This week has been an interesting one for me.
To be able to handle 30 horses (6 herds) quite often on my own takes a huge level of trust on both sides. The trust from me comes in the hope that they will all respect my space, my energy and look after me. From them comes the trust that I will respect their space, always have their best interests at heart and that I will make it clear what is being asked of them.
I have horses arrive here that although they may look well on the outside they are shut down or completely shut off on the inside. Past experiences of being let down, not understood or even being abused because of their confusion has led these horses to make decisions that can be dangerous to us or them.
My answer has always been consistancy. That everyday, twice a day I will visit them and feed them, no matter where they are, what the weather is doing or how I am feeling. When vehicles have broken down I am there with wheelbarrows in the dark walking around the farm, when the weather is bad they know that the decisions I make for rugs, shelters or new fields will be best for them, when they are injured or poorly they come to me for help, when the sun is shining I am there giving them a brush or a scratch. This is a massive burden of responsibility to carry as anyone who owns any animal will know but also one that reaps amazing rewards.
We have a mare called Katie who is fairly self sufficient, she doesn’t like much contact with people or even other horses for that matter but one day last year she got choke. This usually distant mare came to me for help. She stood by me for support and reassurance and trusted that the medicine I gave her would help (even if it tasted very bad!). Thankfully the Cramp Bark tincture I had given her had worked by the time the vet arrived and the blockage had cleared from her throat. This event was a turning point for us and one I am thankful for (but also thankful that hopefully it will never happen again!).
This week I had to bring 3 very worried horses out of a situation that was becoming increasingly dangerous (they were trying to jump a gate and wall out of their field and onto a road to escape the Hunt). One of these horses has a troubled past of rearing and has a line of ex owners who were too scared to deal with her. Another (who is 17hh) has many issues and listening to humans isn’t one of them! I entered the field and all three stood at my side trusting that I would help. I caught each one in turn and led them altogether calmly and safely to an indoor area where I knew they would feel safe. I felt very proud at that moment, not just for the fact that I could help them but that they trusted that I could.
I guess for any partnership to work there has to be trust but there is something so special about the trust between a 17hh 500kg flight animal and a 5’3 ( not giving weight away 🙂 ) human that makes it all worth while.