Updated: Apr 28, 2020
This was such a lovely day for Ranger! In the early morning Ranger, Sami, Hawk and Chance all get grain. When I went out to catch them, I called Sami and Ranger and they came right up to me! I put Sami's halter on first and put the lead rope over her back to wait (that's how we put our horses in "Park"). Then I went to put Ranger's halter on and he practically did it by himself! I put his lead rope over his back and went back to Sami. I led her towards the barn and Ranger followed perfectly without being led at all. Such a good boy!
They ate quietly, and when I turned them loose after they finished, Ranger was happy to take another treat after the halter was off. We give them treats so they don't just dash off at the gate when they are free. It's a safety training so if multiple people are releasing horses no one gets buzzed up if a horse dashes through the group. He is starting to really like those treats. They are the feed pellets the 31 year old guys get as their main feed - mostly powdered hay and a little grain.
I took a couple of short videos of just walking up to Ranger in the pasture - he is so calm now. His biggest worry/awareness is of some of the other geldings coming up to steal Sami, and you can see his focus change a bit in the footage. Chance would really like Sami to be his buddy, but she is happy with Ranger. I'm glad because she was the one who missed Phillipe the most when he died this winter. They were a long-time bonded pair. Ranger is keeping her feeling young and pretty again!
Today was a big snuggling day which was a lovely addition to the trust building. It is so hard to take horse selfies, but I got a few. Ranger was very kissy today and initiated many sweet contacts. His other owners said he would do that and now I think he is relaxed enough here to do the heart connecting. He seems very happy and laid back now and I am so glad he doesn't want to play the "Catch Me" game - quite the opposite now which is wonderful.
All the tails got braided today and there were MANY mudcicles out there. Leia mis-communicated the barn memo to the rest of the herd about the spa days, and some of the horses thought that meant mud packs so they did NOT get brushed. Only the dry horses - the others will have to wait! I included a couple of photos of multicolored tails - they really are pretty. (Please ignore the surrounding mud!) I know they were all pretty relaxed today - there is a picture of Zane (in a mostly white phase) with his legs crossed.
Why do the horses like to lie in the mud, you may ask? Well, it's still cold here this time of year, and the mud is dark and heats up nicely from the sun in the afternoons. It's soft and comfy - it's so cold overnight that the ground freezes into icy, muddy stalagmites and it's not fun at all to lie on or walk through. They mostly sleep standing up. They mince around on the spikes with their bare feet in the morning and look forward to those squishy afternoon naps. Gato and Skippy were snoring and dreaming when I photographed them - very happy horses (not so happy groom, but whatever...).