It was time for Zorro to have a little brain surgery… he got gelded today! I am so excited about having this boy as an awesome driving gelding. He would have made a wonderful stallion so will make a fantastic gelding!!
He hasn’t been in a horse trailer since he came here last year. He wasn’t halter broke then, getting him to the trailer was interesting back then, but he just followed his mom into the trailer. I waited until yesterday to start working with him and the trailer… procrastinator anybody!? We have been playing around with the Spanish walk because teaching him things like this is so easy. He loves to interact with me and loves cookies, so anything that gets him some one-on-one time as well as a cookie is something he is going to remember and do over and over and over. Last year we spent about an hour playing around my bridge. It took that long to just get him to put his foot on it. However once he did put is foot on it and I praised him, gave him a few cookies and took his halter off, he will now put his foot on everything and anything. He is always looking for a way to get a cookie because I am not a vending machine, my ponies have to DO something or offer something for a cookie. It makes for really fun training sessions! They come up with all kinds of fun things!
Back to the trailer. I haven’t done much pressure/release with him and the only stick and string stuff I’ve done is friendly game. So he doesn’t really understand much more than leading around. He has some opposition reflex (something to work on this summer!!) so he will try to sit back when tied. I never tie him without being right there and I don’t tie him hard and fast.
We walked up to the trailer and he immediately put his front feet in! He got some cookies and lots of praise then backed out. After doing this 3 times he decided the game was over and he wasn’t going to approach the trailer again. The thing about Zorro is once he understands something (whether it’s exactly what you want him to understand or whether he makes an assumption) he KNOWS it and will do it over and over! So when he understood that he was done with trailer loading he absolutely refused to even approach the trailer. I had to come up with an alternate plan because pulling wasn’t going to work since he doesn’t completely understand pressure/release. So I put a long rope on his halter and ran it through the front tie ring in the trailer and then put a long rope around his butt to encourage him from behind. THIS he understood. I helped him all the way into the trailer three times and he had it! Now he knew exactly what I wanted and continued to get in and out of the trailer over and over. He will stay in the trailer even when I walk away and Captain is out of sight. He unloads very calmly and will turn around and get right back in!
This morning we had to load up before 6 am to get my boys to their first Driver’s Ed class and Zorro to the vet by 8! So it was a bit dark. Both boys came running up to me when I went in their pen, they stuck their noses in the halter and walked right into the trailer! I was amazed at their willingness. If you have ever tried to load a horse early in the morning on a time line, you will understand how excited I was that they cooperated so well!
They traveled well, eating from their hay net the whole time. They were quiet and calm when we got the vet, an hour drive away. When the vet opened I went in and and did the paperwork, then went out and unloaded the boys. They both walked calmly into the horse bay, crossing from gravel to concrete and going in a big garage door. Something neither pony has done before! They were quiet in the bay, just standing and looking around. When the vet closed the garage door Zorro barely flicked an ear. He turned his head and looked and just stood relaxed. I was so proud of him.
The vet and vet tech both were very impressed with Zorro. They commented on how good both boys weight is for their build. They were impressed with how nice their feet looked. The vet tech said she hasn’t seen such a nice mini in a long time! Zorro is such a striking boy and it doesn’t stop with his looks. He is calm, sweet and responsive as well as handsome. I am super impressed with our Cal babies!! (The new pony I have here (photos coming soon!) is a Cal daughter out of my grandmother’s little 32″ mare.)
Zorro stood perfectly while getting his sleepy time shots and went down easily. The surgery went quickly and was very neat and tidy! The vet moved up to check for wolf teeth and BOY did Zorro have them! Two big, well rooted teeth. The vet commented that he hasn’t pulled such a large set of wolf teeth from a little horse before! As Zorro woke up he proved how strong he is! The vet tech had a bit of a time keeping him down. He is a big strong boy that’s for sure.
Left: Under sedation and starting surgery. Right: Waking up.
After surgery we led the boys back to the trailer and Zorro jumped straight in! No hesitation. Captain leaped in right behind him. When we got home they talked to the girls and then slowly got out! It was a very successful day. I am crossing my fingers that he heals up without a hitch! I am worn out with Bonnie’s issues. It would be nice to have a simple recovery.