I spent most of the past week at a cabin in the mountains with my father, siblings, my kids, nieces and nephews. It was a good, happy, chaotic time, with all those people crammed into a small space. There were twelve people (only one child), two bathrooms, one shower; sleeping bags lined up on the upstairs deck, empty bottles of wine and beer by the door, and baked goods piled on the counter.
I arrived back to the peace and quiet of our little ranch Sunday afternoon after dropping Camille off at the airport. Lucy was peeved. During evening chores, she followed me around the pasture but she was very critical of my attempts to scratch her favorite spots. After a few minutes, she walked off, in a disdainful huff.
Tex, on the other hand, came over to greet me and stayed. I had suggested that Brett not mess with Tex's fly mask while I was gone and Brett readily agreed. Initially, I wasn't sure if Tex was happy to see me for any reason other than that he knew I was going to remove his fly mask. I'm sure the mask was hot and scratchy after four days of continuous wear. He was good when I slipped it over his ears and off his face, although he resisted lowering his head. Once it was off, I stood and asked him, again, to lower his head for me and he complied. And then he hung around until I left.
Monday morning, we brought the horses into the barn. Our farrier was coming later that day. Its much easier to fetch the horses from their stalls than to traipse out to the pastures and snag a horse who is dozing under a tree in the far corner. Tex is very relaxed about the halter and came with me to the barn willingly. I'm hoping that some day he will be as relaxed about the fly mask as he is about halter. On the way to the barn, a bug flew up my nose and I snorted in disgust. Tex stopped and threw his head up -- but as soon as I explained that it was just a bug, he was fine. I explain everything to Tex.
I do wish that Tex could explain to me the reasons for some of his fears. His fear of leather gloves, for instance. I never wear gloves when I work with Tex. If I have them on, he flinches, snorts and jumps backwards. There is a story there, and I'm sure it has something to do with the cowboy who rode rodeo on him when Tex was young. There is a mental picture, a video, that plays in my mind of a cowboy wearing thick leather ranching gloves. The cowboy jerks on the lead rope and smacks Tex. I don't know if Tex sent me the picture or if it is purely my imagination, but I use it anyway. It helps me to understand and to have empathy for his fear.