Monday, June 15, 2009

Sonny's visit to Greenholme (5)

Ruby was scowling and squeaking and stamping at Sonny yesterday evening and he was sulking, not eating his haynet, but by breakfast time he'd eaten up.

More education today. Danny the farrier was due to put a set of shoes on Ruby. I left Sonny standing tied to the big pine tree across the yard. He also had a wagon-rope about 1 cm in diameter round the tree and once round his neck under the headcollar, tied with a bowline so it wouldn't tighten, and placed six inches back from his poll so it wouldn't do any damage. I knew he and Danny had had "issues" previously and he'd pulled tying points out of walls. I wasn't going to give him any excuses.

I picked out his feet ready for trimming, all round, and he co-operated. "This is all getting to be old hat," he said. Fine by me.

Danny arrived and we chatted while Danny shod Ruby, then he moved to work on Sonny. And Sonny, though a bit "numb" about giving his feet to be trimmed, didn't even offer throw himself about or object. So we gave him lots of praise.

When Danny had gone, I put Ruby in the stable with some more hay, and went back for Sonny. As we walked down the yard he shied as though the dog had rushed at him - which I knew it couldn't because I'd tied it up short. He stepped on the edge of my boot and effectively pinned it to the ground so I rolled over. But he didn't go anywhere - just stood there, being a big numb teenager. Graham took the lead rope while I dragged myself off the floor, and then I put the boy away while I had a cup of coffee and a think. I know he did this with David Trotter - stood on his wellie and felled him. So after my think, I tied up the dog elsewhere, picked up a length of alkathene pipe and took Sonny for a walk round the yard. I had no intention of hitting him - the pipe was just the right length to poke him in the shoulder but not splinter if he decided to jump or lean into me. And of course, actually being a wise pony, he didn't. So more praise and he got put away with his haynet (and Mum) once more.

Later on I got him out again (still with the pipe for reference!) and harnessed him up. Lots of fiddling and chat. I put him to David's ex cart and drove him round the yard, turning right and left. He was fine. I made him stand once or twice and wait for the command to move on. Then took him back to the tree and tied up. Chatted, fiddled and faffed (he probably thought, bloody women!) then untied him, and drove round the yard again and up among the trees, and turned in places I hadn't turned before. Made him stand some more. Lots of praise because he was getting everything right. This time when I tied up he was unharnessed and I led him back to the field -- Still carrying the pipe because we were going down the yard where he'd shied both today and yesterday. And he walked circumspectly and behaved.

I turned Ruby out with him and finally had time to inspect my ariat boot - big tear at the welt where his foot had pinned me. Still, it could have been my toes. No complaints.

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