him if he stepped out of line.
That's the horse I met, a few months ago. I've only used a rope halter on him. I was leading him back to the pasture today and it was like leading a tame pony. I flashed back on the enraged bull elephant that I was leading (with 2 leadropes) from the stall to the paddock early on. What a difference!
So this afternoon, I brushed his tail completely out! While he was eating!
Friends who have met Spencer and who know how lazy I can be, and who saw that his tail was one thick mat when I brought him home, threatened to shoot me if I cut if off! Still, I thought about it.
But I didn't. I spent several hours on it and well, it was so worth it...don't you think?
Back out with his friends! What a moose!
Thanks everyone for your support and suggestions! As you can see, I listen to each one and find what works!