Horses are so varied and interesting in their talents, knowledge, lack thereof and little quirky ways. I have realized several things now that Takoda has been home for almost three weeks.
First, he seems to be a fairly smart guy because he catches on pretty quickly to routine and has adapted to the herd well. He now has a few friends, not just Justice, although it looks like Justice is still his closest pal. There is another grey that has started to interact with him and an old guy in the herd (22) has also taken a liking to Koda.
He isn't easily rattled, which was one of my main "wants" when looking for a horse. He seems to be pretty level headed for being only 6 or 7. For instance, yesterday, while being a goofball and trying to scratch his own neck on the hitching post he actually got the rope he was tied to wrapped around the top of the post, leaving very little slack between his halter and the post itself. He started to back up and the rope went tight almost immediately. Many horses would have at least mildly panicked at the sudden change in amount of freedom to move around but he simply stepped back toward the post and looked at me - hey, lady I'm sorta stuck here....
Other little things that you would never think about until faced with them don't seem to phase him either. The "squeeze" game is one of the seven games lots of horses have a hard time with and consists of going through small spaces. Horses don't like to feel confined so they might balk at this. Koda doesn't seem to mind walking right through the man door at the barn and out into the parking lot. He doesn't even freak when coming back into the barn where the concrete slopes just slighting and his hooves slide just a tiny bit on that first step.
On the other hand, and with horses there always seems to be an "other hand", there are odd things that need worked on that I never even thought would due to his good behavior under saddle when I met him. The main perplexing one is his feet. He absolutely hates holding his feet up. As a matter of a fact he balks at lifting them period. And he will attempt to snatch them away immediately once you get them raised. This is odd to me since I know he has been shod and I even helped clean his feet when I rode him. Thinking back to that day, he wasn't uber willing but he didn't present the struggle that he has been presenting since coming home. So, we are working on this and I understand that work is what it takes. Lots of consistent, hard work but just the same it is perplexing.
He is also fidgety when tied. Now, this I did know because the guy I bought him from talked about it. He didn't seem to think it was an issue. I do. LOL. He isn't normally moving around to the point of complete unrest, but the ability to remain tied quietly is important in a horse. The more I work with him the more I think that he has never been cross-tied, only tied to a hitching post. He was hitched when we tacked him up at the barn where I rode him and the first time in cross-ties he seemed confused. So, we have been doing those in small intervals and rewarding for standing still.
Then there are the usual young, untrained horse space issues. He has no sense of a personal bubble on the part of his human companion. Again, something we must overcome. Related to that, I am pretty darn sure he never knew of a carrot or apple prior to coming home. He was a field horse in a herd and has no sense of proper manners as opposed to "mugging" for treats.
So, as my girlfriend said, he may be 6 or 7 but in his mind he might as well be 2 or 3 and there is a lot of work ahead. All in all he is a young horse with what seems to be a good solid mind. He just needs taught.
In Loving Memory
...of the first horse to hold my heart