New boy on the block

I was hoping to get some photos showing how much more together he looks now, but it was raining so I had to settle for either eating his haynet - never the most flattering pose - or extremely miffed and sulky cob standing with legs everywhere. You'd have been forgiven for thinking I'd arranged rain just to annoy him :rolleyes:
 

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I've been a bit slack with updates, so I thought I'd do a "summer with Luka" one giving an overall picture of how we are.

He's grown up and finally got his head in a good place, it takes a
fair bit to go wrong now before he has a flashback (for want of a better word) though it can still happen. He's still bright, full on, and quirky but truth told I wouldn't have him any other way.

He's pretty chilled on the yard now and it'll be interesting to see what happens when winter comes. will the more laid back attitude extend to stabling? The horse who'd often be impossible to get out of the field safely if a horsebox was parked near the gate now stands tied up on the yard not even flicking an ear as people drive them on and off, indeed I have to keep an eye open because some wing mirrors are a good height for a bum scratch :eek: The chickens are an issue though, one pecked him on the nose the other day when he was eating dinner and now if they're around he has to have the bowl held or he stands looking pathetic as they eat his food. Seriously nearly 500kg of horse is terrorised by maybe 1kg of chicken - what the Hell did I buy?

Hacking he's so much saner and has finally accepted that a steady trot is the only acceptably trot on the roads so there's no point hammering off and then arguing, though he will sometimes get a bit cute and lengthen in the belief I won't notice - he's wrong, but it wouldn't do to ruin all his fun! He'll go past almost anything if I keep my leg on, hand forward, and reassure him, he may dance and grow a hand but that's all. If I hack out with one or two others he's no longer an explosion waiting to happen, though I only canter with one other and he goes first because I still feel he'd be a handful. That said I cantered him out with someone a few weeks ago and while she stayed behind she was very close and the worst he did was pick up the pace and get rather strong. Cantering on his own he's lovely. Oh and we still don't canter towards home after an "interesting" ride last year!

We've recently gone back to my old RI for some very baby lessons at hers. It works fairly well as it's just over a mile and a half hack there so he's had time to loosen up and if he is a bit bright settle down, plus it keeps the hacking element involved which will always be his main job. Her school is a bit small, and set below the main yard with woods on two sides it's spooky, but he's coping well and with his head in a better place he's relaxing and stretching which is something he couldn't do in a school before. To date lessons have been
1) let's go into the school and try not to have a complete meltdown, walk a circle, eat mints and leave.
2) trot a couple of circles, still a bit tense but at least trying and not too tense to stretch a bit
3) get a back up - to date this has made no sense to him under saddle except as an evasion early on - and do a bit of trot that was nice and relaxed on a circle.
4) walk the outside of the school, initially with her on foot until she declared his walk too fast and stood in corners instead lol. That really filled up his head and trot even on a circle was verging on mental overload so left alone after a couple of strides
5) he remembered the outside of the school was safe and realised that with more space he could do bigger trots and changes of rein. Happy cob and slightly mindblown RI on seeing what he could do with space and confidence!
He has a real quirk going into her school. There's a slope for horses to walk down and I think 5 steps for people - will he walk down the slope? No, he carefully picks his way down the steps! He walks up them too, but with how steppy he is that's not really any different to his normal walk.

He no longer sweats like a pig from even a short walk ride which just goes to show how much tension he was still carrying even though he looked more relaxed last year. Also when people see him now they often comment on how kind or gentle he looks, how happy, and those weren't responses we used to get. They do however still think he's a lot bigger than he is! He'll happily stand and talk to people, will graze under saddle until asked to move rather than just snatching a mouthful and wanting to move on - yes it's something many people frown on but to me it's a mindset. Oh and I've finally managed to get a physio to him a couple of times who can treat him - before he was too tense and I also suspect didn't really like the woman whereas the new one he thinks is lovely. Quite a bit to treat the first time, a visit 4 months later showed only the result of a nasty kicking and greatly improved muscle tone.

So overall I'd say he's grown up, learnt to trust and relax, and basically got his shit together! He's the horse he should have been, and while I wouldn't want a nervous or novice rider on him he's certainly not difficult or living on his nerves anymore
😃
 
I concur on the chicken issue, I'll stand in front of half a ton of horse having a tantrum, but a chicken walking in my direction makes me feel all peculiar and off I go to find someone else to deal with it 😅🤣🤣

He really has come along a lot hasn't he, sometimes you just have to have faith in the early days!
 
That's it @Jessey , you're never going to be allowed to visit him when there are chickens about! 🤣🤣

When I saw him I thought he was a nice but very nervous horse. Then I had people telling me to steer clear because he was nasty and dangerous, yet all I saw was scared and I wondered why. I liked him enough to take the gamble, and a couple of weeks at the eventing yard before I got a ride straight away showed that a lot of his problems stemmed from the hands he'd been in. What I later learned, and remembered seeing a couple of times when he'd been hacked past me in his previous home, explained it all but I have to say that it took longer to unpick and rebuild than I expected. I always knew he was for me though, and he's proved that belief 🥰
 
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And we even seem to be overcoming the panic inspired by the landscape gardener/builder type of metal trailers! This is in no small part thanks to a very understanding builder in the village who has been so patient and helpful - if only there were more like him. He'll now go past a stationary trailer fairly calmly, and while moving ones make him tense he will stand his ground rather than trying to leave the area.

