Monday, December 22, 2008

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

Every mile is two in winter. ~George Herbert

I have no room to complain about the weather, compared to others, but let me just whine for a little bit. I woke up to 4 degrees this morning with a -19 degree wind-chill. This makes barn chores really a chore. Okay, I feel a little bit better now.

On to Argo updates:

First # 1

Last week was a bunch of firsts; they are beginning to come in steady streams now. Argo now fully expects to be hand fed each meal. He no longer looks at me when I come in and appears to think he is merely entertaining me. When I bring his meals, out the come in the form of the red wheel barrow, I take his bucket of goodies into the field and leave the wheel barrow outside the field which holds his lovely hay. In the past he would stand by the fence, longingly looking at the precious, red vision of beauty, and stand there looking at it and then looking at me. I would have to whistle at him and shake his bucket of goodies to get him to begrudgingly follow me to his shed for his goodies. Once there though, he would quickly forget about the dreamy vision of the red wheel barrow. He would gladly stuff his muzzle into his feed pan that I so willingly hold up for him and eat his meal. Only after we had our moments would I give him his hay. Now though for the past several days, he has watched me put the barn horses out to pasture, and he whinnies at me, as if to say "Hello, don't forget me!" Once the red wheel barrow and I get to his field, he waits for me to come in, to make sure I have brought the goodies, and then he turns away from me and heads to his shed. This, my friends is a big, dang deal! Argo has turned his back on me. Argo never turns his back on anything. Except for Flash, and I didn't blame him there. Flash is a bit impetuous and is kind of like the person we all know that talks incessantly and we literally tune them out. I digress though… Argo knows that by turning his back on something, he leaves himself vulnerable, 17 years of living wild has ingrained that into him. So what does it mean that he has turned his back on me? I did really over think this one. When you spend your days alone for 10 hours cleaning stalls and performing barn chores and playing with horses, you have way too much time to think about things. Again, I digress. My opinion on it is Argo has learned the routine, he knows the hay won't come until we have some time together and that he is only delaying the inevitable and hey, the abominable snowman, wrapped in polar fleece, really is not that bad, she brings goodies. This is a big milestone for Argo and I in my opinion.

First # 2, or should I say try # 64

Argo lost his 15 ft lead rope several months ago, but the bull snap was still attached of course to his halter. At first it did not bother me that it was dangling there, now though it has become an annoyance to me. Each time I let Argo eat from his bucket that I hold up for him, I attempt to touch the snap. Believe me when I say this it's not easy. I am currently on try 64, yes I'm counting, and I'm weird that way. First I started just touching it with my index finger on my left hand, while holding the feed pan. He would feel the change and quickly step away, but just as quickly comes back in for the goodies. And again I would touch it, until he would just stand there and let me touch it. Then we progressed to me cupping the snap in my hand, again he would step back and then just as quickly come back to me. So as I said we are on try # 64 of removing the snap. Maybe by try 100 we will have it off.

First # 3 or more like a progression of my thumb

While Argo has been eating out of his feed pan that I so lovingly hold for him, are you seeing a pattern here? I had begun touching him with thumb under his cheek. This of course was met with, "OMG! What was that?" very quickly though it turned into a tolerance of my thumb. It has gently progressed to four fingers and my thumb scratching his jowl and under his chin, which he is really beginning to enjoy, as am I. I now have progressed to taking my index finger and stroking his forehead while he is busily eating the goodies. I also have been able to touch his halter underneath his head and both cheek pieces.

First # 4 Kara sings to Argo

This morning as I was so lovingly holding Argo's feed that is now in a smaller bucket, I was so bitterly cold and just wanted him to eat so I could be done, Argo decided the smaller bucket was not to his liking. For several minutes Argo did his little dance, like a small child saying "No Mommy, I want the blue one, not the red one! (Insert whine)" My cheeks were on fire from the cold, but I did not want to give up, so I began singing Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire. Where is the sanitarium truck when you need one? Argo was priceless. I am sure you have all seen dogs tilt their head when something strikes them odd, well this was exactly what Argo did. Just priceless! He must have taken pity on me or just wanted me to shut up because he quickly came in and dove into the smaller bucket with the goodies. I continued to sing Christmas carols to him while he ate. He finished breakfast in record time. I was somewhat offended.


April said...

Congratulations! It's funny how even the small steps we make with our horses, though unimportant to some, can make our hearts skip.
Stay warm and Merry Christmas!

Mountain Woman said...

I'm enjoying so much reading about your journey with Argo and the trust you are building between the two of you slowly and lovingly. It's just a joy to see him progress.
If it makes you feel any better, it was 12 degrees below zero this morning and the wind chill was even worse. Barn chores were painful but they are done :)

Discount Equine Meds said...

I'm enjoying reading your blog and hearing about Argo's journey. It's awesome to see there's still plenty of spark in that 17 year old fire.

CastoCreations said...

Wow...horses are so amazing. I loved reading your "firsts". Just beautiful!