It is absolutely pouring here today and our neighbors are doing some serious deforestation on their property. The excavator, big trucks, chainsaws and toppling trees have put both horses on edge since early this morning. When I woke up they were standing under the cedars beside their shelter, but ever since they have been down at the bottom of the paddock looking wary in the rain. Unfortunately the whole shelter vibrates slightly with the heavy equipment nearby, and we suspect they got seriously spooked sometime midmorning when a truck rattled past. This evening I cannot coax them up there for love nor money (nor alfalfa cubes nor sweet feed) , and Raven reared up on my when I tried to do it by force.
I'm feeling at wit's end tonight. This shelter has been nothing but a headache, and now it's a headache that my horses won't even use. I don't have the time or patience to baby them through the desensitization process every time they decide it's scary, and I don't have the heart to let them stand in the rain day in and day out. After some discussion I think that David and may try relocating it (no small feat) to the south end of the paddock, which they tend to prefer. And if that fails we might have to try something else entirely. This is not the end I had envisioned after six months of frustration, but I guess that I shouldn't be surprised.
Addendum: When I went out to feed they were both cleaning up the alfalfa cubes I spread earlier. They didn't look happy about it, but they were doing it.