Thursday, 18 February 2016

Tommy Update

Although I have been putting some little Tommy updates in my monthly reviews I thought it was probably about time I gave you a proper update on Tommy's progress. 

At the end of September I set the following aims:

1.       To be good for the farrier to have all 4 feet trimmed.
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 continue putting the thin summer sheet on his back and try doing it up.
5.       To use conditioning spray in his tail.
6.       To start teaching him to be tied up.
7.       Introduce him to the hosepipe.
8.       To continue to build his confidence more.
9.       To increase his experience eg: seeing tractors, more new people etc.
10.   To give him lots of love and cuddles - which he loves

The farrier has been a few times since my last update and Tommy is really making steady progress.  He is brilliant at having his feet picked out into a skip and is not worried about it if I push the skip about with my foot at all.  He picks his feet up easily and doesn't snap them up too quickly very often now either.  As Tommy is still not able to be tied up this is all done in his stable.  

He has all of his feet trimmed easily now and last time my farrier tried holding a hind leg forward so that he could rasp the toe - Tommy was fine.  This is a new thing and obviously feels slightly odd to a horse so I was really pleased with his reaction (or lack of reaction)!  I hold Tommy on the yard when the farrier does his feet and we always do him last so that he has been able to watch the others first.  This means that he gets used to the noises and smells whilst he feels nice and safe in his stable :)  Taking it steady means that he doesn't become overwhelmed but the fact that my farrier comes every 6 weeks means that Tommy is getting used to him quite quickly.

If you watch my video's or follow me on Facebook or Instagram you will know that we had a few tricky days again last week.  Although, most of the time Tommy is very settled anything new that happens does unsettle him for a while.  Last week we had the hunt in the village.  They park in the farmyard right behind the stables but the meet is a bit further away.  Chesney and Basil have now got quite used to this arrangement and generally just watch with an occasional run around.  

When something new happens in the area Tommy's first reaction is to canter around the field - and he adopted this tactic last week too.  The hounds are boxed to the meet and let out in the farmyard so they make quite a lot of noise which obviously upset Tommy a bit.  The horses were interesting too, but we actually have a group of point to point horses which hack around the edge of the field adjoining mine so he is relatively used to this.  However, they also had a quad bike and this raced around the adjoining field too and he was particularly upset by this.  I am not sure, but I think he may have been chased by a quad bike where he was rescued from - that would explain it.  

I managed to get the others in at normal time for their tea but Tommy would not come to the gate and I have still only managed to catch him in the field when he is not wearing a headcollar a couple of times.  As it got dark and he didn't come - I tried Polo bribery - the others became upset and unsettled again.  So much so that later that evening I had to put them back out in the field.  

The next morning when I arrived it was still dark and I thought they might all be waiting at the gate - but they weren't.  As it became light I mixed some food for them and Basil and Chesney came in to eat that before going straight back out again.  Tommy was still cantering about a bit and would not come:(

By the evening I had hatched a plan and by allowing them in to the small bit of field behind the stables (with some nice grass) I managed to get Tommy up to the stable end of the field.  I closed the gate and so had him in a smaller, more manageable area :)  After bringing the other 2 in I managed to coax him too.

 Bless him, he was exhausted from all the running around.

It took another couple of days for Tommy to properly settle back down again and now he is fenced in a separate, smaller area.  He needs this as I must start limiting his grazing to prevent him putting on any more weight.

Now Tommy is in a smaller area I am hoping to really start working on catching him.  Whilst Chesney and Basil were in all the time (during January when they had foot problems) I worked on being able to get up to Tommy in the field and give him treats.  Now he doesn't hesitate to let me go up and pat him, although I still have to move relatively slowly.  I am hoping now that if I leave his headcollar on I will be able to catch him too, the stage after that will be putting his headcollar on in the field.  

Tommy is absolutely confident with having the headcollar on and off in the stable now.  He puts his nose down to go through the nose bit too :)  He is also not at all worried about the strap going over his poll and I have also tried putting the strap around his neck before feeding it over his nose - so I have 2 options for ways to catch him!  

He is perfectly happy for me to rub his ears, check they are warm, pull bits of shavings out of them and give them a gentle pull - which is brilliant.  He is so gentle and just loves having cuddles.  As you will have seen in my December update he is comfortable with his turnout rug now.  We had a few nervy days after the hunt were here but the rest of the time he is absolutely fine with it going on and coming off from either side.  He has no trouble bombing around the field in it.  On Tuesday morning when I was doing the tummy straps up he put his head around, grabbed the bobble on my hat and pulled it off - he didn't flinch! 

We haven't got any further with teaching him to be tied up, although I have put the rope through the string on one more occasion.  This is going to be a job for the better weather.  He is also desperately in need of a tail wash and trim.  I washed Chesney and Basil's tails at the weekend so he watched that and me pulling the hose about then.  I will have to work on this with him but will need a helper until he is safe to be tied up.  Until he has had a bit of a tail wash it seems a waste of conditioning spray!

He has definitely seen some more things since my last update.  The farm have been having corn collected so there are big lorries beeping, he has seen the hunt and lots of dogs and vehicles.  In the last week some sheep have moved into a field near to us and he has been obsessed and slightly confused by them but is now not bothered.  It is all progress and he is becoming more and more affectionate each week.

The steps for the next few weeks are:

1.       To be good for the farrier to have all 4 feet trimmed.
2.       Be able to catch him in the main part of the field when he is not wearing a headcollar.
3.       To be able to lead him across the field.
4.       To use conditioning spray in his tail.
5.       To start teaching him to be tied up.
6.       Introduce him to the hosepipe, maybe wash his tail.
7.       Spring makeover!
8.       To continue to build his confidence more.
9.       To increase his experience eg: seeing tractors, more new people etc.
10.   To give him lots of love and cuddles - which he loves 

Did you see 'February's Vlog' yesterday on my You Tube channel?
Horse Life and Love.  Please check it out and SUBSCRIBE.

You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram for updates on Chesney, Basil, Tommy and Daisy.

Until next time!

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