Ahh, that wonderful soothing feeling when the filly you've haltered since birth suddenly yanks her nose away from the halter and heads for the hills, tail in the air. Catch me?! Halter me?! WHAT'S THAT! Never heard of it, don't want it near me! Breathe deep. Be calm. We'll get through this. WWHHEeee you'll never catch me, just ask my sidekick Bandito, Whheee!
An hour, two dogs, and a sweaty human later, my charming yearling was haltered. It was the usual routine, you get to stand still and be quiet around me, but if you start to spook away, you run. Of course those games works a lot better and faster with say, a Quarter Horse, than a healthy young Arab, but darn it, it DID work in the end! Many thanks to my JJ hound dog and, surprise herder extraordinaire Georgia. I saw a dark blur running the fence line that kept scaring Sheza away from the trough (good, coz she ain't getting a drink while she's being a brat) and realized it was my Chihuahua running the fence with all her might. Pretty cute.
I have to say I was proud of myself for staying fairly low on the frustration scale. There was definitely swearing involved, but I've been through this with her before when she gets a wild hair up her ass and decides she's never been touched by humans. It hasn't happened in months and she has been coming right to me and haltering politely as recently as 2 days ago. But you know, every day is a new day, especially in Fickle Filly Land. And especially especially if, heaven for fend, you change the color of equipment you are using on/with her. I had some yacht rope halters made for the horses since I'm loving the rope halter over the flat nylon halter lately, and Sheza's new halter is a beautiful bright green. Beautiful in my opinion, anyway. I guess in her opinion it's the popular shade known as Horse Eating Green. I did end up giving up on the green and getting the black halter on, because things had devolved to that point, but you better believe the green halter will be introduced again very soon. I *think* the same thing caused the blanket "fear" issue that started the end of this winter, when one day I could throw the blanket on her loose in the pasture and the next storm--familiar blanket now outgrown, a few weeks later--she didn't want her new lovely purple blanket anywhere NEAR her, under any circumstances. I figured she was just being a ShezaBrat at the time but after today with the new green halter, it really got me thinking.
See, she really does wear blankets..
Despite the fact that it's really warm here today and we'd both been working up a sweat for an hour just over the haltering issue, I decided to address the blanket issue. My greatest frustration in raising Sheza, my first foal, has been the regression thing. Sure, I haltered and handled her since day one, but some days she won't be haltered. Sure, she wore multiple blankets from a few months old on up, but if it's a new color she won't wear it?!? Drives. Me. Crazy. SO, since the haltering was accomplished, I turned to the other regression, blankets.
My goal for today was simple: Intro to round pen and let me at least rub the blanket on her neck and shoulders, since at last attempt she wouldn't even let it touch her face. *majoreyeroll* Since it was 40 degrees and raining a week ago and as of yesterday it's suddenly been 85 degrees without a cloud in the sky, there is some adjusting to be done, especially for us redheads. *pantpantapplysunscreendrinkwaterhideinshade*
Luckily my mom is visiting and she took some great photos and brought me glasses of water, ahhh luxury.
Intro to the round pen was a non-event, since she has been lunging on the line nicely in the last few weeks. She eyeballed the round pen heavily, snorted as we walked through the gate, and that was pretty much that. I unsnapped the lead rope and raised my hand behind her and off she went, trotting around the perimeter.
She got the stop and direction change quickly and squared up to me right away, but as I started introducing the blanket she got snooty again and turned her butt on me for transitions, so had to keep trot trot trotting around for a few more minutes. Once she decided to pay attention again and squared up and came to me nicely I started letting her sniff the blanket and touching her face with it:
She tolerated that fine but when I moved it toward her neck she took off again and did some more circles and direction changes until she was respectfully back and ready for more. This time I made it to her neck and rubbed it all over her neck and shoulder on the right side, which she didn't move a muscle for. (Remember, she ran circles for an hour in the sun before I even caught her so the edge was well off by now!) When I moved around to her left side she made as if to spook away but then stopped and decided maybe the blanket rub was better than trotting again:
Sweaty filly, thinking about things, hmmm, this blanket maybe isn't so bad, hmmm...
I called it a day at that, having rubbed the blanket over her face and on both sides of her neck, chest, and shoulders. It was seriously warm out and I wanted to end on a win without completing exhausting us both. She was so hot and sweaty I knew it would also be good for another hose bath lesson, so after much praise for the round pen work we were off for the cross ties.
Okay, I know her head looks giant in the photo below but it cracks me up and I had to add it, the eyeballing she is giving the hose is SO Desire-esque. And it's also photo evidence that my nutty filly can be sprayed off with a Terrifying Hose Creature and we can both live to tell the tale. Small victories, people, small victories.
You can see me in the back left corner scraping the water off as she eyes my mom and the camera dubiously:
I had pulled Desire too and made her hang out in the cross ties while I was working Sheza. She tapped and danced and pooped and then danced in her poop, and called for Sheza, and was just generally silly when we first left for the round pen. I heard her quiet down after about 10 minutes though and she seemed to be chilling in her cross ties when we returned. I have been wanting to properly wash and shampoo her mane and tail for a while now so after Sheza was bathed I turned the hose on Desire, which prompted the whole tap dance routine again. She's so funny, she acts SO angsty the whole time but really doesn't move much of anywhere, she doesn't even swing her butt around, just stands in one place with her rump in the left corner where she likes it, tapping and stretching and angst-ing away.
I don't have any snazzy bluing shampoo, just Cowboy Magic shampoo and conditioner that I dilute quite a bit with water. So the mane and tail didn't come out amazingly blindingly white or anything, but certainly less yellow than before and at least the hair is clean and fully combed through now.
The girls wouldn't stand up and pose for us, every time one looked toward the camera the other one started grazing, so we got what we could for size and growth comparisons.
Hey ma, you aren't so big anymore!
Finally the horse torture was at an end for the day and we headed for the paddocks, past the scary man with machines, aka my husband and the leaf blower.
Ready, Ready? You know it's coming... I like big butts and I cannot lie! Look at those serious and for real Arabian butts!
Woah, what happened to that tidy mane! It's like fire :-) She isn't shaking her head here, that's just how it fell after her bath.
Not too much distance from that filly back up to mom's...yikes...
Desire's tail is nice and fluffy looking, and again, I LIKE BIG BUTTS AND I CANNOT LIE!!! Okay, I'm done.