Ranger has settled in a lot in the last 6 days. He still would like Errowood to be away from the mares, but he no longer needs to be in between them. I have spent time with the horses all greeting me which looked like this on our snow day last week:
This helped them when I was around, but Ranger was absolutely aware of when I was there or not. He would be polite to Errowood all the way up until I got into my car, lol! The biggest change I saw was after we took him on a trail ride. On Sunday the 6th, a group consisting of Jefferson, myself, two friends, a daughter of one of the friends and the daughter of Ranger's new owner trailered horses to Five Points recreation area in Georgia. Ranger did not want to leave to go there. As always he was polite and gentlemanly, just not super eager to get on the trailer.
Preparing for our ride was a little rushed, and I learned so many things! I really desire to consciously plan ahead for more than myself. It is such a reflection of growing up. It is getting easier for me to take care of myself, and now I am eager to grow the ability to provide for and take care of other people in horse situations. One on one is no problem, but as illustrated to me in this situation, I think I could have been much more present for Ranger's rider. In the ride he flowed along with the other horses, shined crossing a rocky creek (where the other five leaped across) and was safe. He was also strong and not all that aware of what his rider may have wanted as far as energy goes. It was a ride with trot and canter so it allowed the horses to get a little fast and eager, and I didn't help his rider to make leadership choices until the last 1/4 of the ride. At the same time I really appreciated being left alone a little when I was young, so I hope that it was valuable. More than anything I am eager to be relaxed in new situations! Signs that I wasn't include not taking pictures of a great trail ride to share, especially to celebrate Ranger and having few conversations with people. On the upside, Ranger was so much calmer getting back on the trailer. He really understood that it was just a trail ride and he was headed home.
When I arrived on Monday my three horses were laying down in a line and Ranger was off by himself. Today, Tuesday, he was napping in the sun on the hill. Monday I gave him the day off. He had some stall time to eat and hang out while I worked with the other horses. Today he got shoes! The farrier was sure that we would never be able to back the toe off enough and change the balance of the foot barefoot. I disagree, but I will concede that I could not have done it in a day :) Ranger is much happier, landing heal first and for his situation I really do believe it was the best thing for him.
After that much of a change I decided to spend some time just hanging out in the ring. He still thinks I will not allow any mistakes when I am carrying a stick so I brought it with and used it as a walking stick. One of my friends/benefactors/students (I need a new name for that combination, yes she pays me, yes she teaches me, yes I help her etc.....) realized that Spirit, another horse that we have been on an amazing journey with, was disconnecting with us because his body couldn't do what we were asking it to do. She had the Masterson method book and one of the first things Jim Masterson talks about doing is running one's fingers lightly down the bladder meridian of the horse which happens to run from the poll down the top line all the way to the hind hoof on either side of the spine of the horse. When the horse blinks or closes their eyes, you pause at that spot.
Spirit had many places that were stuck and he eventually went deeply into feeling them instead of wanting to mug us for treats or wander off to eat grass. My friend said that after the second session working on him, he came back and asked for more help with his neck!
Ranger had areas that released in his neck and shoulders. It was nice to spend that time with him and wait for him to check in. After I turned him back out he wandered softly off to the first pile of hay and began to eat. I look forward to feeling the difference in his turning and way of going!!