My Piece Of Work

I wouldn’t say that I was once against the ‘natural approach’ but it was simply never something that entered my field of vision. I owned a 3year old Clydesdale cross who although young, was so easy going I often wondered if he’d just pop me off his back to kick up his hooves and relax on his hocks when hacking. Even when Danny, Steve and Rambo came along, although sometimes difficult, they never gave me cause to search for different training and handling methods. Enter Hattie, stage left in a fit of rage, fear and I’m sure an ounce of diva.

Hattie changed everything. She was defensive and at the time, I thought aggressive. After trying my best to ‘handle’ her as I did the others, I reached out to someone that I essentially had no faith in – a last chance coral situation made me give a natural approach trainer the benefit of the doubt. If they couldn’t help me, no one could and I’d be screwed.

Along came Jemma Myers who, within fifteen minutes of meeting Hattie showed me that actually this filly wasn’t aggressive, nor was she angry. She was however, very defensive, very switched on and constantly thinking of what was about to come at her. No frightening event had taken place, this was just her personality and something I needed to deal with. After throwing herself on the floor, rearing more times than I could count and ultimately doing her hardest to run away from this new person who wanted to get to know her, I realised this too. Not once did this huge 15hh yearling attempt to hurt her, nor did she try to throw her around like a ragdoll, something I’d envisioned after her most scatty moments. Instead she was frightened and simply needed to understand that no one wanted to hurt her. She needed to learn that actually we were worthy leaders and people she could trust with her safety and wellbeing.

We’ve had Hattie coming up to one year now, since she was a weanling and some days, she feels no better than six months ago. She’s had the farrier before yet this week, she decided that wasn’t something she could handle. She flipped, literally up and over and then spent the next twenty minutes charging around the field complete with her ‘be nice’ head collar and now crumpled lead rope. Just 20 seconds later, after that strange man with a rasp had left, she was back to wanting cuddles and reassurance, letting me pick her front feet up and of course remove the head collar and lead rope. What the future holds for this young girl, I’m not sure. Some days I imagine Team Chase fun, others I just hope for her contentment having her hooves trimmed and living in the field. Whatever happens however, I know she’s going to be hard work BUT I also know that she won’t be going anywhere. She’s a piece of work but she’s my piece of work (and of course my husbands) so all I can do is take each day as it comes. Today, she doesn’t even want to be touched, let alone have her feet picked up. That means today I give up…pass the god damn chocolate, wine and remind me why I have horses???

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