I didn't do much with the new mustangs today other than feed them, pick some grass for them, and clean out the mares water bucket with bleach (there was pus in the water).
I think that the mare has already started to gain some weight. She's filled out quite a bit (okay, she's still thin, but noticeably less so). And she actually looked a little perkier today the few times I looked in on her. Perkier as in she didn't have that sleepy look in her eyes. I also noticed that there is no drainage from her nostrils today. Maybe it's not strangles...but I think I'll swab the grain bucket and have the vet test it for the strep bacteria. Or maybe it IS strangles but a mild case, since she's been vaccinated for it. It'd be really nice to know if I need to worry about getting the others sick.
So I made a plan for "working" with the boy today. I'm going to start off doing what Arlene did with hers - feeding them fresh handpicked grass. I already know that he won't come eat from my hands, so what I plan to do every day is pick grass, give it to him, then leave so that he'll come and eat it. Once he comes to expect and enjoy it, I'll start sitting on the hill after I give it to him so that he has to accept my presence to eat it (hopefully he will). Then I'll move a little closer every day until he will come and eat it with me next to the panels. For now, that's my only plan. I need to get him to be able to let down his guard with me outside before I can even think about being inside with him.
Today, we spent the afternoon planting our garden beside his pen, so he's going to get a lot of exposure to us just being around there. When I fed him this evening, I sat on the panel inside the barn for a while and just watched him as he stood outside staring in and watching me. After a while, he started to blink his eyes a lot, like he was falling asleep, but his ears were moving all over listening to everything. I wonder if he is really tired because he's not letting down his guard to get some deep sleep, or I wonder if that is just a way he has of shutting down and blocking out my presence? Has anyone else seen that? I can't imagine why he would be comfortable enough to doze in my presence...so I don't think he was really sleeping. It makes sense that he might be blocking me out, since I took away his ability to hide in the barn and not even look at me like he does when I'm outside the panels. He is getting a little calmer (hasn't made a blind panic move, but is still retreating to the barn). Today I rode Cody out behind the barn near his pen and he forgot all about me being on her and came right over to the edge of the panels. Seems he has no fear of people on horseback...or maybe he realizes it's me and this horse that is now part of his herd that he watches in the pasture every day.
Chico and Catlow are in fine condition (if not a little blubbery). As I rode Cody around in the back hay field on the back side of their pasture today, they were running, and Chico was herding Catlow around, and they'd both kick up their heels and buck. Chico would come racing over the fence line and do sliding stops, spin and then gallop a circle and do it all again. And well after Chico quit running around, Catlow was still going. She likes the hills in their pasture. She would run up to the top of the one hill, then run down the side and up to the top of the other hill, back and forth. Catlow didn't cough or anything after she'd done this and I would think that if she was sick all that activity would loosen the phlegm. I heard her cough a couple of times before the new mustangs even showed up. I think it's just a spring cough thing...maybe the dusty hay gave her a cough. She's the one I'm most worried about catching strangles because she might actually have a depressed immune system.