Monday, August 16, 2010

Welcome Cassandra

Cassandra was delivered about a month ago.  She's a foster for Bluebonnet Equine Humane SocietyShe's an approximately eight year old, Thoroughbred mare.  She came to the rescue from a bad neglect case over a year ago.  There were 58 horses, and she was out with a bunch of mares on pasture with no food.  She was very thin, and she was very pushy.  When it came time to load her, she did not want to go in the trailer and kept rearing.  Finally, volunteers used panels to create a make-shift squeeze shoot and get her in.  

A few weeks later, it was time for her to move to her first foster home, but she refused to get in the trailer.  She would rear and flip up whenever anyone tried, and it took hours to get her loaded.  At her foster home, she was no better.  Anytime she didn't want to do anything, she went up in the air.  She didn't like going forward, getting vaccinations, leaving her friends, leading, standing tied, or just about anything else anyone asked her to do.

Once she had gained weight and was healthy, she could really throw her weight around and it was time for her to go to a trainer.  She spent three months with him, and the majority of the time was spent working on her ground manners.

After training, she had a few months with a foster home and then moved here.  She needed consistent handling and some riding time, and so that's what I was prepared to give her.  I don't like rearing horses, though.  It is the one thing that really scares me and I wasn't sure how I would like having Cassandra around.

After meeting Cassie, though, I've really come to like her.  She hasn't reared once while here, and I think the trainer who spent three months with her did a fantastic job.  She now leads, loads and stands tied.  She knows how to longe and carry a saddle and bridle.  She'll work on a longe line in side reins.  

She was only ridden a handful of times, so she's very green.  She wants to please, though, and tries to figure out what you want.  The first time I rode her, she did not steer well at all nor stop well, but she listened to me and tried to give me what she thought I wanted, and that was a huge step in the right direction.

I think Cassie's earlier behavior issues mainly stem from a lack of trust in people.  It was clear she hadn't been handled much at all, and I would bet that the handling she got wasn't consistent.  And she probably got mixed cues from her handler, which left her confused.  She likely figured out that she could rear and be left alone.

Now she's learned some important lessons.  She's learned to move into pressure rather than rear.  That makes leading, loading and tying so much easier.  Sometimes she's a little balky when leading, and she can crowd you.  However, we're working on those issues.

She's also learned that we humans aren't going to put her in a bad place.  When we ask her to do something, we give good direction and praise her for her effort.  This mare likes people and likes to please, and she respond well to praise. 

She's going to make someone a nice horse. She's a really strong, well-built mare - she could be an excellent hunter, jumper, eventer or fox-hunter.  I'm going to keep working with her and posting her updates.