Another Good Day

George has been super to lead all day – both out to the field and back in, then when I brought him out of his stable this evening for Lynn to pick up his back feet again.

I think he’s lost one of his top incisors – he’s the right age to be shedding his central milk teeth and growing in the permanent incisors so that’s fine. I’ll get the dentist in to see to all the horses in January, make sure all’s well – Abe’s due for a check on his cheek teeth then anyway, since he had a few sharp edges last time. I don’t know that George will be as amenable to the gag in his mouth as Abe was, though, and I can imagine Dancer will live up to her name at the suggestion!

George did have a minor Moment tonight when Stan the Man and his son (not a lot brighter than Stan and also a handyman!) decided to hold a conference outside George’s box – both Lynn and I saw George bouncing up and down against his door, head outstretched and teeth at the ready and yelled at him simultaneously, but we also then moved the men away firmly so they’d stop aggravating George.

You just can’t tell some people! They’ve both been warned repeatedly not to stand near George, there’s a big notice on his door and both Lynn and I have told them several times that George hates people standing around talking by his door, but they persist! Really, they deserve to be bitten – but not by George, for George’s sake!

George’s plough gear was posted today so we should have it on Wednesday or Thursday.

 

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Cuddly George…

It’s so nice when he’s in a cuddly mood. No teeth being waved threateningly, no trying to bully you with his size – just a big, friendly, happy chestnut teddy bear on the other end of the lead rope.

We took the long way out of the stable this morning, round the outside and between the barns, then down into the lower car park, past the static caravan and down the track to the field. I chose that way because Ceilidh was still in and I didn’t want to make George face her first thing in the morning, but he came along with pleasure, paused beautifully in the doorway while a car went past (not so much as the twitch of an ear – and a polite car driver who slowed down properly) and then walked on when asked, enjoyed the view (I have no problem waiting while he studies the landscape – horses do like to know where they are, understandably!) and went into the field courteously, waiting for me to open the gate and then walking round it before turning back to have his halter off.

He had a handful of treats, then cantered up to the top for a drink of water while I went back to the barn to collect Abe, while Emily brought young Henry down behind Abe. Abe has no worries passing Ceilidh, which is intriguing – unless, being a fairly big chestnut mare, Ceilidh reminds George of his mother? If that’s the case, Florence brought him up with good boundaries!

George was still happy and cuddly tonight. I brought him in past Ceilidh’s empty stable – he paused a bit until he realised she wasn’t in it yet – and then he had a session of putting his collar on and off before dinner, and even then he was more teasing than serious about waving his teeth at me while I tried to retrieve his bucket from his door! He pushes down on it so hard the metal hooks jam and it takes a lot of human effort to hick it up again – George knows that perfectly well and clearly enjoys waiting to play with whoever has the job of retrieving the bucket, but if we leave it, he shoves it off the door and kicks it round his stable all night, breaking it, so I generally wait and play dodgems with his teeth to get it away safely when he’s finished eating. He wasn’t trying to make contact with his teeth tonight – he just opened his mouth and loomed at me each time I took hold of the bucket, then when I let go of the bucket and held a hand up to fend him off, he looked the other way with his ears up – until I took hold of the bucket again! Eventually Helen took pity on me and let him sniff the bucket of floor-sweepings and while he was discovering it wasn’t food, I had the bucket off his door smartly and got away!

I’ve been trading emails with Phil Goodchild about George’s plough gear and it should be in the post this week. I might find a short bit of old chain tomorrow and introduce George to the sound, though I might wait until the full length chains arrive – either way, I won’t be putting them on him until he’s quite easy with the sound of chains jingling and dragging around him. First to get the hames fitted to his collar properly, then get him used to walking in collar and plough gear. He’ll have the exciting new sensation of a crupper to get used to before we try putting his chains on him!

Evening Update

George, Abe and Henry were all feeling frisky on the way in tonight but the control halter stopped George nicely as he headed first for the track to the road and then the track to the car park, and we got into the barn smoothly enough. That came to a sudden stop as George realised that Ceilidh was in her stable ahead of him – scowling over her door. He refused to budge closer to her! I turned him into one of the grooming bays to let Abe and Henry through (though Henry in turn was a bit cautious about walking by behind George!) and he did that willingly enough, turned round to come out – saw Ceilidh’s scowl again and stopped dead.

He was anxious enough he started nuzzling me for reassurance, even, which in a horse his size is faintly ridiculous!

Eventually I got between him and Ceilidh and Donna went into Ceilidh’s stable and backed her away from the door, so he plucked up his courage and scuttled hurriedly past her stable.

They’ve never even touched noses, though Ceilidh has a reputation for ‘sorting out’ bumptious young horses (and is certainly keeping Dancer polite with judicious scowls in the field, though I’ve never seen her lift so much as a hoof or expose a tooth towards the baby!) so I’m amazed at George’s concerns. It’s great, in that a horse who can be disciplined so easily by an old mare glaring at him clearly hasn’t a seriously mean bone in his body, but it does make bringing him in that way a little slow!

Once in his own box George recovered his normal confidence and I gave him another session of sticking-head-in-collar, though the moment when he popped his head in, pricked up his ears and then stepped out of reach (looking smug) did leave me wondering, for a moment, how to get the collar back off him again if he wanted to keep it that much – but I held out his headcollar and he put it on beautifully, so then I could keep his head facing the right way while I lifted the collar off over his ears again.

