Feb. 15th, 2005. This is Assurance his first Morning home.  He was really tired after
the long drive from Oregon.
Assurance meeting Oscar for the first time.  Oscar LOVES all of the big horses. (hes
not so fond of the mini's, they chase him)  I know one of these days I will go outside
to find Oscar sitting on the back of a horse.
March 4, 2006
Gratefully it didn't rain today.  Assurance and the other horses were thrilled.  
Assurance spent most of his day laying down and resting in what little sun there was.
 I gave him the day off, we will work tomorrow.

March 9th, 2006
Things are going good with Assurance.  He is beginning to trust me and I am
beginning to understand him.  We've been doing just basic ground work inside his
paddock.  I won't take him out to work in the arena for a while.  He gets very
distracted and I don't want to put him in a situation where he panics and can't listen
to me.  At least not until I trust his ground manners.
Hes becoming more quiet at grooming time.  Its hard for him to stand there, reminds
him to much of his life at the race track.  I try to do things differently every time I
groom just to keep him interested and thinking.

Today I felt he was ready for me to try and do a little hoof trimming.  He was calm and
listened well unfortunately his left leg is really bothering him and he didn't want to
put to much weight on it. so I wasn't able to do to much.  Its going to take a while to
get to all of his hooves, since I can only work on them for a minute or so at a time.
                                                        
March 1, 2006
Assurance has turned out to be a bit more of a challenge than I expected.  Hes on
automatic pilot most of the time.  Hes very conditioned to his life as a race horse.  
The minute I walk him out of his paddock, hes on.  Hes ready to go run a race, its like
a switch has been flipped and his adrenaline starts pumping.  I am going to have to
get very creative with his retraining.

He has a hard time paying attention to me.  Hes very mouthy, likes to chew on the
lead rope and anything else that I am holding.  He threatens to kick if I run my stick
down his back right leg.  Hes afraid of my stick and doesn't really like ropes either.

Now for the good news, hes very smart.  I decided I would have to make things far
more interesting for him and to surprise him a bit.   Instead of the stick I usually use I
got a big water noodle from the pool.  You know those long  flexible foam floaty
things.  I let him play with it for as long as he wanted, chew on it, toss it around, step
on it.  He seemed far less threatened by this than by my stick.  Once he was done
playing I used it like I would use my stick.  Rubbed his neck and shoulders, legs, etc.  
 I left it in his paddock on his feeding mat so he can get very comfortable with it.  
Below - Its not a very good picture but I wanted to post it anyway.  It was
interesting, I had to move horses around today because of possible flooding this
evening.  
I moved Assurance into a pasture next to Dreamer, our 27 year old quarter horse
gelding.  At first there was allot of screaming going on, mostly coming from
Dreamer, hes old but he's the alpha male around here.  After a few minutes it got
very quiet, I noticed that Assurance was standing next to Dreamer.  Assurance must
have yawned 10 or 11 times in a row.  It fascinated me because thats something
horses and people do when they are releasing.  Dreamer made Assurance feel safe
and relaxed.  It was not the reaction I was expecting, I was pleasantly surprised.  
After the yawn fest, they groomed each other over the fence.  
If things continue to go well between them I may try to put them together in
Dreamers pen.