Let me start by saying thanks so much to all of you for the words of encouragement and the lovely feedback. I've very much enjoyed reading your stories and I'm happy I can finally share mine! :)
I definitely would like to think this little guy has a very long life ahead of him, he is going to be with me for the long haul. I already can't imagine him not in my life, I'm already so attached, haha. By looking at him I wouldn't have pegged him to be 16. He moves so freely and I can't wait to get a video of him in action. :) The barn owners today were going on and on about how lovely his movement was. So an update.
Today was the first real day I got to spend time with him since he arrived the day before Thanksgiving, we were hosting, so there was barely any time to spend at the barn, I love this barn, but being it is 20 minutes away it's kind of a trip when a tight schedule arises. My father is really enjoying this whole thing so I invited him to come with me, and we headed out. Spent about 2.5 hours solely with Berry with no interruptions.
Apparently when the BOs moved him into the larger pasture this morning (he is still in quarantine/alone for another few days), they said he was a bear to catch. Wilma (my bf's mom, and Berry's original mom) said that he was doing that at the farm that he had been at for the last year (not under her supervision), but she hadn't had a problem catching him herself. When the BO got the lead rope on the back of his neck, he let them halter him and it wasn't a problem.
I took into consideration he still is new here and I'm still new to him, so I took it very slow. I got my lead rope and halter, draped them over my left arm and got into the pasture with him (it's probably a couple acre pasture). As soon as he saw my me and my father, he started walking towards us. He came up to us and we began petting him and gently greeting him; all the while him seeing the halter, I never once attempted to touch it with my right hand and just kept petting him.
I wanted to see if he'd follow me, so I said his name and to come, and he started following me, no where near my heels, just politely following to my right side. Whenever I'd stop, he stopped. My heart swelled. He listened to verbal cues so well, which I was verrry happy to find out. Also, he only needs a very gentle tap whenever you need him to move, back up, or turn his little rump. He's very sensitive, and considering I try to ride with a very light hand (I'd actually like to really focus on leg cues with him), I'm pretty excited. A lot of my lesson horses over the years have had hard mouths and I just... HATED having to use excessive force if for whatever reason they weren't responding to leg or seat cues. So definitely wanting to focus on leg and seat cues with my boy. Eventually I want to be a bitless rider, but that's a longer term goal of course. ;)
I gave him some more neck and side rubs, talked to him, walked a little away from him and let me follow him some more, then finally he gave me his head (he didn't want to at first but I didn't push him, he never once gave me his butt, and never once tried to run off). Took about 20 minutes of me wanting to make him associate the halter and me to nice things, so once we got in the barn, he actually enjoys being groomed, I gave him a really nice, hour long groom (just brushing). His eyes were completely closed at one point and he may or may not have dozed off. He's just. my dream horse. Even if he's rusty under saddle, I don't mind, as far as on the ground he makes me so happy.
When it came time to return him to the pasture, he stopped every few paces and didn't want to continue back (was getting dark). I verbally asked him to come without adding any pressure on the halter, and he seemed to be okay with that, and moved forward. I found out the reason why he was stopping, he didn't want to go back into the pasture, but he didn't give a fuss. He watched us as we walked away, I was hoping I'd get to see him run and play, the little tyke I'm sure rolled later after I left.
So Wilma never had issues with rain rot before, or at least not to the extent that Berry currently has on his rump (thanks to the lack of proper care he got at the situation he was in before we got him back). She has taken care of most of what he had on his withers, but his poor little rump and right side is littered with it in spots. My trainer told me to get Banixx, but I couldn't find any in stock locally, so I ordered a 32oz bottle off of Amazon and it should get here Monday. I can't wait to get it knocked out because I know it has to be bothering him.
Here's one of the very many pictures I got today, pre-groom.