Sorry for the delay. Work has been busy. Yes, work. I own a small business with 10 employees. Horse training is what I do for fun, so Patriot is a part time affair. Sigh..
I would like to get better pictures for you, but I am working alone. I'll see if I can get a friend to hold the camera over the weekend and get more interesting shots.
Pate and I have been working diligently to gain trust. It was imperative that I be able to doctor his cut, but I did not want to rush the trust. Pate is a very flighty boy and very sensitive. I have taken to calling him "volcano" because he is very reactive. The slightest move on my part is communicated loud and clear, so my movements must be deliberate, purposeful and very light. His sensitivity is a blessing in disguise, but that will be revealed as time goes on.
I have needed to work slowly to build trust and respect. I knew that doctoring the cut would be painful to him, so he had to trust me to, one, work on his face and two, cause a little pain.
Yesterday, I wanted to work him in the round pen. I opened up the gate to the pen hoping that he would be curious enough to go exploring. Nope, too scared! So I attached a rope to his halter and led him out, one small step at a time. He leads pretty well, so it was a confidence thing on his part. It gave me the opportunity to refine pressure and release and it gave him confidence. He is very light in the halter and I want to keep it that way.
Once in the round pen, we worked on sending, more halter work and liberty. He has begun to "join up" with me and approach at the "kiss" sound. He's also really getting to enjoy the liberty work. I hope we will be able to do some neat things with that.
I have switched halters to a rope halter for better control. I also worked on touching his body all over, brushing and currying and the start of lifting his feet. He's doing really well. I have brushed out his mane and tail and groomed him all over. He looks MUCH better. He is standing quietly, on his own accord, no lead, for all of this.
It's interesting how his mind works. He has developed a coping mechanism over the years when he is feeling frightened or threatened... pacing. I can tell when he is worried as he will start to pace the back line of his pen. He doesn't do it in the round pen, he just leaves instead, which is normal. He also is herd bound and will pace when Tai leaves his stall. I will need to get him into as many new situations as possible to allow him to gain confidence and hopefully rid him of this behavior. He will swish his tail to the left when he is thinking about something, before he licks and chews. It's very cute.
I find it interesting that he will get to the point of almost falling asleep with his head in my arms during the training session, but paces at the beginning of the next session. It is easy to stop if I ask him to face up and pay attention to me. But it is almost like he short circuits for a tiny moment, before he remembers that I am ok and relaxes. He also likes to reach down a grab big mouthfuls of the sand in the arena and let it dribble out. No clue there, but I am sure glad I put him in a stall instead of the arena when he first arrived. All I needed was a sand colic before he was handleable.
After the last two training sessions, it was time to doctor his cut. It is not a pretty sight. In fact, it is downright gross. I used a bucket of hot water and a wash cloth to soak the crusty, groady stuff off of the gash. As I was doing that, I was able to squeeze pus and other icky stuff out of it. It is about 1/4" wide and deep and several inches long. Needless to say, he's been on meds and bute, but I would have liked to have had it stitched. My vet is not a dart gun carrying zulu warrior, so we had to wait. We will see what we can do with it now, but it will leave a scar. After some antiseptic and salve, he's good to go. Although a quick training session with the fly mask was imperative as it's a new permanent installation until his face heals.