I was saddling quickly for my after work lesson. I picked out Speedy's feet and was getting ready to just sweep the brush across his back and call him clean. With such fine hair, he hardly needs brushing most days anyway. When I got to his face, I noticed that his right eye was filled with bedding; I use pine pellets which turn into a finer version of shavings. I tried to rub the debris out with just my fingers, but there was too much, and it was too deeply embedded. Yuck!
I hurried him over to the cross ties so that I could just hose him off instead of brushing. With the heat, I knew he would feel perkier for the lesson anyway. I am very respectful when I hose my horses. They are such sensitive, drama llamas anyway, that if I start squirting in the wrong place, they do the ew, ew, it huuuurts dance. Big wusses!
No matter how funky his eye was, there was no way Speedy would let me soak it if I went straight for his face. Instead, I did the usual toes first, front legs, up the neck, belly, hind legs, up to the back and down over the rump. With his whole body soaked, I returned to his face which always earns a plaintive you're killing me reaction.
Speedy has to keep up appearances, so as soon as the water hit his cheek, he threw his head sky high as though I'd hit him with an acid spray. I ignored the theatrics, as I always do, and told him that I was going to spray his forehead, but that today, unlike usual, I had to actually spray him in the eye. I soaked his forehead, stopped, and then rubbed water all over his eyes like I always do. This, he is always happy to allow. I repeated the forehead soaking and then told him to prepare for an eye wash.
I moved the shower to his eye, and he stood still. Good boy! I moved the water up and told him to blink. I repeated the wash, moved the water, told him to blink, and did it all again. I was shocked at how cooperative Speedy was. Once I rinsed a few times, I scraped gunk out of his lashes and tried to open his eye to get out more. He was very tolerant of my fingers poking around, but he just couldn't open his eye. I am sure it's the same reflex that keeps us from opening our own eyes when there's stuff floating across the eye ball.
Speedy definitely knew that I was helping him. He hates having his face washed and will throw his head as high as possible while back-peddling to the rear of the cross ties all the while grunting and stamping his hooves. None of that happened this day. He stood very obediently for the eye shower, blink, repeat process.
He's a pretty smart boy. If he would only use his powers for good, we'd be golden!