(taken after she had come home with me)
As Easy and I headed out of her stall the owner and BO gave us a wide berth...you could see and Easy and I could feel their nervousness and distrust. It was in the air and trying its best to infect the peaceful quiet confidence I was showing Easy. Thankfully they decided to stay in the barn to comfort the foal while we headed to the arena.
Just going from what I had observed and what I had been told I knew my rules needed to be established. I do this with every horse I meet no matter what. I have very simple and fair rules. You move when and where I ask when I ask and I will leave you alone. I'm only going to give enough pressure to get the desired result.
The easiest way to get through to this mare was to turn her loose. It was a very large arena but I didn't need her to feel threatened or feel like she couldn't get away. I sent her forward. She was stiff and twisted up with a swishy tail but still didn't want to look at me. Every time I pushed to change direction, speed up, or slow down I stopped the pressure immediately after she made an effort. Within 20 minutes she was hooked on me and jogging a 30m circle around me without a care in the world.
With a deep breath she stopped with me and turned to look at me. Her ears were forward, eyes relaxed, and she looked like the weight of the world had been lifted off of her shoulders. She quietly walked over to me and stopped at a respectful 3' and waited. I took a happy deep breath, walked over and gave her a "that'll do pig" rub. She dropped her head with the touch at her poll and sighed. I dropped my arm over her neck and we headed towards the barn.
Seeing the owner's reaction was priceless. This was my mare and everyone knew it. I wish I could tell you that I went home, got my trailer and loaded her up there but life isn't perfect. The owner wouldn't give her to me until the foal had been weaned and they had been through pony inspections (November).
It broke my heart to leave my mare in this situation.....with people who don't understand her, can't communicate with her, confuse her, and cut her feed back because her foal was getting too fat. I tried to educate them about the food and about handling her but cried on the drive home. I didn't want to have to wait 5 more months to get my mare.