Monday, January 10, 2011

She looked like an Arabian today!

Wow! Angel looked like an Arabian! Today I took Angel in the round pen for the first time. This is an "old-fashioned" round pen with solid wooden walls about ten feet high. The horse (and the human) cannot see out at all. Nick used to really freak out in this round pen. He was so anxious in it I did not work him in it very much.

Today I walked Angel down to the round pen (at the back of the property). This was her first walk outside her immediate pen. She was snorting and blowing like a fire-breathing dragon. She was very anxious and concerned about all the new sights around the ranch. I can understand that. If I had been abandoned and left to wander down a road with no human to guide or protect me, I might feel very anxious also, when going to a new place for the first time.

When we got inside the round pen, I had visions of Nick all over again. Angel sure looked like an Arabian today! Head up, stubby chewed-off tail up, beautiful floating trot, snorting and breathing fire. Her canter was not very smooth. I could not tell if this was due to anxiety, poor muscle tone or an injury. She did a lot of "bunny hopping" at the canter, where her hind feet would push off together. I've seen this before in horses that were injured or recovering from an injury, and Nick was a pro at the bunny hop when he was anxious. We stayed in the round pen less than ten minutes. I just wanted to see how she would do in there.

She has a lovely floating trot, very reminiscent of Nick. Her canter was a puzzle. I didn't want her to run around very much, I just wanted to see her move a little, so I let her go at her own pace. As long as she didn't run me over, she could do as she pleased. She was actually much less anxious in there today than Nick ever was. After she finished running a little bit, we worked on leading forwards and backwards and dropping her head.

She was so cute when I went to put her halter on in the round pen. She dropped her head down to her knees as if on cue, so I could put the halter on more easily. When it is time to remove the halter, she actually turns her head and leans the buckle toward me, as if to make it easier to take it off. It's like she is really trying to cooperate! She is becoming much more willing with her head. She was willing to drop it much farther and keep it down longer.
Angel's history is a real puzzle. When she arrived at the shelter and at my house, it was obvious she was afraid and had probably been handled roughly. She was very defensive and afraid of being hurt by a raised hand. Over the past two weeks, it has become apparent to me that someone in her past probably spent good time with her and had a good relationship with her. It makes me wonder if she didn't have a good start in life and have some good human relationship(s) along the way, but the last place she ended up was not good. It's a puzzle. But she is coming around so quickly, I think she must have good memories somewhere in her past.

When she was eating grain at dinner time, I continued to put pressure on her poll. She resisted, but not a lot. She moved her head away about six inches and did not move her feet at all, instead of running away and swinging her butt at me. After a few minutes she allowed me to "massage" her forehead and ears by reaching over the poll from behind her ears. I gave her a firm "massage" on her forehead and she actually seemed to enjoy it. (This is all without a halter - she is free to leave.) Progress!

I am glad that I am writing this blog about her, because it is helping me to keep track of her progress. If I had not written down what she was like at the beginning, I would not realize how far she had come. It is good to acknowledge and keep track of progress, whether our own or someone else's!

1 comment:

  1. kind of a Black Beauty story (is that the book I am thinking of?), where the horse starts out being loved then later on, is mistreated. Angel sounds so sweet.