Bless this little mare's heart. Either I'm a Grade A horsewhisperer (unlikely), or she is a complete and total genius. I cannot believe how good she was today!
The weather has been completely and utterly miserable as of late, with temperatures in the 30's and nonstop wind and rain/snow/sleet for days. I may be a Northern girl, but I've been in Texas for almost an entire year now, and I have been horribly spoiled by all the recent warm weather. I hate the cold!!
Due to all the nasty and miserable weather, all the horses have been inside in stalls for the past few days, getting their exercise by going in our Eurocizer. It's big, quiet, and scary looking for horses unfamiliar to it... but I've never seen one fuss about going in it for the first time, and they always figure it out within a minute or two. For the little mare, however, I wasn't sure how she was going to deal with it.
Lo and behold, look at that! She was fine!
Awful picture, I know.... I have GOT to get my camera out to the barn.
The only fuss she made was when I was loading her and the wind caught the panels and swung them her way.... before I could move her she got goosed in the bum and skittered around in a circle until she was facing the panel. She never even put pressure on the lead when she moved, bless her heart. Dumb wind!
Add "walking in the walker" to the list of things Bay Girl is all right with. Who woulda thunk it?
If she hadn't already gotten an A+ for that effort, she doubly earned it later in the day. Temperatures tonight are supposed to drop into the 20's, and while everyone is stalled, it is still undoubtedly chilly out there. Bay Girl has hardly any winter coat, but we were pretty sure that she had never worn a blanket before in her life. I expected that getting a blanket on her was going to take a few training sessions, but thought I would introduce her to the idea of her blanket today to begin with while everyone else was getting theirs put on.
To start, we hung all the blankets on everyone's stall doors so that they would be easily accessible when it was time for me to toss blankets on everyone (they had been in storage prior to this). Bay Girl spent the day looking out her stall bars at this new and scary thing, and apparently didn't seem to mind much. She watched with interest as I blanketed everyone else in her aisle, and when it came time to introduce her to her blanket, she surprised me. After some initial loving on, I clipped her leadrope to her catch halter, brought her to the blanket, and let her see, sniff, and investigate it for a little while. She was VERY interested in the blanket, more in a curious way than anything. She never balked or hesitated, so the blanket came closer to her. She continued to be quiet and relaxed about it, albeit curious, so I touched her with it. She blinked, snorted a bit, and went back to sniffing it curiously as I touched her side with said scary piece of fabric. I moved the blanket higher, ending over her withers. She still didn't do more than sniff curiously. 'Hmmm', I thought, 'she must know what blankets are. She doesn't seem to care at all.' I moved it higher, up over her back. She sniffed curiously. I let it rest upon her back... and that was when it became clear that she had really never worn a blanket before. She scooted forward, eyes wide, suddenly unsure of the intentions of the green monster now resting dangerously upon her back. But just like every other time she has been scared or uncertain, all it took was a soothing worn on my part and she stopped. Many pets, scritches, and snacks later, and I had the blanket resting in its proper place over her back with no muss or fuss. Her eye was soft, her demeanor was curious, and her continual reaction to the blanket was to turn her head curiously from side to side, eyeballing the weird thing laying upon her back. I riskily took a chance at buckling it. Front buckles... no problem. Belly strap.... no issues there. Leg straps, which I was very worried around.... no biggie. She was fine! Singing her praises, I let her go again, leaving her to wander in circles around her stall, looking curiously back at the strange green thing on her body. After her initial reaction, she genuinely didn't care.
10 points for the genius mare. I can not believe how smart she is. It took her all of 10 minutes from start to finish to be wearing her first ever blanket with no muss or fuss.
That for sure makes me wonder desperately what she'd be like to saddlebreak! I bet she'd be a cakewalk! (Or a lunatic.... you never know what she's actually been through!)