I had some time this morning before the rain started to say hello to the horses. Patrik was the first to spy me and come running up. When he noticed that I didn't have treats he decided that he was more interested in cleaning up the hay in the corral.
This was the opportunity that Sofi was waiting for. With Patrik out of the way, she was the next to approach. She seemed happy enough to receive the scratches I had to give. My camera phone lens is scratched so that's why the right side of all the pictures are blurred. In the picture below, Sofi has positioned herself so that I can scratch her favorite spot, her tailbone and then down along her hind legs. Sunny is in the background, sporting his stylish raincoat.
I let the horses guide me to where they most want to be scratched. I think scratching is one of the few things humans have to offer horses that they truly enjoy for its own sake. Grain is another one of those things. In the picture below, Sofi shows me where she wants to be scratched next by nosing the area and then getting a blissful look in her eye when I hit the right spot at the right intensity. Imagine trying to tell someone where you'd like to be scratched if you don't speak the same language and don't even have hands to point.
Here is Sundance when I've hit the right spot. She extends her head and neck up and out. Usually she'll even extend her upper lip when it feels really good. This picture was taken when I was scratching her udder, a place that is nearly impossible for her to reach on her own. I scratched a tick off the area today. My horses don't get ticks often but it's been interesting to see how they have discovered that if they direct me just right, I will often find the area that they know needs attention.
I picked out Sofi and Patrik's feet today. Since they have a large pasture to roam in, for the past 6 months or so I've decided to see if they can take care of trimming their own feet. So far the experiment has been going very well. Their frogs are larger and have more ground contact than I've ever seen before and the amount of thrush is minimal. I may pare off some of his frog if the parts that are overhanging don't pull off by themselves soon. It's interesting to see in this picture how his foot is doing what it was designed to do to keep itself naturally trimmed. At the toe you can see the outer wall chipping off, leaving it flush with the sole.