Lacey, Fabio and Me: The Neverending Story
This will probably predominantly focus on Lady because she basically knows zero things but Lacey will probably be mentioned so I figured she needed to be part of the title... :D
So, Lady is my foster horse from an organization called Sound Equine Options.
She's a ten year old (approximately, no one's checked her teeth yet) Arabian mare who was rescued about a month ago from pretty serious neglect (she's put on probably 100-150+lbs so far). She was literally living in someone's suburban backyard with her year old filly, a donkey, and a mini.
Her filly was signed over to the rescue as well and I think she's already found a new home, or at least she's being fostered by some people who want to adopt her eventually.
Lady was a bottle baby (orphaned at some point) but so far she's not showing any of the really bad orphan "traits". She doesn't have much of an idea about one's personal space but she's not terrible about it.
She's supposedly broke to ride but the owner she was removed from said that she (the owner) was the only one who could ride her... We're thinking that maybe a couple rides were snuck on to Miss Lady but that she isn't truly "broke".
I just got her yesterday so I figured that now would be a good time to start writing about her, start from the beginning, right? :D
So, basically my "job" is to get her trained up to actually being ridden. If I wanted to, I'm "allowed" to actually get on her eventually myself but I don't have to. Depending on how she progresses, I may start riding her myself but that really really depends.
Right now, our goals are: getting to know each other, leading well (she's under the impression that leading probably means she takes humans somewhere...), desensitizing to everything, being touched all over - she does not want her belly touched right now, saddling, blanketing, fly mask, I want to teach her to pony so she can come on trail rides with Lacey and I, etc.
Basically, I need to get her up to normal handled horse level.
So far I'm loving her attitude. She's very looky and not spooky - very curious about things that scare her. I've seen her get scared a few times but I have not seen her actually spook. She's also pretty spoiled - what she wants is apparently what she's used to getting. However, oh darn for her, I definitely have lots of experience with horses like that *peers accusingly at Lacey*.
She also loves to be touched so it's super easy to reward her for the right things (Lacey hates touching which always makes rewarding her more difficult).
Summary of today:
The goal was working on leading, I also tried a few sending exercises - turned out to be a terrible idea to try with a horse that doesn't know what "whoa" means. :lol:
It got a little scary when she decided to trot super fast around me, on the lead rope, while turning her head and shoulders in towards me -trying to intimidate me. I dumbly ended up backing away from her the first time she did that so she tried it a couple more times. Thankfully I was using my 14ft lead rope so I just started smacking in her the shoulder whenever she turned towards me. She decided that would be a good time to bolt but oh, guess what? I was prepared for that so it totally did not work. After that, she basically stopped and was like "oh, I'm dumb" so we went back to walking 2 steps, backing up one, etc etc.
Then, we finally got down to the shed - thank Jesus for Lacey, she was basically glued to my shoulder the whole time (except for when Lady was playing up) all like "Hey guys! I'm so kewl! Does not need lead rope=CHAMPION!" so she was being a great role model.
I tied Lacey up to one post and clipped Lady to a leadrope I had "installed" on the wall of the shed in such a way that if she pulled back, the lead would get looser (no one knew if she tied solid) but not set her free. She stood pretty well there and I groomed her shoulder (I haven't touched her all over yet so I wasn't sure how she'd be with more than that).
After both girls were groomed, I took Lady 15 feet away to work on some more leading. She was a little easier this time but still really didn't understand what I was getting at.
Then I "tied" her back up and took Lacey 15 ft away to work with her. And well, Lady decided that she was done being "stuck" so she started testing out how well she was tied. To make a long story short, Lacey was a gem and Lady ended up being tied solid which she still didn't like but she didn't pull back or anything so yay! She even got the lead rope over and behind her ears but didn't panic, just untangled herself. Smart!
After that, I took Lady off for another 5 minutes and touched her all over with the lunge whip. She was scared of the whip at first but then realized that it wasn't hurting her so she settled right down. Then, as we walked back to the shed, I practiced leading correctly with her some more and she showed that she was really catching on. She even backed herself up a step, before I even asked, right before we got to the shed!
Then I fed them and let them both go. I'm really pleased with how far we got in just a couple little sessions.
