I trimmed all 4 horses tonight. I generally trim every week or two, and I’ve started trimming them loose in the pasture. I find that they are all more cooperative when I allow them freedom to stand without a halter. Another change I made is I return a hoof whenever they pull it away, rather than holding on and insisting I be allowed to finish. I find the more I am willing to let go and offer freedom, the more they trust me to hold their hooves. Trimming has become very fast and easy approached this way. I can get all 4 done in about 45 minutes. I’m finding their hooves are much healthier on this frequent trim schedule. Foster provided a learning experience tonight. He stood for his front feet, and walked away when I started his hinds. I found that he was mistrustful and thought the process would hurt. I did put him in a halter and lead, although I still allowed him to circle and step away when he chose. I figured out that I could rest his hind toe on my steel-toed boot and trim from the bottom while he stood comfortably. While I worked, Lucky stood behind Foster with his nose by my hands, watching me work and inspecting the results. By the end of the session, Foster was relaxed again. I’ll be curious to see whether I can trim him loose next session.
I also spent time with Lucky tonight. I brought his halter, lead and wand out in the field, without an agenda for our session. He started to walk away from me, so I put down the lead and wand. I approached, greeted him, and retreated. In a minute, I approached and greeted again. As soon as he showed reluctance, I backed out of his space. The third time I showed him the halter after greeting him, let him sniff it, then backed away before he could leave. When I lifted the halter to approach a 4th time, he came to me first and allowed me to put the halter on. I chose to reward his willingness to stay with me by focusing on fun and pleasant bodywork. I spent several minutes just doing TTEAM TTouches, mainly connected clouded leopard, all over his body in a slow steady rhythm. I finished just standing in a grounding position, one hand on his chest and one on his back behind his withers. Of course, while I was doing all of this, Foster was watching, nibbling, sniffing and just generally being a jealous pest. Foster loves attention and petting, and follows anyone with a brush or who even looks willing to give some scratches. Lucky took a break to chase Foster down the field before returning to me to resume our time together. We watched the sun set together. What a great way to wrap up a chilly evening outside.