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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Defusing a bomb called Echo.

I have been working with Echo and it's extremely frustrating at times. I'm a very patient person (when it comes to horses) but he's really testing me.

Last weekend I had Brad help me get him into the little pen so I could try to touch him again. I pulled the wing gate closed a bit to keep him up against the other gate he just stood with his feet frozen to the ground, his whole body shaking and staring straight ahead. It tried to make him relax but he was completely in the fear zone and oblivious to my friendly overtures. He only exploded once and it was when I moved my crop too quickly from his withers to his shoulder. lol I forgot to drag it slowly, so as not to scare him, but lifted it about 2 inches!!!

This week I have been working with him alone. I've been too afraid of working with him when there's no one around because when he detonates I'm hit hard by the wing gate and if I don't have a firm grip on it I'm toast. Also he managed to bolt right past me once when I was attempting to get him into the little pen. I hung on to the fence and had flash backs of getting my ankle squashed flat lol. I wish I was younger and didn't know all that I know now as far as how dangerous a horse can be. Heck the younger Arlene would have been riding him by now (or dead).

Anyway he's calmer when it's me all by myself. I look very harmless in my straw hat singing show tunes and munching carrots. I say all the things that he's familiar with like step up, bump up, here ya go, big boy big boy (to encourage him) and good boy when he bumps or steps up. Bump up is when he gently bumps my knuckles when their held out. Brad has him bump up very morning when he feeds him.

He's getting better with standing behind the wing gate and has not exploded once when it's been just the two of us. My big achievement was getting him to munch carrots as I rubbed him with my crop. Before his mouth was tightly closed and eating was the last thing on his mind. He still stares straight ahead but every now and again takes a very quick look at me. I always tell him it's just mummy. I dare not push the gate closer to him until the hinges are oiled because it squeaks at a certain point, so I've been unable to get my hands on him again. We'll get there, the century is still young.

Here he is trapped by the wing gate.

Look at his poor frightened face.

He's looking at the carrot despite himself.

Defusing da bomb.

I have discovered something about him; if I dance up to him or waddle like a penguin he lets me get so close I can kiss his nose. Deep down inside he knows that penguins don't kill horses and is very entertained by the dancing. Horses are one of the few animals that dance so I think he appreciates the effort. Anyway, predators generally don't dance about when they go in for the kill, lol.


Brad discovered something about Wildairo. When he was moving hay about he was wearing those chap thingies like a farrier wears, when he went to feed the horses Wildairo BOLTED when he saw him coming. Either Wildairo thought Brad had morphed into the farrier or he hates certain clothes...I bet it's the former lol. I have a feeling that Wildairo is not so much afraid of strangers but just people who mess with his precious hooves.


Foxsun doesn't seem to be gaining weight. I thought he'd put the weight back on pretty fast. I remember how he lost weight so fast that week. I couldn't sleep last night because I kept thinking about it. He was eating the whole time except that Friday when we were out of town and discovered his breakfast untouched when we returned that night. He wasn't eating much but he was eating some hay and all his grain that week, yet he lost a ton of weight! I think if you just gave a healthy horse water for a week they wouldn't get that thin. I still think he looks like he has a huge worm load but he's been wormed. The last time I wormed him was last week with Iver-care. I look at his poo and he seems to be digesting his food OK. If he doesn't start to fatten up soon he's going back to the doctor.


Cheryl Ann said...

Interesting post about Echo. Scout was very wary for about 2 years. Now she follows me around and is very curious! She and Cali just turned 3 in January. I need to start their saddle training this summer. My gelding is like Echo. EVERYTHING scares Sunni! He's a lot better, but I never really know when he will explode. NOT a horse for the grandkid!

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

That's good that Echo is starting to unfreeze and look at you. You're making progress!

Did Foxsun's bloodwork come back normal? That is strange that he'd lose so much weight when he's eating okay.

arlene said...

I love to hear about your horses. I think it doesn't matter what kind of training they receive they still retain their basic personalities...good or bad. Foxsun was always gentle and easy going and has never got excited about anything.

I'm so glad you mentioned that Echo was making progress when he looked at me. Sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees.

Foxsun's blood work came back indicating he was anemic (low red count) and was fighting an infection (high white count). The vet doesn’t think it has anything to do with the pigeon fever he had last year. He also said his body is trying to wall off an infection and he was anemic because he wasn’t eating enough due to pain. The chemistry panel ruled out the really serious problems the vet was worried about.
He’s been feeling good and I saw him trotting back to the corrals again the other night. He’s on bute and has finished the course of antibiotics. He has just (this week) started to eat his senior ration again, which I’m VERY pleased about. It looks like he may be putting weight back on now. I can’t help but worry that he does have a chronic problem that is the result of the pigeon fever he had last year.
He first lost weight late last summer when he was on pasture, like he has been every year at that time for the last 20+ years. (He regained it over Fall and Winter). It was very odd because Foxsun normally is a bit too fat that time of year. His weight loss occurred about a month or so before the abscess's appeared.