Thursday, March 19, 2015

Like a normal horse

It's the little things, the little day to day things that seem to happen without you even noticing them, that mean so much when you step back and take the time to notice them.  Like the fact that River comes when I call her name, and we can pick out her front feet -  like a normal horse.  Like the fact that we can throw a rope over her neck, put a halter on her, and lead her all around the property -  like a normal horse.  Like the fact that we can tie her to the post and walk away, and brush her tail and all her legs -  like a normal horse.  Like the fact that a stranger can walk up behind River and put their hand on her hindquarters, and she doesn't even flinch - even better than a normal horse.

It's already hard to remember that River came to us 3 1/2 weeks ago as anything but the horse I talk about above.  Safe Haven Horse Rescue did a phenomenal job of bringing her from the starving, wormy, un-handled young filly that was saved from the kill pens to the blossoming, healthy young mare who was learning that people are not all bad.  Don't forget - this is the horse they took in just one year ago................


.........and this is the same horse the day we picked her up............

Now, because we are able to spend quality time with River every day, and continue what was started with her at Safe Haven, she is also blossoming in her heart and in her mind.  She accepts that we are not going to do anything to hurt her.  Yes, she reacts to new things, but it's always a small reaction, and then she settles in.  Like her introduction to the hose - this week I decided it was time to get her ready for bath time, so I took  her over to the wash rack.  She's happy now to go in and out of the wash rack without any issues.  My only bad was that I couldn't remember which way the nozzle needed to be turned so that the water would flow out gently, not squirt out noisily - so when water hissed out the end of the hose, River stepped back - very quickly!  But, she hit the end of the lead rope, and immediately stopped.  I fixed the  nozzle the way I had originally wanted it, and I was able to hose off both her front legs.   As soon as I told her that it was OK, she decided, yes, it was OK.

River is learning to accept dogs running all over, and has no problem with Dory helping lead her to the round pen, and Jessi's little dog, Pip, bringing up the rear.

We have been working River more with the hackamore - now in the round pen.    If you remember, she is still  on restrictions due to the surgery on her belly  last week, so she is being an especially good girl since she hasn't been able to kick up her heels lately.  Jessi starts by making sure River remembers how to turn left and right from both sides.  Now River is learning whoa and turning while walking with Jessi by her side - right and left side.  We are still working on her lunging in both directions as well, the right side still being a bit of a bug-a-boo for her, but she is getting better.

Soon, we will be able to put a saddle on River and get on her back, so to prepare her for that day, we brought a mounting block down to the pen so she could get ready for us to be above her, and so Jessi could start to put weight on her back.  She also needs to see things moving behind her out of both of her eyes.

Can you tell that we love working with River, and I think she likes her lessons as well?  I almost forget at times where she's been in her young life because she is so very accommodating  in her demeanor and in how hard she tries to learn her lessons.  I say she is like a normal horse, but actually, she is an extraordinary horse, and we are lucky to have her in our lives now.


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