This week’s discussion brought me to want to tell you about how I taught my horse When to be brave and fearless with the new water trough we just bought – he is terrified of it! Horses are peculiar animals. Even though When is over a thousand pounds, he is a flight animal. His first instinct is to flee when scared. I believe that because he was a Stallion for Seven years, he was taught to watch out for everything. This includes the new horse trough. For Seven years he looked after his herd. He noticed every little thing that could be of danger, and was on edge all the time, ensuring everyone was safe.
When came to me a year ago. He has changed my life and we have an incredible bond. We are super in tune and when I am riding him in the bush, I love that he is super sensitive to everything going on around us. There are times that he gets a bit spooked, but if I squeeze my legs slightly he knows to continue on. He trusts me fully and we are safe together. He is always watching out for me – caring for me; I’m part of his herd – and I am always ensuring he is safe too.
This week we got a new horse trough. On top of that, my husband was working in the corral with power tools, plywood and insulation to insulate this new trough to help keep it from freezing. It was really noisy! When was sure to let me know that there was a new huge metal scary thing in the paddock and he was worried it would get me, his herd, or him!
I had to teach him to be fearless but I find with horses this takes time. I never wanted him to not have access to “safe” water so I moved the old trough closer and closer to the scary trough daily and I fed all the horses grain and hay right beside this scary monster for a few days before he would relax beside it. Yesterday I was finally able to feed him grain out of a bucket floating on the horse trough water. He figured it was OK with me standing beside him with my hand in the water showing him it was not going to eat either of us. Today he drank out of the trough with me beside him.
This week, When conquered a fear that scared him. Because of this new and scary innovation in our lives, we have an even stronger bond. We have learned to really trust each other. We’re a team.