It is a week and a half since we bought Stella and we have been going up to the farm where she is currently staying every day. We are getting her used to being taking down to the stable and groomed. The point of this is really for us to get used to handling her as well as for her to begin to trust us and people in general.
At the beginning it was a struggle to get her to come with us but Chris kept coaxing her and trying to gently give her the message that he was the boss and that she had to come. Today was the first time that she actually looked when we came and gave Chris a cursory sniff when approached. She also came out of the field with very little instruction and so we felt that we had passed a minor milestone there.
We have to walk her about half a mile to the stable so it gives us a chance to get used to leading her in hand, with a rope attached to her head collar. As Chris has found out, if she really doesn't want to come there is no way that he is going to win out in a tug of war, so it's all about psychology. She is gradually learning that we are not going to bring her anywhere unpleasant and so is happy enough to come with us.
You can see that Stella has filled out a lot since the first photo of her that I took in the same position. At the moment her coat is nice and shiney and her ribs are only slightly visible. She is also a lot more relaxed in general. She is still apprehensive to a degree but people who saw her when she first came to the farm say that there is a massive improvement. I think she still keeps expecting something unpleasant to happen to her when people are around but she will gradually get used to the fact that we will only do things which will make her comfortable and happy.
When we bring her down we groom her for about 20 minutes. She was a bit agitated about this the first time we did it and so I sang that lullaby again while Chris gently brushed off the dirt. This did the trick and the combination sent her to sleep. Here she is dropping off.
So far it has been a wonderful experience to have bought Stella. In her own way she is teaching us as much as we are teaching her. I am getting used to being around her and am also becoming more relaxed as she settles down. We are still trying to make arrangements about where to keep her but we are fairly confident that we will find somewhere close by so that we can visit her every day.
We have received huge support for our project and again thanks to every one who has been really generous. We have just gotten a donation of some brushes and lead rope so Stella has her very own equipment now. If anyone else has any tack that they no longer need then please let us know as we will have to build up quite a lot of stuff soon.
In time we are hoping to get Stella into a little bit of training so that she can get some exercise. We feel that she is a very energetic horse and so she needs a pastime before she starts to get bored of her new idyllic life. We will keep you informed on those activities.
Thanks again, Maria and Chris