It appears Afton and I have stumbled into a nice and fairly comfortable routine.
I go catch him, he pretends to be completely uninterested in coming in and drags his feet the whole way down the hill. I cross tie him, he poos. I tack up, while he makes a bored face. Then we have a super-fun ride in which he is very enthusiastic and makes me grin ear to ear. Then I bring him in and he poos again, usually before I even have his bridle off.
It’s gotten so predictable I just go and get the shovel when I get him in now, before I even pick up a brush. That way I have a chance of actually catching it instead of making a huge mess by trying to scoop it with an inadequate snow shovel (really, metal barn shovels are the only good tool for that job).
I’m also reasonably sure that this is one of those things Afton enjoys. He likes to crane his head around and watch me pick up his mess, and it’s the closest his face comes to seeming “gleeful.” He has very prominent third eyelids, which sort of gives him a bored and cynical look most of the time, but when I’m picking up after him, it’s almost like he’s laughing.
Silly things like this are probably my favorite part of this gig- they just have such funny personalities, even if it’s not totally apparent at first. Afton sure isn’t the same kind of personality as Mikey or my horse, the in your face “goonie” sort of guy. He’s a little more laid back, and gives the impression of being more observant than anything. Sort of like that quiet kid that everybody didn’t know real well in school, but who watched everybody else really closely (and knew everything about them, but not in a creepy way), and then also showed up to beat the pants off everybody at the track meet. Afton, I think, is sort of surprising that way.
Some horses are really obvious when they are talented- they have the look of eagles, and all that romantic stuff. I don’t think he’s that horse, he’s the one you might look past until you can see what he can do.
I meant to get some pictures or video of him jumping over the weekend, but when the opportunity presented itself, I found I was more in the more in the mood for a nice mosey in the woods. So we went and scared up a whole bunch of deer instead (seriously, we saw at least two dozen). It actually was his very first solo trail ride, and though he was a little more bouncy and wanted to trot more, he was perfectly behaved. He was slightly suspicious of the semi-frozen footing in a few spots, but as always, he put his head down, thought about it a second, then figured it out without any prodding from me.
On the opposite end of the personality spectrum is the new arrival Call Sister. She’s a pocket pony times ten, always assuming that EVERYONE is there to see her and give her love and attention. If you walk into the field, she’s the first to come up to you. And with her baby faced good looks, she’s hard to resist. And as it turns out, our volunteer Deidra has been unable to resist at all, and will be fostering her pending a little getting-to-know-you time period. I will have some pictures of these two up later, so you can all share in the adorableness. 🙂