On Tuesday March 22nd, Dandy lost his nuts. The vet had advised two walks in hand per day, followed by two showering of the wound, for the first 7 days, on stall rest. I had made my best to get the colt used to entering and standing quietly in the shower stall, which went well, but not great. So once gelded, we *had* to give him this partial shower, no matter what. I have to admit I sprayed water over more barn floor that I intended to, but after a few attempts (a and few smart suggestions from the stables help), we got it right. So every day I’d drive over to the barn, walk him in the large arena for 10 to 15 minutes, then shower him generously between his back legs, and put him back in his stall. If I went in the morning, someone at the barn would take care of the afternoon shift. And the other way around.
Dandy with his taped tail, shortly after his surgery
On day 4, I took him out, led him in the arena, and going through the sliding door I could feel energy vibrating out of him already. He’d been pretty surprisingly quiet the first three days, but I had a hunch that was soon to be over. Indeed, as I walked toward the far end of the arena, I felt a tug on the lead, only had the time to half turn around and look at him, high necked and wild eyed, started to get my flag arranged, and WOOOSH, he shot past me to my right, and double barrelled in my direction as he passed.
Buck Brannaman always says that the biggest challenge of a horseman, is to keep control of one’s emotions. Well, my emotions were pretty negative on that occasion, which they really didn’t need to be. Dandy was basically telling me he was sick and tired of being pent up in a stall, and that he needed to move his feet.. and was annoyed. I “helped” him moving his feet pretty vigorously then, so he knew the double barrelling hadn’t been very well received, and once the steam was out and he started lowering his neck, getting rythmic in his trot and licking his lips, we just went back to working in a more civilized manner. But I knew the walking only days were gone. So basically, the next days, we resumed our groundwork where we’d left it. Getting him to move at a desired speed and in either direction was good. Getting him to stop by moving his hindquarters swiftly from me was good. Getting him to fluidly pick up his shoulders and start the other way was good, as were several ways of desensitizing by throwing various stuff at him until he’d relax and lick his lips. He could yield his hindquarters on request in close contact while respecting my space, and he was starting to laterally flex his neck on demand. He was ready for a few more things
First time I flung the pad on his back, he just ignored it, entirely
The saddle was a completely different story, and it started to be an issue pretty early on (more on that later). Here’s the first time it was properly put on and cinched up
In the meanwhile Dandy and my daughter got acquainted
Then we worked on that very important step of seeing stuff “from above”
That’s as far as I went with stradding him, but he really didn’t seem fazed, so the “above” bit seemed good, and we proceeded on to the next
A LONG way from the fire breathing dragon he was a month prior ! Stay tuned for part II