Honeycutt is doing very well, and I believe that he is happy living here. He is quite well behaved and easy to handle, and I do feel that I have gained at least some of his trust. I subject him to being touched and petted and patted on a daily basis and he’s quite tolerant of that, and will even approach me for attention. I’m trying not to baby him so much, so occasionally I will make sudden movements or appear suddenly and he will still jump out of his skin but then I pat him and tell him “Hey, it’s no big deal, you’re fine!”
We do groundwork exercises which he is really quite good at…in fact, a little too good…he is hyper-alert and always has his eyes glued to me to see what I’m going to do next. As a result he is really really sensitive to body language. But what we haven’t achieved yet is relaxation…the whole business just makes him so tense and nervous, even though he pretty much never puts a foot wrong and so is constantly being praised and reassured. He just needs more time.
For something new, I brought him into the barn aisle and cross tied him (well, I only hooked up one but he stood perfectly in place as if they both were attached) and then groomed him for a while and worked on achieving some relaxation, and I’d say he did pretty well with that. He certainly was well behaved anyway and almost seemed to enjoy being groomed. Then I worked with picking up feet because he’s desperately in need of a trim, and I wanted to see how he might do with having his feet handled (of course he’s been trimmed numerous times by SAFE’s farriers and his trainer’s farriers). He did quite well with his fronts, a little iffy with the hinds, he would pick the foot up and relax it backwards, but then immediately pull it forward again…he appears to be a little stocked up in his hind ankles (he may have kicked something a few days ago…like the barn…) so it might have been a discomfort thing. Anyway, we’ll keep working on it so that he can have a good experience with the farrier.
He has a lot of fun with Jay…the two of them run and play and jump in the air (although Honeycutt has a far more impressive buck than any of my other horses…) I’m not sure what is going on with him and Oliver…there may be a dominance thing going on between them, which is funny to me because Buckie used to push Honeycutt around a lot…but maybe HC sees an opportunity to move up in the herd now that Buckie is gone.
Anyway, that’s pretty much what Honeycutt is up to. I enjoy having him here, he really is a sweet horse. Spend any amount of time with Honeycutt and you start to feel really protective of him. I find myself wanting to promise him that I’ll take care of him forever. *sigh*