Tuesday, March 29, 2011
My Pony Mugged Me
I believe I've had a breakthrough with my little pony. You know how I've been going out and giving her treats and spending time in her stall? Well, yesterday I went out to halter her and she stood right there. She didn't take one step away. I thought, WOW.
I led her to her new stall and dropped her lead to groom her. She started to nudge my coat and hand.
This pony has never initiated contact of any sort. Yet, she was mugging me. And I was glad.
Any other horse, I'd think mugging was a bad thing, but with little Jasmine, I welcomed it.
I had this epiphany about letting her chase me. As you all know, with horses, if they're scared of something, chasing it makes them feel more confident. If they're scared of the 4-wheeler, let them chase it. If they're scared of cows, let them chase them and so on. I thought, I wonder if this would work with me. I'll move away and let her chase me (she had never wanted to do this before) and see how it works.
I didn't half believe she'd do it, but she did. The more I moved away and avoided her, the more she wanted to get to me. Each time she did something brave, I'd turn and give her a treat. The behavior escalated...in a good way. She was finally curious about me. She was finally interested in me and willing to act on it.
I thought, I'll pet her now. She didn't move, but she still didn't enjoy being petted. I wondered, Will she ever enjoy being petted? Is it necessary for her to enjoy being petted? I answered myself, No, it's not necessary, and it may never happen. So what?
I never thought I'd be happy about being mugged by a horse, but that goes to show how every circumstance is different. This little pony has never done anything mean-spirited or aggressive. I was happy to see she finally had the confidence to break through the barrier.
I don't know where this will go next, but I do know we have made one giant leap toward something good.