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Joining Up

Did some natural horsemanship work with Jax today, similar to the videos below.  He did great.  Also picked up all four feet without getting kicky!  Still not much duration on the back feet, but was able to tap the front a little to prep him for a hoof pick and farrier work.  Also was able to get him to step over a ground pole.  He’s a really quick learner, and responds very well to the natural horsemanship work.  Seems to relax once he knows who’s in charge and what the rules are.  He’s got “a good brain” as they say.

Warning – there’s a lot of wind noise on the video, so watch your speakers.


My Mom came up to the barn tonight to meet Jax.  Brought his two pasturemates in first (he’s always lagging behind), and what to my wondering eyes should appear – Jax, at a trot, and he trotted all the way in to me!  And let me hook up his halter, no problem at all!

He was even checking out my Mom, curious, if a bit shy.  Let her scratch his head through the bars of the stall, and went back for more, too!  Still isn’t interested in carrots, apples, or treats, but cleans his food up and loves his hay.  He was the most relaxed I’ve seen him, actually starting to doze off with me standing in his stall with him!

Miss Dakota, on the other hand…is not happy that Jax is currently occupying her stall, and was quite cranky – until she ate.  My Mom gave her some treats and fussed over her a bit too.  And then she decided to show me she was a bit perturbed about the new addition.  I’d put her in the indoor ring to eat and to see my Mom.  When I swung the door open to bring her back outside, she pushed it shut.  With her nose.  Twice.

 

Too funny.  That’s my mare…

Milestones

Well, I just got back from the barn – we fed tonight.  Jax is impressing everyone with how quickly he’s adapting to things.  Since he got there, I’ve fed him dinner every night, and I’ve had to entice him to come in with grain.  Not a surprise, really, and certainly not a big deal.  Once he knew there was grain in it for him, he was easy to hook up and bring in.  He had tended to move off as I approached, though – again, not really a surprise.  He’s still getting used to everything, including me.  Tonight, though, I headed out into the field without grain – with just my camera, actually, to snap some pictures.

Jax grazing

At first, he moved off, but as I stood and took pictures, he relaxed, and began heading up toward me.  I began moving a little bit closer at a time…waiting for him to get comfortable with me at that distance before inching a little closer.

Wait a minute – you moved, didn’t you?

He started moving closer, too, until he was only a few feet from me.

Jax is allowing my presence a little bit closer at a time. Never stops grazing.

When I stepped in to pet him, he didn’t flinch – in fact, was offering the itchy spots! I brought him in easily. Again, he would get a little speedy, and we’d circle, and he’d settle down.

Once inside, I did a little more de-fuzzing (he’s looking a little less like a yak these days), and picked up his feet. He’s been doing great the last couple of days – was pseudo-lungeing the other day, doing walk, back, and whoa without issue. He’s still not thrilled about the whole picking-up-the-back-feet deal, but getting a little better every day.

He was also soliciting attention in the stall – sniffing, poking me with his muzzle, and obviously enjoying a good scratch.

He’s made great progress in a few days, and everyone who sees him compliments him. Not bad for under a week, eh?

Handsome little guy, isn’t he?

Jax’s First Day

Well, Mr. Apple Jax had a very good, minimally eventful first day.  He wasn’t eating his bran mash last night,which I attributed to his being unfamiliar with it.  He was eating hay, peeing and pooping, so no worries.  This morning, I got a text that he wasn’t eating his grain, but he was eating hay, and not in any obvious distress.   I asked if he was going to be turned out this morning, because I figured if he ate grass and hay all day, I wasn’t going to worry; I could pick up the other brand of mare and foal feed later in the day and have it for his lunchtime feed.

“Well I was going to but he isn’t cooperating.”

Uh oh.  Seems Mr. Jax decided he wasn’t quite sure of the barn owner this morning, so he decided he didn’t want to put his halter on.  That is, until she gave him a little senior feed.  Problem solved, and out he went to meet his other pasturemate, Harley.  They did great together, and Harley started showing the little guy the ropes.

Funniest thing was the fact that this was a group text session, with the best brains at the barn all fussing over my little colt.  The involved parties included a vet tech, a person who used to rehab racehorses and has raised foals, the barn owner, Jill (who works at an equine vet, majored in equine studies, and is one of the best horsewomen I know), and me.  I am SO lucky to have the resources I do.

