Saturday, February 6, 2010
A Set Back
It's clear that the incident in the stall with our PM feeding lady has really set Miranda back. She's reverted to the angry, aggressive horse of many months ago who only wants people to leave her alone, and thinks of all people as the enemy. She no longer nickers to me, and in fact, looks right through me. She still halters and leads well, which is a blessing. On the cross ties, when I remove her blanket and groom her and pick her feet, she is displaying many aggressive behaviors - angry glares, head shaking, bared teeth and swinging her butt as if she wants to kick. It's clear that her trust, which was slowly rebuilding under my daughter's consistent care, has been seriously damaged. But I can't undo what has happened and can only work with what we have now. I'm hoping that being in an outside paddock will help her calm down some. I'm going to grit my teeth and make sure I lead her in once a day to groom and pick feet, even though I have to do it ever so carefully to avoid reinforcing any negative behaviors she has, or getting hurt myself. I'm also going to be sure that I'm the person who feeds her consistently every morning and evening, although evening feeding isn't my job - I think this consistency can help to build trust. It's clear that Miranda has been overwhelmed by the new situation and people, the fact that my daughter, whom she had grown to trust, has abruptly disappeared from her life, and what has happened. It's pretty discouraging, and I'm just hoping to recover some ground before my daughter gets back at the end of the month. She left me a horse who was recovering and making good progress, and now she's back to being a basket case. I keep telling myself to breathe and take one step at a time, but it's hard - sorry for the whining!