I had just started my horse training job for a therapy center when Francis came to live here. My bosses had been in charge of taking care of the horses and expanding the herd when horses needed rescued or a new home. Well needless to say my bosses saw an add for a mule and went to go see her. They said she was a little robotic on lead, but the guy rode her and show them everything they wanted to see... ugh
What my bosses had not know is what to look for when buying a horse. I know for a fact that the man they bought her from had been a horse trader that drugged all his horses before people came to see them. I showed up for work that week and realized we had a new horse in one of our pens. I asked about it because she didn't look like a normal foster horse that we hold from time to time, but that is when I got the news that she was my new project.
I had yet to really scope her out, but my main concern was trying to get her adjusted to her new home. I said Hi through the fence and she didn't want anything to do with me. I wasn't expecting much, but my bosses had talked this mule up and I was expecting a gosh darn unicorn covered in rainbows and happiness.
The next day my bosses told me that we had a big problem on our hands. I went back to work(on my day off) and showed up to see Francis just eating hay in her pen. I asked what was wrong and my bosses told me that Francis wouldn't let anyone get near her. That is when the questions came up about who she was sold from and all that jazz.
At that point I knew she was going to be a huge handful. We needed to clean out the pen and to move Francis to another pen, but she was miss butt and everywhere I went her butt followed. I saw from the moment I walked in she was terrified, everything in her body language was telling me that she wanted nothing to do with me or the halter in my hand.
Having her butt face me that whole time got my nerves going (which didn't make things better), but she wasn't kicking, she was just trying to be intimidating and scare me off. I took my time and backed off while talking to her and being as calm as I could be. It took me and hour and a half and 2 kicks to get a halter on her. From that point on I didn't like her and she didn't like me.
With everything about the idea of Francis being friendly and such changing one thing didn't, she LOVED food! Every time breakfast or dinner came along there was Francis by her feed bowl "yelling" at me to feed her. With that in mind I knew it would be the tool to help me get her use to people. Every time feeding time came I put a halter lead rope on her neck, she didn't want it on, but the only way she would get her food was if it was only. Slowly but surly she let me put a halter on, then let me lead her.
She has a ways to go, but so do I. She is teaching me new things everyday. We are growing together and as much as we don't like each other, we are each others only hope of getting better. Because of that time Francis kicked me I have been scared of her butt. I know she won't kick, but every time she picks up on my nerves her butt goes to me. I am getting better and more relaxed and so is she. Francis has now started to open up and even today she let me touch her legs all the way do to her hoofs, which has been impossible to do.
I'm not expecting anyone to follow this or anything, I just want to keep this for myself. I am happy to keep this up and to continue to work on her. She will be something else once we get over whatever happened to her in the past. Only a bright future is ahead for the both of us :)