This week saw the Barefoot Trimmer come out. Her name is Michele, and she is awesome! Yay! The plan was, hopefully, to get everyone a trim. All 4 of the girls needed it. Plans, as always, go awry. Especially where my lovely Paint is concerned.
Astrid was first up, and she stood like a champ. She’s been on a regular trim schedule, so she knows what the tools mean, and how to stand nicely. The Kid haltered her, and held the lead rope for her trim. She’s a very good girl. 🙂
Sable came next. Sweet girl, she stood relaxed, for her trim. Since she came through the auction to the Rescue, we weren’t sure when her last trim was, or how she was for trimming. I know she’s good with having her feet handled, because The Kid picks up all four, and cleans them every day. Seeing her being trimmed only reinforced our belief that she was someone’s well-loved pocket pony, before going to auction. Her one blip was when The Kid needed to zip into the house for warmer gloves. Sable is The Kid’s horse, through and through, so she was a little antsy while she was gone, but as soon as she was back, she relaxed all over again. Makes me so happy that she’s with us. Hell, walk into that pasture with her, you can tell, *she’s* happy she is with us! ❤
And then came the Paints…
Ruby wasn’t allowing the halter, and when we attempted to use pellets to entice her, it became a game to her. Yeah, that didn’t work, and Ruby walked away the winner. So, the next few weeks mean working with her to get haltered. Gently, of course, because I refuse to force the girls into anything, however, they do have to accept haltering. Ruby doesn’t have abuse issues to overcome, she’s just one stubborn mare! I have to out-mare her, that’s all. In a way that makes her think it was her idea all along! LOL!
Cookie, however…I knew she was going to be our tough case. I warned Michele before she even came out. I even said, if you don’t want to take the girls on, I’m fine with that, but could you recommend someone who would? Michele is very well-respected in the area-and so, very busy as well. I can see why! She is amazing…the girls were so relaxed with her. Even the paints. She has a very calm, gentle Spirit. I have no doubt she is a force to be reckoned with when needed, but with the girls, she was so calm and relaxed. Her demeanor was like waves of comfort…She even put my Cookie at ease. Cookie, typically, doesn’t let new people come up to her. She let Michele come up, and pet her within the first few minutes of meeting. That was wonderful. And Cookie was so curious about her tools…she sniffed the hoof stand, she snuffled the nippers and rasp…she wanted to be close by, and she watched Sable and Astrid’s feet being done.
She just wasn’t having anything to do with a halter. Unlike Ruby, it wasn’t a game for her. Her body language said “Nope. Sorry Mom, can’t do it.” It was an hour or so of walking and talking. I tried to explain to Cookie that Michele wasn’t going to hurt her, that she was here to help her feet feel better. Once her feet feel better, her legs will too, and so will her hips, shoulders and back. I had her ear the whole time, but she just kept walking away. Never far, always within arms reach. When I did hang the halter on the fence, her whole body relaxed…you could see the tension ooze out of her. I went to her and started rubbing her withers, and I could feel the “I know you want me to do this, and I really want to do this for you, Mom, but I just can’t” vibe radiating off of her. So, I rubbed and petted and stroked her, assuring her that when she’s ready…it’s always going to be in her time. She’s lived so long with her feet in the condition they are in, that a little while longer to work on the trust and our bond, isn’t going to make that much of a difference.
If she starts showing more discomfort, we’ll co-ordinate with the vet, to come out and sedate her, and get her trimmed. Otherwise, I’ll work with her daily, to get the halter on. I think, once the halter goes on, we will be able to start working on those hooves. She is a perfect lady in halter…I know this because she was haltered when we met her. Calm, relaxed, we walked her on the lead rope around the arena, into the stall, out of the stall, took it off, put it back on.
She just has associations, in that big beautiful head, with halters, that she can’t get past right now. So, time, patience, love, and gentle encouragement is the path to take, to get her to see, halters aren’t scary, and Mom is not going to let anyone do bad things, or take her away. Her heart is willing, but her instincts keep over-riding it. I need to convince her instincts to trust me enough to let her heart follow where I’m asking her to go. Once we can do that, she and I will do great things together!