The first week Rufus had to become accustomed to many new experiences. He arrived on a Sunday and by Monday I had purchased him a new rain sheet. The local tack store did not have any winter blankets his size (being a 51" blanket size makes it challenging to find) so his other blankets needed to be sourced out online. I also introduced him to salt to help encourage him to drink water. He licked it up like he had never had it before!
Tuesday he had his very first farrier appointment. To be truthful he wasn't very good and my very patient farrier was only able to do one foot. I had my homework for the week - to get him comfortable picking up his feet! I was also happy to see that by Tuesday evening he was eating with the herd.
On Wednesday his winter blanket arrived and his wardrobe was beginning to grow. I still had to bucket water to him as I wasn't confident that he was drinking from the trough. With some treats as incentive I was able to touch all four legs and feet without any discomfort on his part.
By Thursday I was able to pick up all four feet. He wouldn't hold them for very long but it was a start. He also started to bray (it's loud) when he would see me. I suspected that he was starting to associate me with food. Hudson was still chasing him off his hay, but Jack was doing a good job mediating these encounters making sure that his little buddy didn't get hurt. That day I also saw him drinking out of the water trough. I was confident that it wouldn't take long for him to really become a member of the herd.
Friday was his vet appointment. He was sedated for his dental work. His teeth were surprisingly in good shape and he had his first round of vaccinations. He was getting along so well with the herd that I saw him sharing a food dish with Jack!
On Saturday I was able to spend some time with Rufus out in the paddock. I removed his blanket and he enjoyed some mutual grooming with me. He was also spending a lot of time with Jack. They were quickly becoming friends.
For the weeks to come Rufus became more and more comfortable as a member of the herd. He started laying down in the shelter to have his naps. He fell into a lovely feeding routine with the other horses and continued to become more relaxed about having his feet picked up, picked out, and even trimmed by the farrier.