The weeks turned into months, and Ava continued to flourish. I spent every day sitting quietly in their now bigger paddock, allowing her the opportunity to approach and greet me if she desired. Honey watched me interact with Ava from a safe distance. Whilst protective of her foal towards the likes of Tom Thumb, (whom she had previously been very close to), Honey was happy to stay a safe distance when Ava was with me. She did not feel the need to move me away. I had the farrier visit to trim Honey’s feet as soon as I felt she could deal with the sedative. Her first experience with the farrier would be a calm one, and I simply couldn’t put it off any longer. Whilst Honey swayed and dozed, the farrier gently lifted each foot and trimmed them expertly.
Ava bounced back and forth inside the stable, unsure whether this intruder was after her or not. I stayed with them until the sedative wore off. I was pleased Honey had allowed the farrier close enough to get the job done. Even in her sedated state she was able to move and fight if she felt necessary, but she had chosen to stand still, making no fuss. The time soon came for them to return back to the summer grazing with the rest of the ponies. I opened the gate and let them sail through. Both eager to greet the other horses over the fence, squealing and nipping at each other, Tom Thumb being ever so gentle with Ava.
My work with them both continued, and Honey soon allowed me to put on a headcollar with very little fuss, although we still did this in a stable. Ava was happy to nip and taste headcollars out in the field, enjoying throwing them up in the air with her teeth. Many visitors came to see this gorgeous baby and all were under her spell in no time. Many an hour was spent sitting in the paddock with her and Honey, just enjoying watching them interact with the others. Honey became happier again and less protective. Our work could continue and she was a pleasure to have around. I found myself watching her from every part of the paddocks, just feeling honoured that she no longer felt the need to run as soon as she saw someone.
It had only been 6 months but we had made some real steps in the right direction, and I felt confident this progress would continue. Soon she would be weaned from Ava, and if she was ready she would be eligible to be rehomed. I was torn. I loved Honey so deeply but knew my work with her was almost done. I have rescued and rehabilitated for many years now and could only hold onto so many permanent residents. I wondered if when the time came I would find the strength to part with her…
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