Once again the Christmas season comes upon me like a Tsunami. Hm…
First off Merry Christmas to you all!
To update you briefly on what is happening, we did get another pony. Now named Dulce (de Leche). She is as sweet as she can be but it has taken a long time for Pandora to not resent the new addition. Surprisingly, ZZ was immediately happy and adopted the newcomer while Pandora pinned her ears and was nasty. Of course, ZZ is top Alpha (behind me), then Pandora, then Dulce (which she doesn’t resent at all so she was a great choice for an Omega).
As I posted before I was told she isn’t “into” humans but I felt confident that I could win her over. I personally am not into horses that want to muzzle me all over and be a Pocket Pony; these horses are usually dangerous. What some people see as “loving” behavior is simply pushy behavior that continues to assert their herd dominance over their hapless humans.
The first week it took some carrot bribery to get her to come close. When I went out to the horses, I let her see that the others wanted my attention and then I made sure she realized that I would protect her from the others when I was distributing treats. That took a few sessions and time for ZZ and Pandora to realize that, even though Dulce was Omega, she could line up at treat time too and they were not allowed to shove her away.
Today, while scooping poop, she came right over and wanted to have some attention paid to her. She actually had to be told no on getting a treat – very gently – which is exactly where I want her to be. Curious and interested, but respectful in showing her interest, which is very easy place to get too when working with shy ponies.
On the health end of things, I’ll be having the vet out to look at her teeth. I suspect they are not normal at all because she chews quite differently (sideways motion like a cow or goat), and at certain angles it looks like there is an underbite. This might be a genetic deformity due to the in-breeding of the herd she came from; her rather overlarge eyes and proportions of her face also make think she had some parents that were too close on the family tree.
She does lose some hay when eating but from her weight she obviously is not starving at all. Other then that she seems to be quite fit and handling the cold weather fine.
Whenever the weather has permitted, I’ve continued to ride Z. We are making a bit more progress every time which is very exciting. I know it’s bizarre perhaps to write this but it seems like she has really changed in the last 6 months. She has a new maturity and willingness to work. Now that we have sorted out standing, mounting and moving, I’m starting to concentrate on bending. She overbends to the right with her head and neck (“breaking at the poll”).
The weather turned cold this week so no more riding or training. Instead our focus shifted to winterizing the barn. The north door opens into the center aisle, but the door was so heavy no one could open it without major issues. Husband took it down, cut it half and made me Dutch doors.
We moved some of the panels so with the top Dutch door closed, the ponies can enter into a indoor, panel pen that adjoins a stall, approximately a 10×20 space. With this door addition, we now have three stalls so each horse can have shelter or share the shelter, depending on how they feel about each other.
The first “stall” as you enter the barn has become my hay storage. Husband doublestacked pallets (there is some water that seeps through on this floor due to runoff) for me so we can stack square bales right next to where we load the hay bags. The wall between stall #1 and #2 we made taller with scraps found in the barn and now I can use the interior wall of stall #1 to hang the hay bags up. This allows me to have 8 bags all filled and ready for rotation.
The only real problem I haven’t solved very well is the water tanks freezing over. This is because of my funds. I do have a five gallon, flat back, heated bucket inside stall #2 but I really need a very large one (16 bucket) like this so the ponies can use it in stall #3.
The tack room is so well insulated and being on the south side of the barn, the barn kitty water has not frozen at all. Zap is still being locked up when the sun goes down which gives me peace of mind since we live on a busy road with two curves and there is a lot of wildlife around. He continues to eat mice almost every day and last week, had a chipmunk, who thankfully was quick enough to escape up a nearby tree when Zap opened his jaws to drop it for playtime.
Have a wonderful and safe holiday – I have actually have four days off IN A ROW to enjoy! Right before I go in for my root canal… ugh … but for now I’m loving ever day of job-freedom!