Yesterday was Little Man's day off. I took his wormer out before church, and put it in his bucket. I petted him for a minute, then had to leave. I went out yesterday evening and just spent some time with him. We walked around the pasture together for a bit, and I stroked and petted him and rubbed his ears. I gave him a couple of peanut butter crackers before I left.
We only had one session today. It's been storming much of the day, and it is gloomy and wet outside. When Little Man came up (a little after 6:00 p.m.) he appeared to be limping ever so slightly. His front legs and feet appeared normal when I looked at him, but we are not to the point in our relationship where I feel comfortable trying to take a close look. And he probably wouldn't feel comfortable either.
So, I had the lead rope, and we worked on targeting it and having me rub and stroke him with it. I draped it over his neck and that went okay. I stepped back, holding the rope while it lay across his neck, then clicked and slid the rope off. After a few times of that I left it there while I treated him. Then I reached under and grasped the end and held it along with the other part of the rope. He did not like that and started backing up. I went with him, keeping just the lightest bit of tension on the rope, saying "whooooa." But he kept backing up and started pie eyeing me, so I released the end of the rope and let it slide off him.
He circled and came back, willingly targeting the rope. I stroked him with it a few times, and draped it over his neck again. Then I went in the yard and he followed me to the gate. He stood there with me a long time. I stroked and petted him. He had weight on his right front leg, and was resting his left front leg. He lightly pawed his left front hoof repeatedly, and seemed to favor it, getting off it quickly when he did put weight on it. He also kept nudging my arm and lipping it slightly. I felt as though he wanted me to look at it, but I do not think he is ready for that, at least not without being haltered and tied. He finally appeared to give up, and turned around and dropped his head to graze.
I have been working so hard to show him that he can trust me. I think I probably moved a bit too quickly today when I worked with the rope. But when I thought he was limping, I wanted to work on it so we can move closer to his being able to be led and tied. It is possible that his hoof is just packed with mud and is putting some pressure on him. So I will keep a close eye on him, and will have to adjust what we do as we go.
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