For various reasons, I couldn't get out to see Royal until after dark on Tuesday. He still needed his grain, so I had to go find him. And of course it was overcast and the horses were out in the Big Field. Armed with only a flashlight, I headed out to find the Fuzz so I could give him his dinner.
One thing about the country is that it's very quiet. So I'm sure the neighbors about a mile away could hear me calling "Royal... Gabby... Bandit... Xena... Coco!" Over and over again as I carefully made my way over the creek bed and through the field. About halfway down, I head some hoofbeats and snorting, and then all the horses burst through the tall grass to my left, wanting the cookies I had brought.
And it was then I discovered Royal is afraid of flashlights. Sigh.
I had to turn it off to halter him, and he was willing to follow the light back to the food, but he did not want it coming anywhere near him. Luckily we were able to use the garage light so see could see his food.
He was able to find his way back to the field in the dark and the next day we started focusing on our OnLine stuff. I'm hoping to help him focus through his spookiness. Usually when he gets scared of something, he obsesses over it to the point where we can't do anything else until I do some serious pattern interrupt. Which is annoying and not often practical. So my plan is to plant spooky things around the area where we're playing and just act like everything's normal, and therefore he should maintain his responsibilities of maintaining gait and direction. The first spooky object was the Carrost Stick Flag.
We didn't do anything with the flag. It just lay there, rippling in the wind and making all sorts of noises. At first, he didn't want to go anywhere near it, and then only with a lot of dramatic snorting and prancing. But eventually he went by it without a big fuss. Day 2 I used his folded up rain sheet, which also caused a lot of dramatic flair. But he focus on his responsibilities a lot better.
The other thing I'm working on is practicing standing wraps. I learned how to wrap years ago, but I don't do it very often. Boots are just so much easier. But I figure it's a good skill to have and I may as well use it. Royal has been pretty patient with the whole thing, although he isn't too crazy about it either.
I'm improving. Slowly.