Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Tommy Update

Two weeks ago I set the following as my 'aims' for Tommy :

1.       Be able to put my arm gently over his hindquarters.
2.       To pick up his feet more gently as he tends to snap them up really quickly.
3.       Be even calmer for his headcollar to be put on.
4.       Be able to catch him in the main part of the field when he is not wearing a headcollar.
5.       To have a saddle cloth on his back.
6.       To build his confidence more.
7.       To increase his experience eg: seeing footballs, new people etc.
8.       To give him lots of love and cuddles - which he loves

Yet again I am so proud of him and how well we have done.  He is definitely part of the family now and is totally in tune with the routine.  To be honest it feels like he has been here so much longer than 6 weeks.  He is starting to test the boundaries with Basil and Chesney more and Chesney has no hesitation in telling him he is too close- he chases him away.  Basil seems to be more chilled about it! 

Tommy is not wearing a headcollar in the field or stable now.  I have not managed to try catching him again in the main part of the field as he is always standing in line at the gate.  He likes coming in for a bit of fuss and hay!  I always put his headcollar on in the evening and he is getting more consistently calm about this.  I often try leading him about in the yard a bit and putting things on his back (see later in this blog).  He is really good at waiting for me to open the gate, leading through and turning around now which is brilliant.  He is better at having his headcollar taken off but still sometimes lifts his head up.  He is also really, really good at waiting until I have patted him and gone out of the field before he turns to walk away.

Tommy has quickly learnt 'walk on' and 'stand' in my voice and 'back' is a good one too.  He is a little unsure about the command to move over in the stable but is getting better.  Obviously this is an important one if he is standing too close to the wall!  Picking out his feet is still improving, he still picks his feet up a bit quickly but will happily let me pick them out each morning.  As with our  last update he no longer holds his legs all stiff and tense which he did when he first arrived!

He is pretty good with the weigh tape now and as he was so used to the numnah we have progressed to an old bath towel.  Initially he was a little nervous of the bigger size of this but by folding it and laying it against his shoulder before gently putting it over his withers and unfolding he has got used to it.  Tommy will also have the towel over his hindquarters and is confident to walk around the yard with it on.  Although he did frighten himself a little the day he trotted a bit and it moved more! 

I have been working on getting him used to me holding it in the air as you may need to do with a bigger rug.  At first he was a little more worried about this and put his head up and went a bit tense but with a bit of praise and a neck rub he quickly settled.  I now feel that he is getting used to it although he is better if you have been in the stable for a few minutes and worked up to it.  If I went into the stable lifted this huge towel in the air and tried to throw it over his shoulder he would still be terrified! 

I have also found a favourite place for a rub and/or scratch - which is a great new way of praising and reassuring him.  He absolutely loves having his chest and under his neck scratched.  Close up by his throat is the best place.  I can move around him freely without him being worried, although he is much more confident about this in the stable.  In the field I can get closer now than I used to before he walks away and we usually just try this when we go to move the fence a little.  The horse dental technician came to have a quick look at Basil at the weekend and went to say hello to Tommy.  He had a quick look at Tommy's teeth (no speculum) which was a bit of a surprise to Tommy but he took it well!  He has also had to put up with a drill when Basil had a new metal part put on the top of his door - which he also was fine with.  Although, he was not so keen when the electric screwdriver was making a big noise!

The farrier is due this week so that will be our next big challenge but I am hoping that with the improvements we have made with him lifting his feet that this will not be too much of a leap.  He will do Basil's shoes and Chesney's feet first so by the time it is Tommy's turn I hope it won't be too much of a shock. 

We are having regular grooming sessions and cuddles, I would like to be able to use some conditioning spray in his tail at some point but we are not there yet.  Tommy really enjoys being brushed and pampered (much like Chesney) and is no problem with legs, tummy or head.  He is getting much better at having his ears touched and brushed but I generally have to work up to it and not just grab his ear!  He is still a little unsure about me trying to get the shavings off when they are caught in the hair inside his ears though.

Next steps:

1.       To be good for the farrier.
2.       Continue with the practice so that he is calmer for his headcollar to be taken off.
3.       Be able to catch him in the main part of the field when he is not wearing a headcollar.
4.       To put a thin summer sheet on his back.
5.       To use conditioning spray in his tail.
6.       To continue to build his confidence more.
7.       To increase his experience eg: seeing footballs, new people etc.
8.       To give him lots of love and cuddles - which he loves

Did you see my little extra video with Tommy last week  on my You Tube channel.   

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Until next time!

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