Thursday, July 1, 2010
The good girl.
After many years of not having foals around, the last few years I have had several. (2 were surprises!) Different breeds, different life experiences, but all had extensive handling once I had them. All left my farm mannerly, well schooled for their level, and looking to humans for guidance and all good things.
When I realized I would have to retire my horse Shadow, I started looking for a replacement. There was a breeding program I liked, and I was able to get a young filly I had wanted since before she was born. I arranged transport from the midwest, and waited for my pretty girl to get here.
She is two years old, and minimally handled, pretty much a range horse. She had a short course of leading and loading before she shipped, but that was mostly it. She got here bewildered and lost. She was mannerly, but understandably scared. After a few days her true personality came out, a very sweet natured girl who followed us around the barn wanting attention. We named her Roheryn, which means 'horse of the lady'. (Roheryn was Arwen's horse in LOTR)
Last week she started limping, and we found out she had a bruised sole and an abscess. The vet tested her hoof, carved away, polticed and wrapped it, and the whole time she stood there on 3 legs trying to play with the leadline and pull our gloves off. I changed her dressing the next few days with her standing loose in her stall. She was curious, and wanted to play with the wraps, but never pulled away or gave me any difficulty. (which was good because I was doing everything on my own, wrapping a hoof one handed is challenge enough!)
I decided to soak the foot a few times, just to be on the safe side. I went in her stall with a bucket of water and epsom salts, and other than making sure there wasn't grain in the bucket, she turned back to her dinner. I picked her foot up, put it in the bucket, and she left it there without moving until I took it out.
As I was cleaning up, I thought about how willing and trusting she was. Not because she had been extensively handled since birth, or imprinted, or trained with some special formula, but because she was bred from a line of horses known for their good temperament and willingness to work with humans. I have always felt temperament is the most important factor in a horse. You can train behavior, but if the temperament isn't there, you will always be fighting nature. Not impossible, but more work, with limited results.
I really look forward to training my good girl, and our future riding together. (oh, and yes, she is a TWH!)