He's also proved a star today. A little kid on one of those bikes that they push along with their feet was so busy looking at the "horsey" that he got away from dad and came straight off the pavement almost landing against Luka's leg which he then used to stand up!!!!! I didn't have time to do much other than a firm verbal "stand up" which he did despite feeling rather horrified. I then told dad to walk not run since he was worrying Luka more than the kid. Paused long enough to ask if dad was ok since he looked in a far worse state than the little boy, then left at a brisk trot since he always relaxes better when moving. That could have ended very badly if he'd been a fraction less trusting and honest.
 
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We came across the same kid and bike again today, but with mum instead. First sound of hooves and she grabbed him and wouldn't let go despite his best efforts 🤣. On the way home we passed them again and since it was a very quiet spot I said to mum that if she wanted he could come and say hello and stroke his neck, she picked him up so he could reach and he had a lovely time fussing him and was so excited when Luka turned his head for a fuss - initially mum moved him away thinking I'd said neck in case he bit but once I explained it was for Luka's protection as he used to worry about people around his head and being grabbed might scare him she let him back and told him to be gentle like with a kitten. I've never heard such giggles about being whuffled and snorted on!
 
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He's being a bit funny to catch at the moment, I have a feeling something has spooked him at or near the gate because he'll often come cantering up but then wheel and spin off again. Given his field is on two very steep chalk hills it's a nightmare because while I can walk and get him the ground is as slippery as trying to walk on ice, far from ideal in a field of horses. If another horse comes with him to the gate he's fine, though still skittish at the actual gate. I don't know what's happened but I hope he gets over it soon (or the ground dries up enough to walk on) because it's a nightmare.
 
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He's being a bit funny to catch at the moment, I have a feeling something has spooked him at or near the gate because he'll often come cantering up but then wheel and spin off again. Given his field is on two very steep chalk hills it's a nightmare because while I can walk and get him the ground is as slippery as trying to walk on ice, far from ideal in a field of horses. If another horse comes with him to the gate he's fine, though still skittish at the actual gate. I don't know what's happened but I hope he gets over it soon (or the ground dries up enough to walk on) because it's a nightmare.
Not the time of year, or the conditions, that you need them being like that!
 
Not the time of year, or the conditions, that you need them being like that!

I know, but unfortunately the weather we've had has meant he's spent days on high alert and then it can take an age for him to come back down. The field, with it's panoramic views, just exaggerates this as he can see so much. Add in the mud which he hates and it's a perfect storm. That said I got him fairly easily tonight by "walking" to the end of the muddy area before calling him, I think because he could come to me there rather than face the mud on his own and then get spooked by something catching his eye as he dithered it worked better - basically I'm being another horse that he can throw to the monsters while he makes his getaway 🤣. At least once he's caught he doesn't break away, with the way he's put together I don't think anyone would hold him if he did - a friend helping inn the week said he's a very uncoblike cob and she has a point!
 
I'm pretty sure it's the weather causing the catching issues. The last two days it's been far less windy and he's come to the edge of the mud and waited calmly, no skitting off to run circuits of the field then coming back like a direct import from Hell. I really think it's the visibility and things moving in the wind, he can see too much there but not all of it clearly and add on hedges and branches moving in the wind and he gets scared there are monsters. Horses!
 
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I'm pretty sure it's the weather causing the catching issues. The last two days it's been far less windy and he's come to the edge of the mud and waited calmly, no skitting off to run circuits of the field then coming back like a direct import from Hell. I really think it's the visibility and things moving in the wind, he can see too much there but not all of it clearly and add on hedges and branches moving in the wind and he gets scared there are monsters. Horses!
Some are just worried by the wind, my old arab wasn't fussed about things flapping, but the wind itself touching him sent him into overdrive!
 
Butchered some more hair off his heels and lower part of his legs after I'd ridden, it's a mess because I was in a hurry and also my clippers don't like damp, dirty, dense feather, but tonight he was waiting for me with his head over the gate! I must remember to keep his legs trimmed back more, I'd forgotten how much difference it makes in the mud - I wonder if the mud tugging on feather feels like we'd feel if someone pulled our hair?
 
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Came on here to post something else and just saw my last post - it was less than a fortnight ago I tidied up his heels after the above butchering yet already they're hairy and need doing again! Aaaargh!

Anyway I've come to the conclusion Luka and logic aren't words to be used in the same sentence. If it's wet and/or windy I inevitably have to walk the two steep, wet, slippery hills to catch him because he's tucked into a hedge and won't come out. He'll then argue and complain about walking down the hill, usually alternating between planting and shoving his head so tight against m to protect his face that he's clipping my heels, then when we get to go up the other hill to the gate he's a cob on a mission and I'm having to bribe him to slow him down enough that I can just about keep up. Some nights the bribes don't work and he's going round me or plunging in front of me, thankfully he's never strong with it as long as I don't take him on because on the chalk hills I'd never keep my footing if he pulled. BUT if it's dry and still there's a high chance he'll be up near he gate shouting that he needs to be in! Surely sense would say do it the other way, particularly when there's perfectly good hedge near the gate too :rolleyes:
 
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