Now I've never cleaned Noble's sheath myself - I've always had the vet do it when she does shots. As a gelding owner (but I keep saying to myself "I'm really more of a mare person" to avoid responsibility!), I'm a wimp about it and have obviously been shirking my responsibilities. Once I had the lightbulb moment, I tried to feel if there was anything bothering him. It was clear that there was lot of gunk in there - he was happy to let me get it out - and I need to do a proper cleaning. Any advice on what to use as a cleaner - I don't want to irritate his tender bits - and procedure? I've watched the vet do it and have a general idea, but any help would be appreciated. Come to think of it, it would be better for him at his age (29) if he didn't have to be sedated to have his sheath cleaned. I can do this, right?
Now onto another confidence issue. As many of you know, I was kicked in the jaw a couple of months ago by Dawn - she wasn't aiming at me but I got nailed nonetheless - she wasn't looking out for me either. She's an odd little horse - very spooky and nervous but very dominant, too, and almost wild sometimes. She and my younger daughter have been wild things together for a number of years, but now Dawn is my responsibility since my daughter is at college. After getting kicked, I'm still pretty apprehensive around her, even though she's done nothing to really concern me since. It makes it hard for me to work with her. To quote Frodo from The Lord of the Rings - "I know what I have to do but I'm afraid to do it." There - I've admitted it - I'm somewhat afraid. I know exactly what to do with Dawn to work with her and get her wildness managed, but I still am apprehensive and worried about the whole thing. She's actually an amazing little horse, but I don't yet have a connection with her to work with. And this is the horse that I used to canter when she was barely off the track at age 4, without any problems!
Since I feel that way, and finally have acknowledged how I feel - it's a hard thing for a supposedly experienced rider and horse-handler to admit - I've decided that Dawn and I must become more comfortable with each other and build some sort of connection before we do much more. So today I groomed her outside - I still am reluctant to pick up her right hind and breathe a sigh of relief when I'm done - and then I just hung around in her stall. She mostly ignored me - her eye gets sort of hard and she doesn't look at me when there's no connection - but she did let me hold her head and rub her neck a bit, although she moved away when I tried to massage her anywhere else. I think we have a "you go first" issue - she's reluctant to trust me, because she can feel that I'm nervous, and I'm reluctant to trust her because - well, because she kicked me - and because she's nervous. I'm embarrassed and perplexed by this - and I call myself a horseperson!
I think if I just take a deep breath and do what I'm comfortable with, that we'll manage to build the connection just through spending some time together and our daily interactions. At some point I'll need to step up and ask her to do more for me, but I feel at this point I'm not ready. I think my confidence will come back, but we'll have to see. Any ideas for simple activities she and I can do together to build mutual trust (mustang people?)?