T'is a Good Pony

POSTED: Fri Dec 30, 2016 8:42 pm

I wanted to share a video that shows the transformation and story of my pony, who is a good pony - but she wasn’t always such a good pony. I’ve had her two years now and it has been a rollercoaster between me and her.

I adopt wild, untouched horses rounded up by the US government and train and help them find new homes. Sometimes I do trainer challenges where we have a hundred days to transform a wild horse into a show horse. I’ve had my fair share of success and what I considered failures. Rosette was my first mustang I adopted who was not for the challenges, meaning I had no timeline or pressing matters. But with my past success I also felt like I could handle just about any horse. She turned out to be the most difficult horse I’d ever worked with. Compared to my six other wild horses I’ve gentled, who only took one to two days to teach to catch and halter at their free will, she took nearly four months to do that with. And even then she had to be corralled so tightly where she couldn’t move which went deeply against my training ideals.

She never was a mean horse, just very very scared and withdrawn. She had been recently rounded up and had some injuries, but most importantly I strongly felt she was depressed. She distrusted me so much that she wouldn’t even give me a chance. I’d try passive training methods involving me spending hours upon hours just sitting with her by her hay. Regardless of what I did, her over-reactiveness and sensitivity just kept putting a wedge between us and any progress. Weeks turned into months. The slightest pressure would cause her to over-react and hurt herself which discouraged me from even trying for fear of more harm coming to her.

I had already been having some confidence issues before her her, but she made me feel like I knew nothing. There were dark days that I loathed her and wished she had never came into my life. I told everyone she was the most foolish mistake adopting her. Eventually I felt too depressed, not just from her but a combination of factors, to continue with not just her but my whole horse career. I sold my herd and got a special home lined up for her.

Weeks before she would be transported, something unbelievable happened. A hoof infection left her very sick and need of immediate vet care. She was too sick to fuss to much but had to be sedated to be worked on. The most important thing though, is it was just like those cheesy horse movies that are always so fake, actually came true. Because she thought I saved her life, I had overnight earned her complete, unquestioning trust. Ten long months later, and my wild, spirited indian paint looking pony was actually mine.

Nevertheless, the road was still rocky. Wearing leg wraps and blankets were like life and death situations for her, even more than a year later. Although she trusted me, other things she did not. I never thought she would be capable of safely carrying a rider, let alone me ever riding her. I’d considered sanctuaries this summer where she could be free again because my biggest fear was me doing something that pushed her too far and she would end up hurting herself. Had anything happened to her I would have never forgiven myself. I questioned my decision to give up my wonder pony Leela, in order to focus solely on Rosette. However difficult, I made the right choice.

I learned that our souls mirrored each other. We were so similar that it was almost unnerving. With the help of friends, together we got better. We both learned that it was okay to be afraid and how to overcome our fears. This August she learned to carry a rider and I rode her for the first time and to our great surprise she took the whole riding thing in stride. She had gone from the most unwilling, stubborn, people disliking horse I’d met, to the most willing partner full of heart an equestrian could ever dream of.

In September I entered her into her first show. Since she had only just started riding I chose to show her inhand on the ground. But to challenge ourselves further, I opted out of the use of a halter, two of the classes we did at complete liberty. She made me so proud of her, regardless if we won or lost. To my great surprise, my once, untrainable filly won champion of our division. My little frightened, people disliking, uncatchable filly. Champion.

I had given up on her and myself so many times but for one reason or another continued anyway. The theme of this is to not give up on things that matter to you. A situation can look utterly hopeless but from the darkest times, something wonderful can come out of all that we’d been through. Had I stopped trying, I would have missed out on the opportunity to have the most wonderful horse anyone could ever hope for. And because I continued on, I've had the opportunity to continue my equestrian career and have had the most amazing job the last several months that I could have wanted which has opened many good things in the long term.
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Hannah
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POSTED: Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:41 pm

I watched the video and it's truly amazing!! The transformation is unbelievable. All the work that was put into her, and the patience... seriously amazing. What a wonderful job!!
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Alli
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POSTED: Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:49 pm

What an amazing story! It's amazing the work you've done on her. I know it's not quite the same but I adopted a very fearful dog in August and now he's finally beginning to show progress and accept other people into his life. Earning an animal's trust is such an amazing and rewarding feeling. :)
Maria Soledad

POSTED: Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:02 pm

that is just super! you should be proud of yourself for what you and she has accomplished! :)

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