I gave Lady some raspberry leaves with hers, likeI do with Lacey. Hopefully that'll calm her current heat down a bit (she's super in heat, all squealy and it's probably not helping her be not bratty, lol).
Tomorrow, I think we're going to work more on leading, obviously more on standing tied, I'll probably do a little more with the lunge whip - to get her thinking, and I'm going to hopefully get her brushed all over. I'm a little nervous about picking up her feet but she did just get them done so the trimmer must have survived...probably I will too... :lol: I'll probably also show her about flysheets, just so I can start doing that to her everyday since I figure that'll be CRAZY for her. :lol:
And here's a picture of the girl that I took yesterday. She's come a long way since she was rescued but still has a bit of a way to go.
Thanks for reading! :D
How exciting! A thought occured to me. If she only recently had her filly off of her, that may be why she isn't all too happy about you messing around her belly area. She is probably bagged up and in pain, or she thinks that you are trying to nurse on her (That sounds stranger than it was supposed to...) and she is rejecting you (foal) from nursing.
Give her time, it may be because she is in heat, too. Some mares don't want you messing around back there around then.
Good luck with her, she looks like a doll!
you're doing just wonderfully! I will be so intrigued to hear how it goes.
Quite a project there-are the 2 mares pastured together?
Grayshell, I had wondered that too. You're probably right. Her poor udders are HUGE since baby hasn't been around for a week+. They probably hurt, poor girl!
Thanks Equiniphile! She's a really sweetie. She actually reminds me A LOT of Lacey back when I first got her, just less mentally "damaged". They're such a good pair, I just love it!
Aw thanks Tiny! I'm intrigued to see how it goes too! :lol: She seems to want to learn so badly. She'll be a great horse once she figures out the "rules".
Pretty much cacowgirl! I'm excited about it. I've never had the chance to work with a horse that knew this little so I'm looking forward to learning the ropes of training a nearly blank slate!
Lacey and Lady are pastured together. They pretty much immediately hit it off and were basically insta-besties. It's probably the best situation that could have happened! :D
Well, it started POURING rain so....
Day 1, Part 2 needed to happen. :rofl:
So, it starts pouring rain and Lacey, being the old lady that she is, "neeeeeds" her blanket on whenever it rains otherwise she starts shivering etc AND because her last ERU attack was brought on by being chilled - therefore being chilled could cause another attack to occur and "gift" me with $300 more in vet bills. O.o
Anyway, so I go up there and I see no horses. Panicking just a little since Lacey basically always greets me at the gate and Lady seems to think the gate is awesome, I start heading down into the main pasture.
Well, I get about halfway down, and apparently sweet Miss Lady took Lacey down to the shed to get out of the rain together. They're standing in one stall and, you guys won't even believe this, THREE DEER were in the stall next to them!! It was ridiculously adorable, like something straight out of a fairy tale.
The deer scattered pretty immediately after they saw me but I would have felt mean for shooing them away so I guess that's better than nothing...
The girls both nickered at me (adorable!) and after I put Lacey's blanket on (which Lady was not interested by at all - weird!) I decided that this was as good a time as any to practice more leading with Lady. I figured that inclement weather conditions was probably a good lil raising the difficulty level thing.
And guess what? Someone acted like they had never had a problem leading and what was I thinking for even going there! :lol: Mares!
Anyway, I guess leading is doing even better than I thought!
I also decided to move them out of the main pasture and into the larger+steeper left pasture. I was kinda waiting until I had caught Lady a few times and until I knew she and Lacey were getting along well (there's better+more grass down there and it would be pretty much impossible to catch a horse that didn't want to be caught down there) and I think she passed those tests.
Anyway, I kinda herded them up there (Lacey: "Oh! I know what that means! We better run! Yay!" Lady: "What the heck is wrong with you, weird lady? First you try to insult me by acting like I'm dumb about leading, then you try to herd me somewhere like some sorta sheep? Who ARE you??!") and once I got them up and over there, they thought the new field was fantastic.
Lady decided to explore at a trot and poor Lacey was like "Stop, stop! Where did you go best friend!?". Lacey almost fell down once because she got so concerned about where Lady was going. I determined that Lacey really can't see anything farther than about 15ft away from her. Lady would get about that far away and Lacey would start peering around like she had majikally disappeared.
