I have been Rockycentric in this blog, as he is my levels partner, but Salsa has been progressing as well. Six months ago he couldn’t be within 12 feet of a human without getting tense or moving away. Now he leans into us when we scratch the base of his mane, and I almost made him fall over today when I scratched his hamstrings and hocks. (I saw him trying to scratch on the feed tub and went over to help.)
He knows the principle games (friendly, porcupine, driving) and the level 1 on-line patterns (touch it, figure 8). He is bonding closely with me and with Jan, and when school is out and Jan can stay here for weeks at a time in the summer, she’ll do her levels 1 and 2 with him.
One funny thing is that Salsa doesn’t know what clucking means. At least, he doesn’t respond to it at all. He’s teaching me, finally, to stop my annoying habit of cluckcluckcluckcluckcluck.
He and Rocky have new herdmates for the nighttime turnout, one of whom is quite obnoxious — an extreme Left Brain Extrovert named Captain whose dominance/play drive won’t stop. I told Captain today it’s a good thing he’s charismatic or I might be disinclined to develop affection for him.
Salsa darts out from behind Rocky and runs at Captain with ears pinned and teeth bared, when Captain gets too close. Rocky drives Salsa and Kessler drives Captain, but it’s Captain and Salsa who end up doing most of the posturing. (And so far anyway it is mostly posturing, as they pull their kicks and neither has bite marks.) Salsa looks like a little TIE fighter, protecting the more ponderous Star Destroyer that is Rocky.
He no longer fears his blanket; now he’s merely annoyed. He enjoys being groomed and he picks up his feet politely. He gets trimmed regularly by the farrier yet for some reason I never see it, either because I’m out of town or because the farrier comes and goes without my ever knowing he’s here. His hooves are really looking like hooves now, instead of Santa elf boots. He’s shedding enough for the entire Budweiser wagon team.
The day we brought him home: