Dec 20 – crash into sally
it’s late in the evening..am checking the horses..making sure everyone’s fine for the night..making sure gates are shut..that one didn’t get left open from the days activities..making sure what’s inside stays in and what’s outside stays out..there’s a large cottonfield across the road..acres and acres of cotton and at this time of year standing tall and ready to harvest..at night the coyotes use it as a passage way to the desert..they howl to each other..sometimes sounding like twenty or more..sometimes close sometimes farther away..always talking to each other..an interesting sound show..as long as it’s out there..
am walking in the dark from the duck/chicken area to the large area where the four horses are..the area with the five thirty foot tall eucalyptus trees with huge overhanging branches.. lots of room for them to move around..sleep separately if they like chose..i open the gate..walk thru to the horses silhouetted in the dark..the stars barely making the their outlines visible..in walking toward the three that i can see all of a sudden realize there is one i didn’t see..one right smack in front of me..one i can touch when putting my hand out in front..one i almost walked right into..it’s Sally..mustang Sally..the youngest and greenest..the upon arrival move away from you..don’t come near you horse..who everyday is experimenting with coming up and being touched..scratched..and am surprised..she blended in so well under the branches of the big trees in the dark a..surprised more so she didn’t move..so taken aback almost missed the opportunity to praise her..to scratch her..to use this special moment to encourage her trust in people..she’s saying “look i didn’t leave” and i’m saying “holy smokes i almost walked into the side of a horse in the dark” quickly getting my brain back and saying “good girl”..that’s a big step”.. making good use of the accidental encounter.. i realize..as she is learning so am i..learning lessons aren’t always planned.. it’s a good lesson for both..a good night..
Dec 29 – it’s been one month for the rescues
It has been one month for the four rescue horses..one month since getting out of their rag-tag run-down corral built of old hay pallets standing on end tied together with baling twine..with junk and black plastic hoses and who know what in their space..a month since the amazing rescue family went in and untangled one of the horses feet from the hoses..a month now with plenty of food and clean drinking water..a month with a variety of horse chicken turkey duck cat dog and donkey friends.. room to roam in various spaces..the park with the big shady mesquite trees and the desert broom now in bloom showering it’s dandelion like white tufts on all who come in contact with it and scrub grass that creeps everywhere..the arena..the hills..the backyard up by the house..the round pen with deep sand for rolling and running..
The horses explore more and more with the distance between them getting longer..they separate and come back together..separate and come back.. I can see the pressure release ..keep trying until you get it..it appears that’s how they work…they try and retreat..try and retreat less..try again..they don’t just go their separate ways, scare themselves and run hysterically back together..they don’t push beyond their comfort zone..they don’t have an agenda or a calendar or a watch..they are cautious..curious..it’s baby steps..easy to see how one could get in trouble pushing too hard in working with them..going too far..not reading the horse..not knowing where the “trouble line” is..where the “bolt back” to home or the herd or just back line is..not presenting something new in a way the horse understands..not having a process or method..not having a rhythm or rhyme or reason..introducing what the horse understands and not introducing what he doesn’t understand..
There are many good horse handlers..they make it look so easy..it’s interesting to watch their processes..watching to learn what to do with the rescues and how to help them the best with their mental baggage.. how to approach each animal ..each situation and help them learn or re-learn..getting rid of bad habits and creating good ones..working with young Sally and teaching from the beginning.. the horses are teaching and the handlers are teaching..teaching me there’s so much more to learn..