Originally Posted January 15, 2021
Hope has had a few weeks to settle in. The rain rot scabs on her topline have healed nicely, she’s had a full treatment of gut health by Basic Equine Health (basicequinehealth.com) as big changes are likely to cause stress on the digestive system leading to potential ulcers. She is on our nutrition program based on forage testing and seems to have put on a few pounds.
She is now in composite shoes [check out the video including interview with Marcus Wise Composite Shoe Interview] She looks good, she is settling into the herd well, and has done some very basic minimal groundwork here and there to get to know her.
If things go as we anticipate, Hope will become Iva’s horse so for now most of the process will be Iva learning to help this lovely mare open up and become more sensitive to her and trust her as her main human leader. I will do my best to guide the pair along and encourage them on their way.
The first ride was at a nearby recreation area with about a 10 minute drive door to door. Sometimes it’s easier not to have the barn and the other horses on the property as too strong a draw while getting to know a horse for the first time which is why I chose to drive off to a new place for their first ride. I also came along with Khaleesi who is the herd leader and should give Hope some confidence that she may lack as she and Iva are getting to know each other. The idea is to make the process as easy on both of them as possible to start.
Before loading on the trailer Iva practiced the flag leading exercise to connect Hope to her more than distractions from the farm/herd. She doesn’t completely self load for us yet. She will get partially onto the trailer and get stuck needing a little help, my preference is for the horse to self load and we will get there with her in time. For now she will follow a human onto the trailer nicely so we begin with what she does well.
At the trailhead Iva took Hope out around the pasture to lead with the flag while I tacked Khaleesi which gave her a chance to separate Hope from Khaleesi and once again connect the two of them before riding.
Hope was not evasive to mount but she needed support in standing still while Iva got on her. The two will work on that going forward.
On the ride Hope did a great job safely carrying Iva around the trails at walk and trot. She moves freely and has a nice little jog and a good solid walk. Iva noticed Hope was more connected to Khaleesi than to her as we might have expected. On day one we didn’t press the issue to far. Hope has spent 24/7 in the field getting to know and trust Khaleesi and just hours with Iva or myself one on one. The relationship is going to be stronger with the other mare for now, and in time Iva will continue to build connection with her so that she can put more trust in Iva and become her “herd of two” when out together.
For a first ride out it was very successful. Hope has a nice forward spirit and we are excited to see she might enjoy some distance riding as she develops!