Looking back over that August post on biting, I can't believe I ever considered biting a vice. It is the starting point of almost all Obama's communication, not that he sinks his teeth in, just waves his teeth vaguely in my direction. Watch a couple of ponies playing in the field and they snake their heads at each other, teeth bared, ears flat back and carry on for ages without ever actually taking a chunk out of each other.
The difficult bit, if you are used to dealing with horses in England, is NOT sloshing them one, but if you can get past that, and get into the idea that any attempt at communication deserves a friendly response, you will find your life transformed. I scratch Obama under the chin, or feed him a carrot, but if he connects and I think it actually hurts, which is rare, I blow in his nose or swear at him, snaking my head at him to suggest that next time I'll bite him.
I get through a lot of carrots, or Obama does, and he talks to loads of people, and never snakes his head at them till he has got to know them. If they feed him carrots, he reckons they want to communicate and tends to say when he wants a carrot, but will settle for a scratch instead.
I am learning all the time what he likes, what he doesn't like, and the same is true for him. When I harness him up he gives me the full performance, snaking his head at me, but he knows he gets a carrot at the end, regardless of his behaviour. And before anyone starts on at me for bribery, how many of you lot would carry on going to work if you didn't get paid at the end of the week. If your boss knew he could get a pony for three or four carrots a day, I'm not sure how long you would still be employed.
Some photos of Obama will be up soon, so keep an eye on this space, and if you have any questions I am happy to provide an opinionated, contentious response.