It's been raining for the past three day, with today being a slight exception and tomorrow looking to be the rule. So.. I went over and worked Fred and Sherwood today, and ended up showing Dennis that maybe, just maybe, us English people know something about something, and that maybe everything we do isn't because our horses are well trained by professionals. We started showing Fred how to lunge a couple weeks ago and worked on it some more today, after I played with him and some of the basic groundwork principles- giving me his head when I apply pressure to the cheeks of his halter without swinging his whole body... I think he's finally starting to understand that he can bend his neck, he's not stuck being straight, and that maybe it won't kill him to trust us just a little bit.
Dennis even lunged him a little bit, and was amazed at how difficult it was to stay in the "v" when your mule is super reactive to every move, sound, and breath you make. Poor thing, he must've been beat on so badly.. And he is really sweet when he relaxes. We got him walking, trotting, and whoa'ing on command today on the lunge, with minimal jumps, fly-aways, and panting. We even got some chewing and licking, so.. We're doing something right. He'll even let you approach and catch him in the paddock now! I'm so proud of him!
As far as my own wee babe, she is starting to feel good! Still not the crazy mare I thought I'd have, but pretty good! We taped her the day after she came in, and yesterday- almost an exact week and... I'm not sure if we did it right, but it looks like she went from just under 900 lbs to 942! She doesn't act like she has ulcers and we figured out- after careful weighing in the kitchen with Roseanne- that we'd been gypping her about half the recommended food per day! I've been reading "Off the track: From racehorse to riding horse," and they recommend giving 8-10lbs of grain and about 15-20 lbs of hay per day to a retired racer so they don't lose weight, and after weighing her portions, we'd only been giving her 4 lbs a day! So... We fixed that. Now she gets 4 lbs of grain and 6 qts worth of hay cubes per feeding, as well as free choice hay all day long.
We've been working on grooming on cross ties, leading and basic giving-to-pressure lead line work, as well as lunging. We started cross-tying in her stall, so when there was no problem, I tried cross-tying her in the aisle today and... She was fine. Someone has done a nice job teaching this mare the basics, and I'm reaping the benefits. Yay for me! She dragged me across the arena yesterday, my boots left little skid marks from where I "skied" across the wet sand! Haha I was trying to get her to stop coming in on the lunge, so I pointed the whip at her shoulder and... Well... I went skiing! Today, I worked on desensitizing her to the whip, and I think she's now getting the idea of "out" as a command. Oh yeah! She also comes on command now, too! I wouldn't trust her to do it across the arena, but she's solid across 15-20 feet. I screwed it up once today when she made it almost to me and then stopped to sniff and I tried to pressure her- which then promptly scared her away, but lucky me, she's forgiving. So we got it twice more and called it a day. I let her loose for another 20 minutes then grabbed her for some grooming and dinner.
Already her coat is clearing up, some of the scabs coming off and looking much better. I keep applying vet cream every day and it seems to be working. I can also show sheen her tail without her flinching and jumping everywhere, so it looks like when it grows out too longer length, she's going to be one of those few TBs with a very nice tail- her mane is much thicker than most TBs I've worked with. Yay! Tomorrow we have the farrier out to check out her feet and recommend a course of action, I'll make sure to take video and pictures for the record.