I haven’t played with Rocky very much lately. Or have I?
I have hung out in the pasture with him. He is in the front turnout now, which is a bigger space with a bigger herd and a creek down the middle, so I walked around with him at liberty to show him all the stumps and trees and rocks and crevices. (He is almost blind at night, and needs to learn where things are as soon as possible in a new space.)
The new herd:
I have protected him when a more dominant horse came to drive him off, and instead I drove the other horse off while Rocky kept eating. When the other horse came back submissively and asked to join us, I allowed it.
Rocky and Milo, the herd leader:
I have scrubbed his chest with CloroHex Solution most days, treating a small patch of skin fungus, and to do that I have either had to protect our space in the pasture or bring him out on-line. Once we’re out, we have walked around the ranch a bit, or drifted into the front arena for a roll at liberty.
I have scratched his sides where he indicated he itched the most, cleaned his feet, and occasionally fed him a treat — all while keeping the rest of the herd away.
While I could see Rocky from my office window when he was in the side pen, which I liked, the front turnout is significantly larger and I love that he gets to be out there. He has mostly been jumping the creek instead of getting his feet wet, but he’s less worried about the existence of creekness every day. He has also become much less concerned about the goats across the street, or the motorcycles that zip down the road. Even tall trucks, like the garbage truck every Tuesday morning, don’t bother him as much. And I can see the pasture from my front porch:
Did you notice Salsa in the shelter? Here’s an enhanced close-up, in the style of Cute Overload’s COXCU cute-hances:
So no, I haven’t been taking him out to walk over poles or to advance through the liberty patterns or to practice walking along the road so we can walk up to the new-to-us trail we’ve recently discovered. But what I have been doing is being a companion. A partner. And quite possibly, thinking like a horse.