From the beginning, Skeeter has done well with people, but yesterday we had A LOT of people, which meant A LOT of activity. When the crowd and activity is outside her pen, she does really well. However, yesterday, she had to be tied to the trailer so we could bring the truck in to unload the hay. Jay and I have done this before and she stood like she had been doing it her whole life, so I didn't think much about it.
I tied her to the trailer and didn't think twice about it. I showed my brother where to take the panels apart to get into her hay storage, pointed out to Mr. Nebalee where to dismantle the outside panels to drive the truck in and we all got to work. When we swung the panels around the hay storage out, they made a loud pop/creak. Skeeter had been doing okay with the activity, but the sudden loud noise was more than she could take.
She pulled back hard on the trailer and started fighting the tie. Holy cow, I thought she was going to topple the trailer, she was fighting so hard. We don't have a lightweight trailer, either. The trailer is easily 30 years old and steel. It is heavy and I wouldn't have thought she would have been strong enough to make it budge. I looked up and hollered, "Skeeter! Stand!" She quit fighting, but was still pulling back on the tie. I started her way, but saw Bill out of the corner of my eye already halfway there, so I let him go soothe her.
Knowing she was in good hands, I went back to doing what needed to be done. There were people unloading and stacking the hay, so I scooped poop. I should have gone to stay with my horse, which I thought about, but I would have felt guilty "sitting around" while other people were working on behalf of my horse. Instead, now I feel guilty about letting Bill be the one to keep her calm, when I'm supposed to be her person. Sometimes I feel like I just can't get it right. (And, for the record, I know Bill didn't mind babysitting at all judging by the big grin on his face.)
He sat with her and talked with her until she relaxed and then started messing with her. At one point, I looked up to see that despite all of the noise and activity, he was messing around with her feet. He had her standing quietly, still tied to the trailer, and was walking around, picking up her feet and banging on them with a rock. She never flinched. This is the horse, who just a few minutes earlier was a wide-eyed monster.
When we were all done in her pen, and the panels were all put back in place, he untied her and walked her around a bit before turning her loose. As usual, she wanted to be right where all the action was, so she hung out by the fence while we stacked the hay that didn't fit into her hay storage.
|You can see her in the background watching everyone.|
After we were done with the hay, we were just sitting around under the shade tree, drinking adult beverages and eating very healthy snacks of chips and dip. Bill would get up, go into her pen and mess with her some more. Sometimes, he'd kick her big red ball at her. Sometimes, he'd stick his fingers in her ears. Oh, and her face, he grabbed her top and bottom lip and pulled them wide, made funny faces with her.
Always, he'd just spend a minute or two and then come back and join us. Then he'd be back in her pen, spraying her with the hose. Or kicking the ball at her. Or pulling her mouth open. Or sticking his fingers in her ears.
That's what I need to learn to do. I'm so afraid of screwing her up or doing something "wrong", that I don't just mess around with her. Maybe it's the teacher in me, but I always feel like I have to have a "lesson plan" when we "work". Bill got more accomplished with her yesterday buy just being a pest than I would get done in a week. And she loves it! Grandpa Bill is her favorite toy. He knows when to draw the line with her behavior, but mostly just makes it fun to be around him (he does this with the two-legged grandkids too).
She'll do pretty much anything for Grandpa Bill. Including having a drink of his beer, which she didn't really enjoy, but tried it anyway.
|What's that, Grandpa?|
|Sure, I'll try it.|
|You drink this?!|