“I just don’t see owning a horse as a master-servant relationship… well it kind of is a servant-master relationship, because you end up being the servant to him or her if you take care of them right,” – Rick Gore, Horse Trainer and Vlogger
There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for Tara. It’s easy to want to take care of her and treat her royally. She’s had the same awesome owner her entire life; she has some boundary issues but nothing she’s not willing to work through. Her ground manners are impeccable.
I had just put her back out into her pasture with her friends and started mucking stalls when another rider rushed over to me and said, “Please help, my horse has run into one of the stalls and I can’t get her out!”
I knew the stalls had feed in them for when the horses came in at suppertime, so this was serious. I followed her over to see her Serena happily munching on someone else’s dinner in someone else’s stall.
“She’s a rescue and very food aggressive,” the rider said. “I was just about to get her bridle on when she ran into that stall. Now that she has food she just tries to bite or kick me if I try to get her halter back on.”
I have been at the stables for three years and am still considered the newbie. However, I had arrived later than everyone else and was therefore the only one left besides this new-to-me rider, who had just started leasing Serena from one of our newer boarders. I wasn't about to get bitten or kicked so I went behind the stable and banged on the wall directly behind her.
“That worked! She ran out,” the rider called to me.
“Okay, I will rattle the food in her own bucket and you can wave your lead rope to direct her into her own stall. You should be able to get your saddle off while she’s eating her food. The horses are all coming in soon for the night anyway,” I said.
Thankfully that’s what happened. As we closed the gate to Serena’s stall and she munched happily on her grain, I could see the rider was shaken up.
“Rescues,” I sighed. “They take a lot of patience.”
The girl rolled her eyes and started walking away to put her tack back in the locker. It’s no fun to have gone through all the work of saddling up and not being able to ride.
“Don’t give up on her,” I called after her. “It gets better.”
I’ve seen so many rescues over the years gradually get over vices like food aggression, spooking at everything that moves, sulking in a corner wanting nothing to do with anyone; there are far too many horses battling so many issues as a result of ignorant horsemanship or mistreatment from downright despicable human beings. Those rescues never forget from what they have been rescued which results in bottomless love and devotion once they learn to leave the past in the past. With enough patience and persistence, the lucky rescuer will soon be wondering “Who rescued whom?”