6/19/2010 Day 2 - Now to attend to those hooves!
Monty is already softening up in response to handling. Every spare minute throughout the day, I walk out to the barn and spend a little time standing in his stall, just petting him, speaking to him, handling his ears and face. He's eager for the cookies he knows I'll be bringing, and whinnies when I enter the barn in the morning to feed him. I take him out twice to hand walk him. He tries a couple times to pull out of my hands, an nearly succeeds at one point, so I start bridling him to hand walk him for now. He accepts the bit readily, and doesn't try to rip out of my hands at all with the bridle on, this is clearly a shortcut used before on him. Not a long term solution, but for the moment, while he is still familiarizing with me and the circumstances, it's a temporary fix.
Getting close enough to the front hooves to even think about picking them up proves to be the first big challenge, if I touch him below the elbow he flinches and leaps away. So I tie him, and start with the dressage whip and more cookies. Rub him all over his body first with the whip, since he shows a little fear of it, followed by a cookie. Then start rubbing it up and down his elbow, lower each time, followed by more cookies. In a half hour, I can rub him all over both front legs with the dressage whip. On to picking up the feet. He picks them up readily, but then rears when he can't yank them out of my hand. Shorten lead and keep holding them. Soon as he stands quiet, release the foot and cookie. Repeat for some time. Then start process over with other front foot. Pick up the hoof knife, nippers, and tap, poke, prod all over and around his hooves until he stands quietly, more cookies. Repeat with other front foot. Finally I am able to get to work! It wasn't smooth sailing from then on, but over-all he handled getting his feet done pretty well and with continued work should get to a point where he can be trimmed readily without drama. Here are the finished front feet:
Monty also got wormed, and now has a barn mate (across the aisle), my pony Misty is in heat and my colt is not yet gelded. Finn's brain surgery is scheduled for the 5th.