Our spring is also usually quite quick; one short month at best. It seems as though it arrived last week, took a look around, and headed for a cooler climate. I rode in a tank top on Friday evening, EVENING, and again on Saturday morning, as in 9:00 in the a.m. I haven't checked what the actual high was on Saturday, but it was definitely in the low 80s. We have some rain predicted for some time this week. Hopefully it will bring some winter back to California's central valley.
In the meantime, I took advantage of the warm day and gave both boys a full soap bath. Neither was too pleased as it hadn't hit 80 yet, but they survived. Speedy went first. Since he acted so put out by the whole event, I took pity and tossed a cooler on him while he nibbled the grass outside Sydney's stall. The wash rack is just a few feet away so I kept my eye on his long rope while I bathed Sydney.
Sydney is the alpha horse in my little family, even though none of our horses share a fence line. Our barn was designed in such a way that the barn aisle separates the horses on one side, and the cross ties or tack room separate them on the other side; it's a four stall barn. As I walk my boys in and out of the barn, I let them socialize over the fence with one another until the nipping quits being friendly and approaches actual biting.
Speedy is a really friendly horse and loves to visit. He is always very offended by Sydney's rough "play." Sydney really wants to play with someone, but he's too mean and bossy to Speedy so I don't let the interaction go on for too long. It's interesting though that if I let Sydney loose in the neighbor's barn and yard where there are three stalled horses with whom he can visit, he doesn't fuss at any of them. In fact, he's in love with the neighbor's mare and lets her squeal and hiss at him while he stands docilely bearing her wrath.
Anyhoo ... I kept both boys in hand and just kept a watchful eye on where I was positioned, always in front of them. Speedy kept clear of Sydney who seemed oblivious to where Speedy was. There were a few HEY! moments, but they weren't caused because anyone was after anyone else. When Sydney stepped on his rope, he reared and panicked which sent Speedy scurrying for cover. A few times, I simply dropped both lead ropes and let them sort themselves out.
Neither boy wanted to go anywhere, but it seemed safer to let go so Speedy could move to what he felt was a safe distance. Sydney looked for me each time he panicked. I repeatedly showed him that stepping on his rope was no big deal. When I hand graze him alone, stepping on the rope never causes him to worry. I suspect he felt that Speedy was the source of his "entrapment." I think Speedy thought so to because he knew to get the hell out of Dodge when Sydney popped up. Neither boy ever moved more than a few feet away from me, and after a time we all settled into a comfortable distance away from one another.
By the time I was done with the hand grazing, I put Speedy on my right and Sydney on my left and led both boys through the barn with no mishaps. Speedy walked into his stall and let me position him so that I could slip his halter off while Sydney waited patiently on the other side of the gate. Sydney walked quietly into his stall, and the "try" was done. I rarely need to have both boys out at one time, but it has happened occasionally. I think we'll do some more practicing.