I'm going to use my journal to keep track of the progress my filly and I are making together. It's going to be a long process, so I think it will be good to have a record of our daily interactions so on the frustrating days, I'll be able to look back and see how far we've come.
Here's everything that's happened up to today. Until she's named, I'll call her Filly.
Foaled: April 23, 2012
Sire: Tiajuana's Chocolate Patch
Dam: Rebel's Run Blackie
Color: Black, No Markings
Saturday 20 October, 2012: Day 1
Filly was very gentle in her stall when we came in. Her eyes were very curious, and while she did hesitate to move toward me, she did let me pet her all along her face, neck, and body. She wears a halter and led very nicely from the stall to the back of the trailer even though the breeder said he had only been working with her for about 3 days. When we started to load her, the step from the ground into the trailer was too high for her, so she pulled back. My husband moved the truck forward to put the trailer tires into a rut in the driveway and that lowered the back enough for Filly to step in easily. The whole process took about 15 minutes.
On the way home (about 3 hours), we stopped twice for food and for gas. Both times Filly was very alert and looking around at everything going on around her, but she didn't seem scared or spooked.
When we arrived home, the goats made unloading more complicated than it should have been. We finally moved the trailer farther away from them to open the doors. I let Filly take her time coming out, and when she did, she leapt out of the back like she was trying to clear a huge fence. She didn't lead as well going to the stable, but I'm sure she was nervous about being in a new place. Plus, it was already dark outside. Once we got her into the stall with her hay and water though, she was fine.
Sunday 21 October, 2012: Day 2
I walked Filly on the lead some in the early afternoon when my parents came to see her. She let Mom and Dad both touch her and was doing really well, but when my husband shook the grain bucket to get the goats' attention, Filly spooked and jerked the rope out of my hands. I guess the good thing was that I got to see her move out. She has a really nice trot, but her canter is a little awkward. I don't know yet if she's going to be gaited, but I'm more concerned with her personality at this point.
She was so keyed up that I couldn't catch her for a few hours after the bucket incident, but she eventually did let me catch her and take the rope off. While she was out, I think she bonded with Maverick really well. He is the only other horse here, so I guess that's only natural.
Monday 22 October, 2012: Day 3
This morning I spent about an hour just walking around the pasture with everyone so Filly could get more used to me being in places other than the stable. She did let me pet her for a few minutes, but then Maverick distracted her and they went galloping off to the far end of the pasture. Filly does not like being away from Maverick. I think the breeder said they had about 80 horses on their farm, so I can't really blame her for getting attached to him. Hopefully he can help to ease her transition to being an only-horse since he'll be going back home soon.
I went back into the pasture later in the evening, but I waited too late and it was too dark to stay very long with them.
Tuesday 23 October, 2012: Day 4
We started out in the stable this morning, and I just sat on a block in her stall and let her come to me. It took about 40 minutes, but Filly finally did come up to me and sniff my hair and face without me having to coax her into being near me. I think this counts as a milestone, even if it is a small one.
For afternoon/evening training, we were all back in the field. The goats were particularly affectionate, and even Maverick was coming up to me more. He usually doesn't have any interest in me at all. The biggest progress made though was that as of tonight, Filly doesn't always position herself with Maverick between us. Again, it's little, but I think it shows that she's getting more comfortable with me.
I also took a video of Filly tonight, trying to get her to move on camera so I can examine her gaits a little better. Unfortunately, I'm really bad at taking video with my phone.
Wednesday 24 October, 2012: Day 5
Today I've had to spend the day at my parent's house dog-sitting for them. Even still, I did slip in a very short session with Filly in the pasture. While I was sitting out there with her, I got a bit of a cough and I think she thought I was nickering at her because she did it back and walked directly up to me. She stayed several feet back, but it was still better than she had done so far. She hadn't been that direct in approaching me before.
It will be well after dark before I get back home tonight, but I should be able to get in plenty of time tomorrow. My schedule isn't to where I can give her really good routines, so I guess I'll find the silver-lining in that she will be used to seeing me around at any time of day, so she doesn't get into any bad habits of lingering near the gate or anything like that.