It's day two. As I open the shed door, the sliding of the door immediately sets off a medley of flinching, jumping, and panicking from the little pony hidden in the corner of her stable. Every movement I make is echoed by a jump, or tensing up. My dad is with me, and he is not the biggest fan of horses. He worries that my passion will get me hurt.
He stands at the end of the shed, as I am concerned that this pony may have a fear more directed at males than females. I need to clean out her stable, but even opening her stable door reignites her passion for throwing herself into the corners. She adopts a stone-like stiffness, protecting herself from predators. Heading down as far into the corner as possible, I see that only her bum is facing outwards. I quietly fumble about, trying to just take out the pooh from her area. Every movement again is matched with flinching.
I don’t look her in the eye, but I look her over, trying to figure out something of her story. She has a section with no fur on her back legs, forming in a perfect line. Has she had a rug on? Were these caused by leg straps? I make a note to get wormer as a priority, refill her water as gently and quietly as I can, and I walk away. My dad is worried. He has witnessed her fear, and her lightning fast reactions, and is concerned that I will be injured in the process of caring for her.
He frets and tells me to send her back, but that is not an option. I’m in this for the long haul now. There is no going back. I set aside some buckets, brushes, and feed for her, give her fresh hay, and make myself busy in the feed area whilst she stands statue-like in the corner of her stall. I canfeel her watching me, listening intently to my movements. I wonder quietly back over to her door and take a seat. My intention today is not to touch her, nor enter her personal space. I am simply here to introduce myself. “Hello honey. Nice to meet you. I hope you find yourself very happy here”.
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