Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Aidol's Story....... The Yearling Year......Progress

Part 1

I can remember the tears in my eyes as the horse finally decided it was ok for Dave to touch him. I knew how fragile this reunion could be and I feared it would not last. I hoped for both their sakes I was wrong. The horse needed some time to remember days passed. The man needed to know the horse could be reached. Yet one wrong move could easily shatter the horse's trust.

The Arabian horse's initial recognition to Dave's voice had been clouded by fear and then shattered by Dave's anger at what had been done to "his" horse even though that anger wasn't manifested at the horse. The mere scent of it had been enough to crush all history the horse had with this man and the safety he represented. It would be naive to think this present bonding was enough to heal all the hurts of this horse.

I could only imagine what had happened to Aidol and his sidekick, Presley. The once bold colt had been reduced to a trembling insecure creature afraid of literally everything that moved. My mind could not, would not process the transition. It was impossible to deny the situation because it was standing right there in front of me. Yet my mind continually questioned its reality.

Every time Dave came to visit the horse, he had to go back through trying to win the horse over. Each time it got a little easier but it was weeks before the horse didn't startle at someone, anyone entering his stall. Even then we had to approach the stall slowly, open the door even more slowly and talk soothingly to the horse.

There was an interesting dynamic to this situation. You'd think if it was impossible to catch either of these colts in their stalls it would be even harder to catch them outside. Yet, that's not how it was.

Outside these two colts were more like themselves. They weren't 100% like they'd been but they didn't have that same desperate fear of being approached they had in their stalls. When it was time to catch them up after their turn out, both colts would come forward without much trouble. They'd flinch at being touched and any unexpected glitches in the haltering process showing they'd lost some of their confidence, but they didn't freak out at every little thing.

There was an exception to this. The first few times we put the colts out, they ran wildly for what seemed like forever. Then when it was time to come in, they did not want to be caught. Only if the feeding had been done could we catch them.

Such behavior is typical of a stalled horse who hasn't gotten regular turnout. When they do finally get out, they don't want to come in until something more important, like food, beckons them. I suspected this colts had been kept locked up even before I learned that had indeed been the case.

The fact the horses had more confidence outside suggested to me their outside experiences had not be marred like those in the stall. Whatever bad happened to them happened inside the confines of their stall walls.

The other colt, Presley, was not fortunate enough to have a "Dave" in his life. His owners didn't see him in the same light. He was merely livestock. He was the product of breeding a great mare that had ended in the death of that mare. He was not a superstar so he didn't have much value. This small colt destined to be a gelding was seen as a mistake.

The colt was lucky that the grooms were touched by his plight. None of us could bear to see his distrust of humans. Each did what she could to heal this colt's wounds as well. No one tried to rush him or force him into anything he couldn't handle. We spent as much time in our busy days as we could to get this young horse right with the world again.

It was months before these colts acted "normal" again. Even at that there were still times the colts were haunted by flashbacks of those dark days. We never knew when those frightened creatures would reappear............ well............. except for visits with the farrier.

To be continued................

The Farrier

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  1. A slow and steady proccess to heal the minds of distressed horses, lucky that Presly at least had the kindness of grooms. Such a sad situation

  2. Wow, that makes me so sad that someone would do that to a horse.

  3. "they didn't have that same desperate fear of being approached they had in their stalls. "

    there is also a reduced ability to "get away" in a confined space like a stall.

  4. I've seen this happen to often. People like grooms, trainers etc. were often afraid of a horse so they terrorized them. My daughter worked in Scotland cleaning stalls, there was this one poor horse with signs all over his stall saying be careful he's mean. They would go in and poke him with pitchforks to get him to the back of the stall when they mucked. J. didn't she just went in and treated him normally and he was absolutely fine. Another barn had a stallion they were all petrified of and same deal with the pitchforks. This was one of the sweetest horses ever to her, he used to fall asleep with his head on her shoulder. I think in most situations you get back what you put in.

    These colts were probably a little harder to handle and so they were mistreated unfairly. I'm glad Dave is making progress with Aidol and the grooms are helping Presly out as much as they can. It's a shame what people do to ruin the trust horses have.