Yesterday I trimmed Griffin's back hooves! He was pretty good about it, but it was so interesting how different I had to deal with him as compared to Kachina on her back hooves.
With Kachina, she was quite nervous about it, and was continuously stepping away away from me. But it was because she was a little nervous, so I just had to keep with her and make sure to really reward her by giving her a break when she stopped moving and stood for a second with my holding her hoof.
With Griffin, I had to work through getting him comfortable, just like I did with Kachina, but then very quickly, he was standing there and I was picking out his back hoof with him very relaxed about it. This was the first time I'd picked up his back feet too! He's just so quick about learning. But after I'd starting nipping his hooves, he began not wanted to stand there. I was very patient at first, with just continuing to ask him to pick up his hoof and hold it for me, but it became obvious that he wasn't upset or nervous...he just didn't really like standing there like that. So I gave him a firm slap on his butt after he'd taken his foot away again. He jumped in surprise, and I kept asking him to pick up his hoof, which he did...then he stood great! He tried another couple of times to get tired of letting me work on his feet, and a firm smack for that, got him to relax and let me work with his feet. I only smacked him 3 times, and it was so interesting about the final time that I had to smack him. I smacked, he jumped, then took a very deep breath, licked and chewed, then stood like a stone as I picked up his foot and finished trimming the whole thing. His response told me that was what he needed...a bit firmer handling to show him that I really do want to be minded. I did also give him breaks when he'd been standing really well for a bit because I wanted him to realize that he did get to have his foot back eventually and didn't have to take it away from me.
Now, all 8 hooves on 2 wild mustangs have been trimmed and are no longer in danger of putting strain on their young tendons! Yay! I'm so happy about that!
I almost can't believe how comfortable the two are with me now. I really don't feel like I've been pushing them much at all, and I'm sure I could be even further along with them if I'd been working with them every day, but I'm so pleased with them as they are! They are both very comfortable with me, and they actually like to be with me (Kachina likes to be with me more than Griffin, but even he wants me around him).
Today, I am moving into my apartment in Madison. I feel like trimming their hooves was a great last summer activity to show me how far I've come with them.
Griffin gets gelded in a couple of weeks. I think he's ready. I'll still work on "Stranger Danger" with him a bit more, but yesterday, one of my neighbors (Griffin has never met this neighbor before) was watching me work with Griffin and I had him come into the pen with me and he rubbed his face and scratched his neck while I stood on the other side of him. So, I think that we'll be just fine when the vet comes.
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