' No I am staying with my friend'
We suggested that we tried to catch him in the field instead of his owner, this was acknowledged and off we went. It took about 15 minutes to catch him, using but of course 50/50 communication, where as before his owner could spend anything from 45 minutes to an hour trying to catch him and on the odd occasion giving up altogether!
His owner had worked on his front hooves and had managed to encourage him to lift them but his hind legs were a different kettle of fish - he would not stand at all and offered to cow kick in the process.
On this same session we tried to guide this horse to stand alongside his owner, but he refused, he would rather move away from him. However, after about 25 minutes of working with him, in his language, we succeeded in making him realise that, actually, it was okay to stand next to his owner, however the owner was anxious about mounting him, because of what had continually been happening on the days prior to our requested visit.
This horses option was for us to continue visiting him for another few sessions or for him to come to us for about a fortnight. His owner chose the latter. So, upon arranging to bring him to our field we suggested that we loaded him just in case he was or had ever been loaded in a 'dictatorial fashion' by someone else, which could potentially have triggered alarm bells in him and as a result of these it could have undone some of the work we had carried out with him along with the trust he had gained in us and the newly found trust that he had found in his owner.
The day after our 3rd visit we went to pick him up, played with him for a bit, and much to the surprise of his owner he did exactly what was asked of him which included loading in to the trailer, although this had to be done thoughtfully and in a comforting and reassuring way (to this horse's way of thinking and not as the human dictated.)
He coped with this slow but comforting work beautifully, almost as if it was a relief for him not to be potentially pulled, hauled or hurdled!
Driving carefully and thoughtfully, with gentle gear changes and braking and the occasional "you're okay Sammy being shouted out the window by a voice he had learnt to trust, he coped with the journey very well.
Arriving on site, he heard other horses whinnying and naturally he answered back. With horsey vocals coming from all sides the Trailer was parked in a suitable position for him to be taken off in a slow and considerate manner, although perhaps not fast enough for him, but again, with having someone he trusted who wasn't showing any signs of being flustered, at his side, he listened beautifully. As we released him in to his luscious new abode he only wanted to know who and where these equine vocal conversations were coming from, so up went his tail and he was off, looking back every so often as if to say, "is it okay for me to do this and I'm sure I smell a lady!".
The different smells, the new horiszons and the body language of the others kept him totally occupied, so we watched him and the other horses for about an hour until they all seemed settled.
We left him to settle for a few hours, although going up to check him from behind a tree every so often and then decided to give him the rest of the evening off until about 9pm.
It's always fascinating to watch how other horses and animals react to newbies on the block.
We went up to his field to see how he would react when we went up to him but no, he was having nothing to do with us at all, at least until he saw the other horses getting their usual attention and it was at this point his nose got the better of him. We encouraged the other horses closer (from his side of the field) and as the old saying goes 'curiosity killed the cat' in other words he decided to investigate.
At this point it was over to Judi. She sat down in the field totally still with the other horses at the other side but directly in front of her and sure enough he came up to about 6 feet away and with the others grazing he grazed as well. Judi reversed up slowly whilst he was grazing and managed to gently and slowly stretch out an arm to under his chest, she scratched it at which point he twisted his head down and his muzzle started to say ' mmm that's quite nice actually' she stopped short and his whole head started to turn towards her as if to say, more please. It was at this stage that Sammy's new 'positive chapter in his book of life started.
We all tend to interact with the horses here, on their level and often in their time, we don't just go in to the field to tack them up to take them out and then put them back in the field again, we spend some of their time doing their things at the same time as they do them, this in return makes them want to do the things we are doing in our time and at our pace.
By the end of the morning Sammy realised that actually it was okay to have a person come up and walk away and that he wasn't going to be grabbed to get his halter on. He was rewarded for every positive step he took and even started to ask for more. But this reward wasn't food, or a carrot, or indeed a polo it was 100% horse language, (in this case Sammy Language ) no two horses are the same you see!
Giving him half an hour on the ground regularly throughout his first day he seemed to realise that going up to a human on his own accord got him results, results that would make him stay with you and not just, as often many people do it, stay with you till your bag of carrots or the treats in your pockets are finished. With this/his natural technique used he was encouraged to allow someone to stand along side him, albeit on the non traditional side for mounting, but this was a huge step, because he would not entertain this before especially without a halter and lead rope on.
As you can see from this photo, Sammy's ears are forward alert but the most important thing is that his front legs are in line equally with the human standing next to him and there's none of this 'I'm off', or "I'm going to block you so that I can get what is in your pocket" it's 50/50 communication all round, the way it should be with all animals.
For him to get to where he got to within the first 24 hours showed us that he was keen, but more importantly happy, to ask or answer the questions or requests asked of him if asked in 'his language'.
Using this same language, his particular language, we totally succeeded within 8 days to ask Sammy to stand still to be mounted, to not buck and rear as soon as his rider mounted, to lift all four legs, to reverse gently when asked and to jump, to stand beautifully for a 'gentle blacksmith'. It took a further 6 days to encourage his rider to listen to Sammy's needs and to ride considerately, to listen and watch how to ask Sammy to do something and to reward him in a way that Sammy could accept. This also instilled confidence in each other, a trust that is unique and extremely special but absolutely imperative between any animal and human if both are to live happily in sharing their life and thoughts together.
There is nothing more pleasing for us than to see that true bond between an animal and human, no matter the specie and to know that, in this case this young horse had realised that, actually, being connected to humans does not mean that either bribery and corruption can be played with or indeed that fear need to come in to the equation. But instead life can be fun, positive fun, equal fun for both rider, owner and horse.
As Sammy's owner said ' I can not believe the transformation in my horse' he arrived like a bucking bronco and came home like a lamb all within two weeks, thank you so much".
With having achieved what was asked of us, with the added bonus of him learning how to jump, it was time for him to go back home. So this meant another trip in a trailer.
It's always sad to see one of our Clients going back home, not just for us but for the horses they meet while they are here.We specified that in view of the work we had carried out here as well as the positive response we got from him that, in this instance we would transport him ourselves so that we would know that his loading, his journey and return home would go smoothly and this it did.
Well done to both Sammy and his owner. We wish you both a happy life together.
If you are having trouble getting your horse or animal to connect with you, please do contact us or perhaps you would like to like and join us on facebook although this Media covers the surface of what we do. This Blog and www.naturesphysician.com (which is presently having a facelift) are more informative.
His owner phoned a couple of days ago and said ' I would not have believed what has been achieved here had I not seen it with my own eyes. I rode him out today for about 2 hours, without a single problem. Thank you so, so much"
Sammy you are on our file for ever now, well done you did extremely well.