My long-term strategy for turning Eli into a well-mannered horse has been cuddling him into submission coupled with a few well-aimed smacks for truly egregious behavior. You pin your ears without cause? I hug you. You act like you might like to kick me? I keep currying. You try to nip at me? Here, have an apple, that’ll keep your teeth busy. You try to nip at me again? I pinch your chin (and your offended act doesn’t matter to me). You actually kick me? I actually smack you. Twice.
My persistence has been rewarded.
Eli now lets me clean his sheath.
This leaves only two mountains left to climb: actually spraying stuff directly on to Eli, and clipping his ears.
I think he has finally connected that everything I do, I am going to do regardless of his behavior toward me and that acquiescing quietly often benefits him in enjoyable ways, such as cookies. And none of it hurts.
Eli had a little bit of a tune-up from the vet on Thursday, so he will get a short break from work until Monday. I guess he wanted in on the long weekend game? I’ll be spending Saturday grazing him, as long as I remember a wide-brimmed hat.