Tuesday, February 2, 2010

More on Miranda

Miranda continues to do well. This morning when I got to the barn to feed, she was lying down in her stall, and allowed me to look at her without getting up immediately. My daughter also warned me that she loves to roll in her stall, and in fact, she usually rolls every morning after breakfast before I turn her out. It seems to me that she's more comfortable with me when I feed her - I'm able to bring hay into her stall and give her her grain with only minor ear-pinnings. When she pins, I just ask her to move away and she complies, and the ear pinning doesn't recur. I'm deliberately entering her stall to feed her grain even though there is a feed window, as it gives me another opportunity to interact with her. Outside, I follow the same practice when I give her hay - I ask her to stand back and not pin while I deliver her hay to the feeder. The only time I've gotten "the glare" - flat pinned ears and a stare that looks like she's considering biting - is when I got close to her while she was loose in the paddock. I said "absolutely not", loudly, and she backed off.

When I groomed her last night, she was perfectly fine - it seems once she has a halter on a lot of the reflexive defensiveness goes away. She does tend to be a bit "snatchy" with her right hind; although she hasn't offered to kick, I'm extra careful with that foot. I think she's a basically sweet horse under the behaviors, but her life has been very hard and she doesn't connect much, if at all, with people - she puts up with us but that's all, although I think she may start to interact more. She is very verbal, though - lots of whinnies and nickers - and she does "address" me - she looks right at me and isn't "absent" and completely shut down like she was when my daughter got her. She's also a lot more "alive" than when my daughter got her - she moves more and is more alert and responsive, and feels better as a result of the farrier/chiropractic/dental work that has been done. I've also discovered that she's playful and likes to investigate things - she moved her empty plastic water tank around and even tipped it over, and was very interested in the stream of water and the bubbles as I filled her tank. I'm thinking of getting her a Jolly Ball to see what she'd do with it. It'll be interesting to see if her personality continues to unfold.

11 comments:

  1. When I got my PJ years ago, he was very put off by people. (Didn't know about ulcers back then but I bet he had them.) He was super muscle sore. Once I had him acupunctured and he had chiropractic, his personality started to change. He was actually a super sweet horse that really enjoyed human companionship. Sounds as if Miranda may be a lot like him. Patience, and consistent handling will make a world of difference.

    Love the messing about with the water. A jolly ball might be a really good diversion.

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  2. Sounds like we have similar personality types in horses. Bonnie was a rescue. The good friend I bought her from (he matched me with) rescues and rehabs horses. When he is finished they are completely bomb proof anyone can do anything with. However, Bonnie is not a trusting horse and really gives off the impression that she could careless that you are around. It's very strange in that she seems to respect me as anything I ask she does so very willingly and without fear, but she just won't go farther than that, nor will she show me affection.

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  3. Miranda sounds like a lot of fun! Panama is starting to exhibit more playfulness lately -- I'll blog about it later this evening.

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  4. Kate...I really like the way you figure out what horses are all about and work with them in such positive ways. Miranda will grow a lot with you there to comfort and educate her.

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  5. I have found some similar halter behaviors with my mare. If I turn her out with a halter she is much more compliant, if she has her halter off she seems to figure she is free to do as she pleases, including not wanting to be caught.

    I look forward to hearing more about her personality, she sounds a lot like one of my girls.

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  6. Sounds like Miranda knows you have her # . Intersting mare . Hope you are able to post more photos

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  7. I wonder how she'd do with clicker training - it seems like she enjoys being engaged.

    Lily is snatchy with her right hind to, but has gotten much, much better.

    Is Miranda cinchy?

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  8. Obviously you aren't going to go to the trouble of integrating Miranda into group turnout since she is a short term visitor, but I am curious if you know what she is like with other horses? As in is she shut down with them as well or no? Just curious!

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  9. Kate, I really identify with this post. Our Sovey has some past memories that make him act similar to what you describe. I love that you said, "absolutely not". I have to learn to do that if needed. Don't you just adore watching Miranda's innocence and interest surface when she feels safe enough to investigate things (bubbles)? I can tell you are enjoying your time with her! I bet your daughter feels fortunate to have you as Miranda's caretaker!

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  10. so good to hear she's coming out her shell...

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  11. Very interesting how she is learning to trust and interact with you. You are doing good things for this mare.

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