This handsome guy with Arrow is his new buddy Moby. He is a younger OTTB sent to Chloe to re-train him for a new life. As a racehorse he probably didn’t experience much herd life so he is now learning. Arrow is showing him the ropes. Moby has been in the pasture for almost 2 weeks now. He does look a little beat up and I think Arrow is the main horse responsible for that but its all part of the process. I know Arrow likes him a lot because he will share a flake of hay with him and he does not like to share food! Moby always calls out to him when I take him out to groom or ride him and runs to the gate to meet him when I bring him back. Totally cute! I will be sad for Arrow when Moby leaves.
Most of Arrow’s winter coat is gone. I groom him every few days to help the process. He loves to be groomed! Well, most of the process. He is really not a fan of me cleaning the boogies out of his nose. He honks. I noticed when he is a little irritated or afraid of something he honks. The closest I can get to describing it is it sounds like a duck call blown once. I also work on his hooves. They are a little dry so I have been putting hoof dressing on every few days. He is a really good boy when working with his hooves. Most of the time he will pick his foot up for me before my hand even touches his leg. Just a side note….grooming a horse will burn about 35 calories every 10 minutes. Besides riding, it seems the best way to exercise!
Arrow and I did have a moment this weekend while riding which thankfully ended up ok but something I will be addressing with Chloe to see if I handled it right or if I should have done something different. I rode him in the arena focusing a lot on circles to the right as this is a challenging direction for him to go as he spent his racing life going to the left. He is improving every time he trains but it will take time. I decided to take the long way back to my locker which involves walking past the hay which was covered by a huge blue tarp. The hay is stacked high so the top of the tarp was well above our heads. There were good sized wind gusts that day and the bottom of the tarp was blowing a little. As we approached he was shaking a little. At this point, I did not realize the tarp was blowing and I thought he was trying to shake flies off because it wasn’t constant. I also did not put his shaking together with fear so I am glad this happened because it brought me one step further in anticipating and possibly preventing a blow up. For a time frame reference this all happened within a few minutes. We exited the arena and he started shaking about 30 seconds later and took a big leap to the side and planted himself. He had stopped shaking so I assumed he was ok. We took about 5 more steps and he started shaking again and immediately started jumping around in a prancing manner, started breathing very heavily and had a lot of white in his eyes. Arrow never bucked or reared and he never has for me but we don’t have a lot of time out of the Arena so I have a long way trying to understand what may or may not scare him and what he may or may not do. I immediately shortened my left rein and turned him a small circle to the left to prevent him from taking off in case he had that in mind. What you are supposed to do when a horse is fearful of something is to have them face it. Don’t let them turn away and give them time to ‘feel’ it out. I’ve done this with Lake and water and we made it across a small pond of water after a short time of facing the fear. I did not make Arrow do this because the gusts were getting stronger and the tarp was really starting to blow. If it would have broken free from the hay at that point, it would have completely covered Arrow and me and there was no one around. I couldn’t see anything less than a disaster happening if that happened so I gave him a few reassuring pats, said ‘whoa Arrow’ a few times and walked him away from it. He kept turning his head to look at the tarp behind him and relaxed as we got further and further away. I have no idea if what I did was right or wrong and I want to know Chloe’s opinion before asking anyone else. I’ll update her answer.
I’m starting to take lessons on Arrow again and we are going to alternate my lessons between riding him and riding a lesson horse. He and I have a long way to go on this journey but I am anticipating an amazing result! I do know it will be quite a long time before I will venture off Kingsway by myself with him. Safety 1st!