On Friday, the sun came out and Erin built a car wash in the arena and work weighed so heavily on my soul that I sneaked out for an hour to play with both horses. Alas, I still don’t have a video crew following me around, to contrast where our little herd is now compared to even six months ago. Both horses were engaged, curious, brave, athletic, and wanting to be with me. And I was able to leave all of my writing assignments in the office and be present with them.
I let Salsa run around naked in the arena while handwalking Rocky around the ranch. His sprain is healing well but the poor guy is still supposed to stick to resting and walking. He wanted to play kite, and flew around on the end of the rope pretending to spook and rear at such frightening things as grains of sand and blades of grass. He ignored the silo, the pigs, and the tractor. Ha.
We then joined Salsa in the arena. I ignored the car wash and played with other patterns until Rocky was also able to ignore the car wash. (The car wash, by the way, looks something like this. I didn’t have my phone with me to take a photo.) Big figure 8s, circles, changes of direction toward me, changes of direction away from me, “put your nose on this,” and even a little bit of back and sideways, though hopefully not too much for the leg. I can’t let him get the physical movement that he wants so I tried to provide challenging mental tasks without being boring or irritating.
At the very end, we went up and he put his nose on the frame and one of the waving strips, then very clearly looked at me with that “There, I put my nose on it, are you happy now?” expression that he does so well.
Of course, I was happy now, so I told him so and tied him out of the way so I could play with Salsa just a bit on the line. I did push him a bit too hard about the car wash, unfortunately, but made up for it with a full scratching session on one of the pedestals. Now that he enjoys human company he is putting a lot of energy into learning his patterns and offering things that he knows will please us.