Having assessed Dottie's groundwork and observed her reactions to potentially frightening things, it was time to assess her attitude to ridden work. Previously when Vanessa rode her she shook her head around and plunged, and when away to be schooled, was very spooky in the school. Accordingly we kept everything very low key. We worked on breathing her into walk and breathing her in to halt and this seemed to suit her sensitive soul very well. The only 'no' that we came across was in a little but of nappiness and this was easily solved with movement and direction from the reins rather than greater pressure from the legs.
When you are contacted by the vet to update you on their recent visit to a horse (second time in two days) to try to sedate him for clipping and they tell you that not only did they not sedate but that the horse became violent at the prospect you know that you could be in trouble. Fortunately Rosy is a sensible owner and has given up on any idea of clipping him this year so that we can work on his underlying fear of people's intentions; no point whatsoever in saying MUST to a horse like this.
Instead Rosy gave me the chance to make friends with this lovely new horse, Zebdi who has been a showjumper. He is eight years old but according to his vetting has signs of wear and tear that suggest an older horse; at the same time educationally he is a five year or six year old. These are all things we need to take into account when working with him. We need to restore his faith in humans and help him to transition to a new style of home where he has greater freedom than he has ever known.
I spent my time touching him all over using a deep flat touch and reading his responses very carefully. I need him to know that humans can be useful and pleasant to be around. If we read his smaller responses then hopefully he won't feel the need to resort to the bigger ones.
"...thank you SO much for yesterday. It was very special to see Zebdi just gradually relishing the love of a good human. He is such a sweet boy and it's distressing to see him so frightened of people's motives and unable to find security and comfort from them. " RMcV