I can still remember the first time I saw April Moon as she chased after another horse, mercilessly kicking out at them again and again as they tried to escape from her. Even though most people didn't want to be near her because of her unpredictable and often violent nature, there was something about her that I was drawn to.
I am often drawn to sensitive horses, those that have been classed as 'problem horses' by others. April Moon was no exception and I wanted to find out who she was underneath the anger and aggression.
April Moon joined the herd almost a year ago and was very aggressive in her manner with both people and horses. She was incredibly over reactive and her default was attack first and ask questions later.
It was only after a few weeks of being with us that we started seeing the fear and vulnerability behind her aggressive mask and we started to understand that for her attack was the best form of defense rather than it being her intention to hurt anyone. She only wanted to make sure she survived.
We knew where she had come from there had sometimes been a lack of food, instability as a group of horses with no clear leader, as well as no clear leadership or stability from the people in her life. This combination had meant that she literally felt that she needed to fight for her life and survival. April also struggled to trust, neither people or horses had ever been a source of comfort for her.
Luckily she was able to be slowly introduced to Ebony and Brron who are established as a leading pair and who took April Moon under their wing. They showed her right from wrong and that they as mature and confident horses were someone she could trust in. It was the other horses that showed April Moon that she could trust me.
It took an number of months before we managed most of her food aggression issues. There was a point where she would literally kill for a carrot and we had to stop feeding hard feed or anything like carrots for a while to ease some of her tension related to food.
Part Two explores where April is now and how we are moving onto training her and finding out what she enjoys doing
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