Here’s another great update about Steeldust. It came about a week ago, but a lot has been happening, and I’m just now getting it up. But no less appreciated!
From Melissa: “I am just grinning so much my cheeks hurt. Today is the 8th day since I brought Steeldust home. Just EIGHT DAYS! Remember that we were ALL expecting the old warrior to be quite the handful. Three trainers even backed out from wanting to take him on before I decided to bring him home & do it myself. All of them said that they would probably have him for a minimum of three months just to gentle him to halter, lead, trailer load & pick up all four feet. Ok, so eight days later we have three out of four things accomplished. I have not tried to pick up his feet but today he conquered Trailer loading with ease. Yes TRAILER LOADING! I am sooo proud of him. He very smart and brave. The only thing that is frustrating me is his weight. He is eating up a storm and loves his hot bran/sweet mix/ beet pulp/sliced carrot/apple/corn oil & foalac mash as well as a constant supply of hay but he is just pathetically skinny. I guess when we get him gentled enough to allow a tranquilizer to be injected then I can have his teeth floated but it will just take TIME for him to put that weight back on I guess.”
Are ye cryin’ yet?
“Mr Steeldust (The Boss) is still doing marvelous with his trailer loading & leading. Being able to just park the trailer next to the round-pen has been perfect. He has decided that it is his “Man Cave” and prefers to just go in and sleep in there every night. Too Funny! Please pass it along to other adopters to give this a try and just feed them directly in the trailer (put their hay, grain & treats in there) even with those horses that folks aren’t able to even lead or handle yet. It’s mere presence all the time as a “feed barn/shelter/wind break” will desensitize them and help take away the fear of even seeing or smelling it before they actually have to USE it. It certainly will advance the “trailer training” for many folks especially if the horse feels comfortable and safe going in and out of the trailer BEFORE you NEED to get him in there for some emergency. My trailer is just going to be parked there for The Boss the whole winter. This is an easy fix for something that can be a real issue for some horses & owners. Though I can just lead The Boss in and have had wonderful luck with him, I really WAS worried at first wondering just HOW I would ever get him into a trailer without a chute should anything go wrong during this gentling time and he should need to go to a vet. I suggest that backing the trailer up to the pen needs to be introduced SLOWLY for some of these horses though and might even need to be brought into position over several days if necessary.”
“I am so proud of how far this old man has come but I don’t want to let people think that EVERYTHING has been a “piece of cake” with the Boss though and leave folks with the impression that they are not progressing fast enough with their own horses. Each horse & situation is different. He has me certainly baffled me at times because he is just not as predictable as what I would expect from any other horses I’ve ever worked with. The things that you would think would scare the livin patooties out of him don’t phase him at all, like the ease of leading him into the trailer, getting cleaned off with the hose, both dogs & the cat all sharing his feed dish with him, throwing a winter horse blanket over his back on an especially cold & sleety evening before he decided to take refuge in the trailer on his own. Then there are other things that have made him act like he was about to go ballistic & launch himself over the fence if I pushed it too far. ie: Some friends and I were all carrying a big trough up the hill into the pasture the other day and we were going in the general direction of his pen yet about 100′ away. I thought he was going to explode when he saw us with that trough and he went running frantically around the pen crashing into the panels. We dropped the trough immediately and shoved it back down the hill out of his sight. His crashing around was enough to give him a cut over his eye that drew some good blood. SHEESH! Another freak out was when I drove my pick-up into the pasture with a load of hay. This too sent him snorting, crashing & running wildly around the pen. These incidents did not happen in the first days of his arrival, they happened just this week after I thought we had been doing so well. I have to admit that one day I had gone in to shovel poop in his pen and the door just swung back behind me as usual but this time it just didn’t catch. I had not noticed. I was busy hacking at the frozen poop when I looked up and HOLY CRAP, he was gone & just standing out in the pasture grazing. Visions of trying to catch a loose wild horse in open country were flying through my brain. But he didn’t go running off into the sunset and just stood there as I walked right up to him in the pasture, got the lead rope and led him right back into the pen without any hesitation. Whew! LUCKY!!!”
“So yes these ponies are a mysterious bunch who really AREN’T going “by the book” in the domestic horse training world. I am thankful that I have been a lucky owner so far with a really kind hearted horse.”
“The Boss is getting constant & free feeding hay and a nightly hot mash and is holding his own with his weight. So now I am hoping to hopefully start to see some actual weight gain. Adding Probiotics to his mash may be starting to help with all the dietary changes & gelding. As for Banjo, he is doing well and is fat & happy. He is definitely starting to go through yet ANOTHER color phase. The winter coat on his front end is coming in a very dark charcoal grey. I don’t know how he can actually be shedding some of his coat at the same time his winter coat is thickening during this time of year but that’s what is happening. Have you seen this type of color change over the winter before? So there is our bi weekly update. Life is Good. Winter is moving in and the horses are still settling in.”