Anyway, once Lady had pretty much looked at everything, she and Lacey came back up the hill, had a little pow-wow with me (she's very very sweet), and took Lacey to graze under a stand of trees she had found because it was still raining and Lady is apparently as much of a hothouse flower as Lacey is. :rofl:
She's really a great little mare.
Whoops, didn't think about that when it came to the sending exercise. Usually they stop by themselves, my bad!
I'm glad you figured it out though :) Seems like a great first day.
Haha Maggie, I didn't even think of it either until I was there and having issues. It's so weird to me that she has no idea what "ah-ah" or clucking/kissing noises mean, she doesn't know "whoa", "good girl" means nothing... All these noises I'm constantly making around horses and she really does not know them at all.
Cute story from last night: since I let them into the big pasture, right in the evening I realized that that pasture is so steep Lady might have taken Lacey somewhere Lacey would have a hard time getting out of (Lacey's pretty smart about what she can and can't do but a new bestie might override that intelligence) so I went up to check. Thankfully, they were just down in the bottom of the pasture but not anywhere Lacey couldn't get out of.
So I clucked at them to see if they'd come to me since I brought them each half a carrot (Lady isn't hard to catch but since she doesn't know me yet, I figure it's better to be prepared than have to run all over the place after an errant pony) and Lady initiated a canter up the hill to me!! It was the sweetest thing. Lacey thought it was pretty cool too, thankfully!
We practiced more leading, more tying, picking up feet, grooming all over, and I introduced her to a flymask. We also saw a deer and a coyote in the field - she wasn't scared of either, even though they were running. She has a really good mind, I think!
Leading was basically perfect. She's now stopping when I stop, turning when I turn, and she'll usually back up with relatively light pressure. Her only issue is that she still likes to be awfully close to the person leading her. I'm hoping that that will sort itself out as she figures out real life, but we'll see.
She's getting much better at tying. She definitely tests to see if she's tied solid or not and if she's not tied solid, well, by-by! But if she's tied solid, she stays. She does move around a lot once she gets bored but that should sort itself out.
I picked out her front feet today. She was pretty ok with me doing her right front but pretty uncomfortable with the left front. She tried pulling each out of my hands at least once (like 7 times with the left) but I kept going and we ended with her just letting me hold her hoof.
I also groomed her all over which she thought was pretty great. She was fine today with her belly/flank area (I didn't try touching her udders - didn't want to risk death) being touched. She seems to be out of heat now, I'm not sure whether that's due to the raspberry leaves I gave her yesterday (that'd be awfully fast for them) or whether she's just out. Either way I'm glad.
I felt so bad for her though once I started examining her back. She had, what appear to be, saddle scars all the way down as well as a month+ healing wound on her withers that looks like it came from either a really tight blanket or a saddle sitting on her withers. :( People are yucky.
I put a flymask on her today which the rescue thought was going to be "challenging". Hah, Lady was so not scared that she basically put the flymask on herself. At first she wasn't sure about this purple thing going over her ears but she put her head into it willingly and I rubbed her ears/face with it, then she was ok. She wasn't even worried about the velcro! So anyway, she and Lacey are up there, looking cool with their matching Kensington Plaid (well, Lady's is purple, Lacey's is light green) Bug-Eye flymasks. Very cool. :lol:
I'm also at a place of conundrum. Lady really likes me and Lacey is cool too. Lacey really likes Lady and I'm cool too. Lacey starts getting really worried when she's alone and tied - not that I really blame her being basically blind and all - and I feel terrible for reprimanding her for being nervous... When I'm working with her, I just correct her because she's fine and I have her back (she knows this and behaves pretty well when I'm there) but when she's all alone and knows that she had a friend just a second ago but said friend just disappeared.... I feel bad.
Anyway, that was today...so far. :lol:
I'm just amazed at how fast this is going! I thought for sure leading was gonna be like 2 weeks, then flymask for another week, etc etc. Who knew that training a horse could be this quick! Geez.
Lacey took so long...but now, looking back, she had so much more to contend with being basically blind around no one she knew, etc etc.
Keep up the good work!
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