Tuesday, August 12, 2008
In Pursuit of the Back Hooves
Is there anything as scary as being to the back side of your mustang and lifting up those back "weapons"? I remember when this whole thing started late last Spring and I wondered if there would ever be a day I'd feel comfortable picking those up with my hands. Would there be a day I could trust her enough to stand in that vulnerable position behind her and prop those feet in between my legs, as we expect our farriers to do?
Today was the first day I could answer that, "Yes." It wasn't today--today I only picked them up with my hands from the side and placed them back down, but soon--maybe 1 or 2 days. She made it very clear today that she's ready to give them to me.
Shiloh took pictures as I worked. The first picture is her front right hoof today--about a week since the trimming. The second and third pictures are her front left hoof--the more contracted of the two. The last picture is me picking up her back left hoof. At the end of the session I rubbed up and down her back legs and hooves and then praised her.
My work with her is so easy now. The mustang mentors used to tell me that when they finally trust you, they give it all--and it happens fast. This really has been the case with Beautiful and I. I hope this encourages any future Mustang gentler--keep it up--it will pay off--you'll get there if you dedicate yourself to it.
There were many times I wondered if my mustang was the exception to the rule. She seemed so small, but so determined and scared. Sometimes I thought she was just being mean--maybe she had a mean streak and I'd missed it!!
But it wasn't the case at all. Now that I reflect back, I think that when the training really got intense, she was being pushed faster than she felt comfortable and the barriers and defenses she put up against me as I went to each new thing seemed, sometimes, like aggression.
Whatever it was, it's all gone now. She is my partner and wants to do what's right by me. She knows I want to do what's right by her--and we're relaxing into this new relationship and friendship. I learn to trust her--stand behind her back hooves and pet them--she learns to trust me--allowing me to touch them and pick them up.
I would only write about this on a mustang blog--****so caution to those who don't like reading about bodily function--do not read further****--I've pointed out along the way, as has Arlene with her mustang from the same herd as Beautiful--that these mustangs were MESSY!! It was the first thing I noticed from her--and I KNOW it's because she had to have been in messy, cramped conditions at the pens.
Since she has been in her own stall with me hauling out her manure and bringing in fresh woodchips almost every day---she has TOTALLY got the picture about how it should be. Nowadays she backs right up to the exact same spot to do her business and it piles up in a nice high stack for me to scoop and remove. She actually backs right into this position and aims for the target. She is now, officially, the cleanest horse I've ever owned. (I won't take a picture of this unless you all request it. LOL.)
Here's to our mustangs--and our life with horses--the good, the bad, the ugly and the BEAUTIFUL!!