We were both desperately looking for someone to understand us; today we learned we just needed each other. This might sound like the start of a rom-com, and maybe in some world, it is. It was assigned to me to work with this pony over the weekend while everyone was gone to the last Phil clinic this year. Now I easily could have skipped it, the rain and dreary weather was calling me to my bed and Netflix, but I honored my commitment, and we played. It started Friday; I was feeling on the inside how little boy blue externally expresses himself, chaotic. He bolts when he’s scared; he bolts when he’s insecure, he bolts. He’s been given the nickname zoom-zoom for a reason. The closest this pony let me typically interacts with him is him licking my hand; sometimes I can pet his shoulder, but only for a second. Friday amidst chaos I was invited to see if he could help me, we first started our hang out supervised but quickly became just him and I. Now I love to spend time with my horse, and doing nothing with her is an option, but blue isn’t one to just hang. He also isn’t one to be haltered. He bolts from a rope too, so we started there. I would hide carrots in my hand, then put the halter rope over them, he would have to at least get through the ropes to get the carrot, and it worked, we turned the rope into a game. Eventually, I would shove carrot into the knots of the halter and which resulted in him picking the halter up and throwing it around in attempts to get the carrot. That was about the end of Friday’s activities he was still too timid for the rope to be in my hand when I pet him, so we ended on a good carrot note.
But today was the breakthrough. I get to the barn to see him out front with some new friends that quickly became acquaintances. Once everyone was back in their proper herds, he hung in the arena solo to cool down from the excitement of the morning. Eventually, I headed out some grain in my pocket and a nursery rhyme in my head. I had started calling him little boy blue in my head, and it lead me to hickory dickory dock, and I pet Blue, it just kept singing my head, over and over, it was soothing me, and I think eventually helping him. After him letting me scratch I found myself looking for the halter, once I had it, I realized I started a plan, if it doesn’t work I’ll throw it out and end with more scratches. Behold he let me put the rope over his neck, mind you, he is going after some grain in my hand and mildly distracted. My first instinct was to stop, quit now, but the voice quit the nursery rhyme and told me to continue, so I did. Eventually, he was eating the grain with this nose in the hole of the halter, then I was tying the knot, and it was no big deal he had it on.
We did some releasing first; I took advantage of him letting not only touch him but continuously pet him. After some significant yawns, licks and chews we moved on, I was reaching his threshold. We went around and did some chores, some scratches and got some hay for the red horses to keep them inside and dry. I thought, “Wow, cool. I’ll put him out.” and after the halter was off, it didn’t feel like we were done. He was out looking for a friend, and I thought, well that was me just a few short days ago, so I went back out into the rain to see what would happen. I called, he showed up, and let me re-halter him without a struggle, my jaw dropped, tears started to well up.
Good work Blue, good work.