Tons of treats and praise, of course!

Abe, meanwhile, was hanging over his door wondering why George had a game he couldn’t play, so I let him look at the collar. He gave it a sort of bemused stare, while George glared at him, ears pinned, practically daring Abe to play with George’s new toy! (I can see I’m going to have to get Abe a collar of his own…. unless he’ll accept his rhythm beads as a substitute!)

Lynn also had some time spare this evening so after she’d pulled a mane for the pony’s fairly novice owner, I held George and she went right round his feet to pick them out. He stood beautifully and let her handle all four legs without a twitch, though he did stagger slightly on one leg when he didn’t have his balance quite sorted.

If you translate his age to human years, he’s the equivalent of a six year old. My daughter spent a lot of time falling out of trees, off her bike or over her own feet at that age, so fair enough!

I think he’s had half a kilo of fibre nuggets as treats tonight…. there’s good reason for him growing like a weed!

Girning Through a Horse Collar!

George had no hesitation at all this morning when I held up his new collar for him – he stuck his nose straight into it! I’d taken the hames off, of course, so it was just the leather, but within half a dozen goes George wasn’t just putting his nose into it and grinning at me through it but had it right up over his ears and sitting behind his poll, ready to turn right side up. He’s bombproof when it comes to anything work-related!

I’ll try and get some pix, but I may have to put the head cam on to do it – the collar’s heavy to hold in one hand even without the hames and I’m not going to juggle collar, treats and phone around George’s nose, it’s just asking for him to eat the phone or something!

It was hailstones this morning so I held George while Lynn slung his rug over him. He stood like a rock for us, with the aid of plenty of treats, and never even twitched an ear back – he’s just too impatient to stand tied up and have things done with him. When he comes in tonight we’re going to do the same to remove his rug, then pick out his hooves all round.

It’s an age thing – young horses, like young children, just have no patience. He’ll grow into himself in a few years and be fine.

I noted as I came away that he’s starting to outgrow his rug – I need to take his heavyweight rug down, it’s cut bigger and will hopefully fit him for longer. So much for 6’3” rugs – he’s heading rapidly for 6’6” now…

 

Nearly forgot! I led George down the barn this morning past Ceilidh, the old mare who goes out with Poppy and Dancer, and he went past alright – but he wasn’t coming back again! She scowled at him and he stopped in his tracks and looked quite nervous! I’d put it down to a fluke but he did the same the other night, then jumped past her door hurriedly when I insisted on him coming along.

I wonder what she said to him?

 

[Girning or gurning is an old expression meaning ‘to pull a horrible face’ and ‘girning through a collar’ used to be a very popular game at country fairs – the person who pulled the worst face won a small prize. Actually George wasn’t girning – he went into the collar beaming all over his big chesnut face, ears pricked until the collar pushed them flat and then they sprang straight back up again! ]

George’s Collar’s Arrived!

All the way from the US of A but labelled Coblentz Collars, which is interesting since Coblentz sounds like it should be German – but it based in Ohio, apparently.

Immigration, no doubt!

Anyway, it’s here and I’ve assembled the hames on the collar to check they fit (they do) so tomorrow I’ll take them off the collar again and see how George takes to having the collar over his head. I’ll have to wash his face first – he invariably comes out of his breakfast looking absolutely revolting around the snout!

Collar Coming Soon!

I got a phone call this afternoon to say George’s collar has arrived in the UK from the States and will be heading my way by UPS courier tomorrow morning, so hopefully it’ll be with me on Wednesday or Thursday and I can introduce George to the sight of it around the weekend. With his plough gear due very soon too, it’s going to be an exciting week or two!

He’s still being very polite in his control halter – though it’s a fiendish thing to get on him, like trying to lassoo his nose in spaghetti! It tangles up every time and George helps no end by tossing his head playfully as I’m trying to wrestle his ears into the correct loop of cordage. He has a warped sense of humour, like many horses!

 

It’s Our Gang…

And Henry’s not part of it – yet!

They all went out well enough, though Henry’s still very green on being led so we put two lead ropes on him and while his owner took the left side, I came along on the right with one of the long-reins clipped to the head collar, just in case. I bribed him to leave his stable with a fibre nugget, which just got him moving, then he walked quite well to the gate and we took him in.

I’d turned George and Abe out first and we’d given them a few minutes to get any itch out of their toes and move away from the gate, which was perfect. They were both down the bottom of the field watching Daniel in his paddock, so we had time to leave Henry in the field and retreat before George noticed the newcomer and came storming up the field, Abe slower on the uptake (for once!) but catching up fast.

They all skidded to a halt together for some nose-sniffing, with George taking the lead in his best ‘aren’t I something?’ pose and Abe just a step back, while Henry snapped his teeth rapidly in the typical ‘only a baby, be nice please!’ gesture foals usually adopt around strange horses. George and Abe accepted that and they all went off for a gallop about the field together, with Henry bringing up the rear but holding his own well.

They settled down again after a few minutes and I went to turn Dancer and Poppy out once everything had gone quiet. Henry was very busy exploring and staring around, of course, getting his bearings, and it was quite evident that George and Abe had formed a little gang of two and Henry wasn’t part of it…. but give him a few days and I’m sure he will be!

He’s tiny but he can’t half shift those little legs!