And perhaps he never well. Thor has sagging lower lip happy face. Thunder has the ' I'm not tossing my head at you and pinning my ears right this second' happy face. Pan has curious face. He sticks his nose at you and smells whatever you have. This is a huge development for him. He was easily frightened of all things human and he's just now 16 or so months after we first got him, not exploding in fear every time he sees the flag. He's started sniffing it and mouthing it. I feel joy when he comes up to explore whatever we happen to be carrying through the pasture. He is gaining confidence.
Superman too took a long time to gain confidence and he still today is our resident coward. The pond, which spent most of last year a dry pit in the ground that we debated on filling, has had water since about December. Glad we didn't fill it in. I suppose I need to take photos to show everything. But I just can't find the energy to photograph and I don't know how people YouTube about projects and stuff. The project itself is so much work. For now, the farm is really coming together.
So both Pan and Super are butt boys. They love butt scratches. But the difference between the way they ask is huge. Super looks at you turns his butt really slow and then backs up on step and a time. If you're not careful while cleaning manure, you'll take a step back and bump into him waiting patiently for you to notice.
Pan on the other hand is like a retriever leaping into your lap. You're cleaning manure and suddenly the air rush out of your lungs as the butt of a 700-kilo horse has you pressed against the stall wall. Not dangerously so, but not so gently that you're like awe, so cute. Instead you're like "Pan!" This shout is followed by guilt because he responds as though you hit him and scurries away from you.
So you call, "Pan, honey, whoa. I'll scratch your bum."
And I'm touched because these days he hears my tone, slows down and waits for me to love on him. He never means to be a big oaf. He just is in the same way Superman is the gentlest of the herd. They are themselves but the longer we have them, the more trust each has in us. Thunder and Thor are much different than Super and Pan... we got them from the track directly. They lived the regimented thoroughbred life which isn't always awesome, but it is predictable. Pan and Super had lives before us with people before us. And Superman, perhaps more than Pan because he was 6 when we got him and Pan was three. And yet they are similar. They have taken a long, long time to trust. Where as Thunder and Thor have always been, "Um, you want to clean me with a noisy air compressor. Okay. And put that air under nose so I can eat it."
Yum, yum air compressor air.
.First, I paired a voice warning he knows, showed him the muzzle and then put a grazing muzzle on him. I repeated throughout the day and left it on overnight. At first he didn't understand, but about a week after I started, there was voice warning he chose to ignore and I carried the grazing muzzle out of the barn. For the first time, he was hard to muzzle. He understood at least, this was something he didn't want to happen.
Because he understood that much, I was then able to give the voice warning, then the warning and show him the muzzle. I only had to put it on him one more time after that. He stopped with my voice warning. Also, along the way I made a bid deal of inspecting all the horses for bites and and fussed when i found any. It's been about two months since we've had anything more than a minor nips.
Then about a month after the grazing muzzle, Pan started chasing but not biting. He ran Thor into the fence and one night we went to the farm after 10 pm, and saw him nearly running Super through the fence. Thunder was helping, because she could and also some payback for all the times Super chased her for entertainment.
Again, stalling was an option but not a long term solution. Thus, after way too much overthinking., I settled on the idea of a breakaway halter and a lead rope. In theory this would allow Pan to do his bossing around but prevent him from too much chasing. Also, I thought if Thunder decided to help him harass Superman, she'd probably step on the rope too.
While the mental adjustment took about two weeks, the rope was a constant correction.. Then, during the days, I started taking it off and only putting it on if he got too aggressive. A few days before I took it off both day and night, he snagged the hay net with the clip of his halter. It was one lonely loop of net and yet he stood tied for hours. he was so relieved when I let him loose. Poor baby, but now I know we can go overnight.
Anyway, today, I came out from the barn and he was standing in his stall holding his food bowl by the handle. I couldn't get my camera out to catch him holding his bowl like a dog. So I cleaned some manure and as I came back around the the side he was standing three hooves in his food bowl. Sadly, I only managed to catch him stepping out. If he could speak, he'd probably have said something like, "Just trying to communicate that this is where my food should be."
Below is a short clip of his recent favorite place to be petted. His gums and lip. What a silly boy.