I’m sorry in advance that this update is not terribly exciting. Today was farm maintenace day, which always coincides with farm equipment malfunction day. 🙂 I decided it was past time for me to pick up manure piles, so my Polaris Ranger decided not to cooperate. I think sometimes these things happen to test and/or strengthen your patience. I admit I need help in that area. Fortunately my dad is willing and able to fix just about anything. Not only did he come and get it running, he stayed to help me pick up the manure piles. I was glad to have the help. My dad is one in a million.
Having a farm of a little over 5 acres, manure management is very important. However, having a family and a full time job doesn’t always leave me with time to do everything that I would like to. I decided not to bother working with Dan, Bill, or any of my other horses, and spend the whole day getting my farm in order. It’s probably a good thing anway because though the clicker training is going well with my original herd and Dan, Bill and I are just not speaking the same language.
After getting it fixed, dad drove the ranger into the paddock where Bill lives. Bill paid no attention. At least he’s not afraid. About 1/2 way through the cleanup, I noticed he had wandered a little closer. My dad noticed too. We worked a while longer and Bill came closer still. I was wondering if I was missing a training opportunity, but reminding myself that today was maintenance day and I had sworn off training. Without saying a word, my dad picked up the bag of carrots that I had left on the seat of the ranger and held one out to Bill. I thought to myself that Bill wouldn’t take the bait. But he did. I contained my excitement, but it was a huge step for him.
We went back to work and Bill approached us a few more times, letting both me and my dad get a few scratches in. He sniffed the ranger and even nuzzled dad’s head. I couldn’t stop smiling. Seeing him interact with my dad that way reassured me that there is some progress being made. It also reminded me how great my dad is. He’s not a horse person, but he takes an interest in anything his kids and grandkids do. Dad has a little horse experience from his younger years, but nothing extensive. I do think he just has a knack though. This is the first time Bill has really shown interest in people. I still don’t have a halter on him. I still keep thinking about how he needs to have his thrush treated, to be groomed, de-wormed, to see the vet, a chiropractor, masseuse, and so on and so on. But then I remind myself that above all this he needs to trust people first. And I need to not be in any hurry. Today was a good step in that direction.
Dan continues to thrive. Dan is very much the opposite of Bill in that you can’t help but catch Dan. Several times I tried to shoo him out of the way so I could pick up the piles in his pasture. He kept inserting himself in the way asking for scratches and treats. He does not “shoo” or spook or get too excited about anything except maybe eating. He is happy to camp out in your personal space and sniff all of your pockets to determine whether or not you brought him a peppermint. I do work on his manners, but sometimes I just have to laugh. How can a horse that was starved down to his skeleton still love people so much?
If your own dad went to all your horse shows to cheer you on, or helped you put up fencing and build your barn, or even if he was just there to support you in whatever you did, don’t forget to call and thank him today. I know I’m not waiting until Father’s day.
Now I’m off to soak in a tub full of epsom salts, and try to find something more professional that Dora the Explorer bandaids to cover the blisters and callouses I got. While I do that, here are some pictures (Dan today, and on day 1 for comparison, and then Bill and me).