Friday, May 22, 2009


Such a sweet face...

Inside such a fearful, reactive body!

Granted, she's not been worked quite as much as Empire...then again, maybe she has? But I asked Darling to step back and let me do some work with this one. So glad she's only a yearling and not a full grown, fire breathing dragon! This is the most reactive horse we've had here. In the photos she's reacting to being touched with the long pole.

In the beginning, standing in the pens at the adoption, we questioned whether this filly was even well. She was aloof, standing with her head droopy and not very attentive to what was going on around her. Darling had drawn for the number around Empire's neck, but selected Avalon as her second yearling to work with. I don't think anyone expected her to be so reactive.

Avalon is very co-dependent. She struggles to be away from other horses, even walking across the paddock can be a challenge. She's done well in overcoming some of that, but when I went to load her the other morning into the trailer, she began rearing, striking, and bucking. Very dangerous. When Darling got home I told her I thought it best if I worked with Avalon for a couple of days, just until she stopped this behavior.

So Darling stood at the rail with the camera as I lead Avalon around, rubbed her back and neck, then began desensitizing with the pole. She wasn't too concerned about the pole on her back; we'd done that early on. But as I moved it to her chest there was a wild, explosive reaction as the filly reared and struck out with all her might. I stuck with it until the reactions slowed down and were not so furious, eventually letting it rest on her back again, and then leaving the pole all together and rubbing and patting with my hand. She was relieved to be done with the pole, shaking slightly but very willing to stay close to me and let me touch her sides and chest. On that good note, we finished.


Correction to yesterday's post! It would take 20 years (not four) for the current population of wild horses to increase to over 400,000.


mkyamse said...

Be careful of those quiet ones. Faith was in the corner and quiet when we picked her up. LOL, we have decided that everyone got out of her witchy way. ;)

nikki said...

I'm glad you and Darling got Avalon. If anyone can help her over come her fears and find her a great home, it's you guys!

Pony Girl said...

It would be interesting to see pics or video of the "pole" work. I am picturing a big wooden dowel of some sort?! :) She looks like a little pistol. I think it's a good idea to get her a little less reactive and more trusting before letting Darling get back to working with her.

Blackfeatherfarm said...

She is a little beauty, even when spitting fire. I have every faith you can show her the way to being calm and secure. Do let us know how she is doing.

Jeanette said...

ooohhh, yeah - that's an un-nerving behavior.
It's good you don't take it personally.