Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sunny Evening

Two weeks have gone by...or is getting closer to three?...since I last worked with any of the horses. Too long for Sunny, or so I thought. Tonight as she and Jet were finishing up their hay I wandered out into the pasture. She moved away, white of her eye showing. I can't imagine what it must be like to be harboring so much fear.

I let Sunny lope down to the end of the field and waited for her to turn back towards me. I knew she would, as facing up has become routine for her. Once she was looking at me, head in a semi-relaxed position, I began to walk closer. Some folks would say to just stand and wait it out, but hey, this is Sunny we're talking about, right? There is no out waiting this filly. So walk towards her I did, coming to within ten feet or so before she showed signs of stress. I stopped and let her gather her thoughts.

It may seem odd to a non-horseman that a horse would have thoughts, let alone that you'd allow them to gather those thoughts. In fact, it would likely irritate some folks who consider themselves horsemen to do so as well. But I want Sunny to make the choice to do what's right. I can force the issue, but I don't want a horse who needs to be forced; I want one that has decided to work with me. Sunny may never enjoy the work, but I never will enjoy the fight, so we're working on meeting somewhere in the middle.

After a few minutes, Sunny allowed me to walk up alongside her and stroke her neck and shoulder before moving off. I had the halter in my hand and had thought I'd lead her back to the barn, but now my objective had changed. Sunny took a couple steps away; she was protecting her right side again, but not in such a fearful way as she'd done a few months back. She just didn't want to give me access to that side. That was okay by me. I reached out for her again and this time she stood still, allowing me to run my hand over her neck and rub on her mane, eventually reaching over to take the halter that my left hand was holding beneath.

The white didn't leave her eyes, but Sunny stood and allowed me to halter her. I gave her a good girl rub, then took it off and walked away. That was enough for her first day back in the 'work force.' Tomorrow we'll step it up and see if we've really lost any ground or not.


Clickoncowboy said...

You were right to walk away after haltering her. That was enough surrender for one day. It sounds like you are making good progress.


Rising Rainbow said...

Not too bad!! She'll figure it all out yet and then there'll be no stopping you two.

EquineSpirit said...

Way to go! Hope things go smoothly when you get back to work with her...