5 hours later, after also cleaning the house, my back is starting to tighten up. I blame Ace....
Since it is Saturday, Ace had a cross tie session. He seemed to be looking forward to it. I led him the 6 feet from the arena gate to the grooming area without bothering to get a rope. Turned him around, snapped the ties, and left to go get a box of brushes. Ace stood happily fiddling with the snaps. I brushed a bit at the dander and scruff all over his back, then opted for a brief curry and a damp towel just to get the dust off the top.
Then I started on his hooves. Instead of starting with his least favorite, the right front, I started with the left front. No problem. Left hind.... very short attention span... suddenly, he decided the left hind was off limits. I held on for a bit, receiving some muddy hoof prints on my already dirty breeches that have not come clean with the first wash. He got the hoof away. I set the pick down, and muscled back into the fray with two free hands. Much better. I was able to set the hoof down during a quiet moment.
On to the right front. He has a very interesting range of motion with the right shoulder which makes holding on to that one much more of a workout. Also, he started to try to lay on me. Elbow to the ribs... lost the hoof in the process. Stand up, drum on his ribs with my fist..."Thou (thump) shalt (thump) not (thump) lay (thump) on (thump) your (thump) human (thump)." Pick up the hoof again. Ace hoists his weight over on to my back and leans. Thump with the left fist. "Stand UP." Ace hippity hops left on three legs and steps in an empty pail against the wall.
Now, I know it is careless to leave dangerous items laying about the cross ties area, but I had decided to leave that there, along with the plastic brush tote, because A. a plastic bucket with a plastic bale is pretty hard to hurt yourself on. B. I also believe in a little spook-proofing, and you might as well start young. That way, you can leave your 6 year old gelding crosstied knowing that if the weanling decides to float an empty paper bag over the arena gate at him for fun, nothing much will happen. Ace likes to do that to my gelding. It must be an invitation to play, and it's kind of cute especially since Grey is already 99% de-spooked on the cross ties, and I don't worry about those things causing a calamity.
So, Ace steps in the bucket. For a weanling who has been on crossties two or three times, you might expect at least a little calamity. Ace's reaction? "Oops, I stepped in a bucket. Sorry, what I really meant to do was LAY on YOU." I managed to get that hoof picked out and set down nearly on my own agenda, and moved on to the last one.
I lifted the hoof up just enough to pick it. Ace started paddling with it. "whhooooaaa, Eaaassyy." He decided to give me that one. I stood up and rested both elbows across his rump, leaning to catch my breath. "Young Man, you try my patience." Ace looked over his shoulder at me, completely unimpressed.