Oh yes, and I was also informed that “the stall is a disaster.”  When I arrived with the Poulin Mare and Foal, it was feeding time, and everyone was waiting to come in.  The rain was a pretty light drizzle.  Until, that is, Jax decided he didn’t actually want to come in – he was heading back to the hay round, thank you very much.  And off he went at a happy little trot, stopping once or twice to look back at me.

Yup.  About what I expected I’d be dealing with his first day out in the pasture.

I went inside to get some grain, and discovered why he hadn’t wanted the feed I’d picked up – compared to the Poulin Equi-Pro, what I got him sucked.  The Equi-Pro looks more like a sweet; the Nutrena Life Design is a pellet.  Stupid, he ain’t.  I walked back outside, and headed over to where he is.  Got there just in time to watch Dakota come in from her field (right next door to his).  She got all the way into the run-in before doubling back and running over to see him – “Who are YOU?”  She was very curious and friendly.  Her pasturemate, not so much.  Jax was unfazed.  And then he heard the shuck-shuck-shuck of the grain.  Grain? Hmm…

Once he figured out what kind it was, he was definitely interested.  Put it down, and it took me a couple of tries to get his halter, but we were soon on our way back to the barn, little Mr. Jax trying to reach around me to the grain periodically.  He also got a little speedy a couple of times, but I’d just circle with him and he’d settle nicely.  Of course, it was now pouring.  There’s a reason foals are so darned cute.

Ate his grain no problem, but he did blow all the bran out of it.  Goofball.  He also got a little grooming and training session from Jill, which was great.  Picked up his feet pretty well, and learns quickly.  He got a little kicky with the backs, but nothing scary, and at the end was picking his feet up with a very light touch on his leg.  Very brief duration, but that will come.  He cracks me up.  Kept taking little breaks during the session, where he’d come up to me like “MOM – she’s touching me!”

We also discovered a few of the favorite scratchy-spots.  And he and Ruger (Jill’s dog) visited through the bars of his stall, Ruger sitting on top of a hay bale.

Little guy didn’t bat an eye at an especially loud thunderclap, either.  Awesome.

And in the last few minutes before I left, I stood inside his stall, just near the door.  Not doing anything, but just standing.  It gives him a chance to get used to my presence in his stall, and it gives him a chance to approach me on his terms.  And he did today, several times.  Even solicited attention, which was too cool!

Oh, and the stall?  Absolutely a disaster.  While I worked on the feed, MY HUSBAND cleaned the stall!  Yup, my non-horsey husband cleaned Jax’s stall!  Impressive as all get out.

Pretty darned good for a first day.  Tried to get some pictures, but the light wasn’t great and I didn’t want to spook him with the flash.

Going back later to check on him and give him his last feed for the day.

Jax and Sparky bonding over a little hay.

Long, wet day, but I just got back from checking on Jax one last time tonight.  He’s doing well.  Amazingly well, actually.  Little guy had never been led more than 50 feet or so from his barn – until today.  Walked all the way up the long driveway like a trooper.  He was a little unsure of the trailer, but once in, settled right down.  Within an hour of getting home, he was eating hay, peeing, pooping, and begging for dinner – all very good signs in a horse!  Didn’t eat his grain tonight, but that’s OK; gave him some more hay for the night to keep him busy.  He’s got some yucky worms, and I was ever-s0-privileged to see some of the disgusting creatures while I was helping clean the trailer after we got home.  Bot larvae – ewwwwwwww.  GAA wormed him – twice – since getting him, but he’s probably going to need at least one more round.

 

He bonded right away with Sparky, the mare who rode up with us, even calling for her this afternoon when she left for a little while.  We even worked in a short training session – a little lead work around the indoor ring, and he was SO good – in 10 days, it’s amazing what great work they’ve done with the little guy.  Walked right where he should, knew “whoa,” “back,” and “walk on.”  Smart little colt!

 

He was even relaxed enough to check out a Jolly Ball toy in the indoor ring.  Still no idea what an apple or treats are, though.  I did, however, locate a particularly good scratchy spot.  Lip was going, and he got all goofy.

 

He had quite a few visitors at the barn this afternoon; is building a whole new fanclub in CT.  Well deserving of it, too.

 

And I’m exhausted – very exciting, but emotionally tiring day.  Can’t thank the folks at GAA enough for saving Jax and for letting me adopt him.  And can’t thank Jill enough for transporting him home for me!  Can’t wait to get back to see the little guy tomorrow!

J-Day

Leaving in about 15 minutes to meet my friend who is generously playing chauffeur today (she has requested caffeine and chocolate for the trip).  Nervous but excited.  Hoping all goes well.  Will post pictures and an update later.