|She's got no muscle and a clubby foot, but we're working on it.|
It's left me in a bit of slump - thinking of all the things I should be/could be doing with my horses, especially Annie. There isn't even much room for in-hand work, and the ice has been preventing walk-hacks around the neighborhood.
After a somewhat disastrous farrier appointment (wherein Annie literally could not horse), I felt embarrassed, frustrated, and completely out of my league. She acted like she hadn't ever had her feet done before. Throughout the appointment, she danced, jittered, and kicked out on several occasions.
The farrier assured me that a lot of young horses can act that way, and it'll get better so long as I put in the time and effort but I was still mortified at her antics given that Suzie can literally be shod sans halter. I mean, Annie is four. She should know better than that!
|Trust is built upon a positive relationship.|
The appointment was good in a way, because the farrier gave me some really sound advice and made me feel much better about the whole situation. He basically said that ya, she's four, but she hasn't had a lot of life experiences and from his expertise, he guesstimates she hasn't been trimmed more than a handful of times.
His biggest piece of advice? Don't get mad at her for being unsure or scared - kicking, biting, and bucking are absolute no's and she can get into serious shit for that, but anything else? Comfort her within reason and ask the right questions.
That advice hit a nerve with me - in a good way.
This is my first greenbean, and despite her being older than most greenies, she still deserves the same amount of understanding. Sure, she may be good with having her blanket heaved over her back for 2 weeks in a row and then on the 15th try, she might spook and bolt. And that's OK.
She is still figuring herself out and she is still TRYING.
She isn't dangerous, and the farrier highlighted that fact numerous times when he saw my horrified face. She was very, very unsure and very nervous about the whole situation and did what she knew to prevent herself from getting hurt or in a bad situation.
As her owner and partner, it's my job to show her there is nothing to be afraid of.
I stupidly had thought the best way to deal with her uncertainty, balkiness (or whatever) was to punish her. Whether that be by a jerk on the leadrope, a stern growl, or a smack on the neck. This isn't to say I just beat her all the time, but I can say without any kind of uncertainty that I was unfair to her in some situations simply because I expected her to be fine with _____ because she had been fine with it the day before or because other 4/5/6 year olds are fine with it.
I tacked her up yesterday after hand- walking her the day before. A friend who is here visiting drove Spud while I rode Annie. She was silly for the first 1/4 of the ride - not wanting to stop, not wanting to walk with Spud, bracing against the hand, not listening to the reins, etc - but nothing too dramatic or bad, especially for a greenie that's been off for over a month.
|Awkward stance, but looking fancy for an |
exciting walking-only hack!
It seems like such a simple and trivial thing - halting quietly. But it's a huge step and it's a building block of the foundation to come. Every time I patted her and reassured her, she soaked it up and felt like she was becoming more reassured of herself.
I've known older horses to be less quiet when returned to work and that's something to celebrate.
The small steps. The small victories.
And those don't come by with a misunderstanding of eachother - it comes with understanding, patience, and once in a while, a little pat or two to say everything is OK.
|They are becoming friends <3|