Saturday, 9 February 2013

I have some work to do

My farrier is absolutely wonderful at his job. He's been doing my horses since I was a kid and he was fresh out of farrier school. I'm embarrassed to admit how long that's been - probably pushing 20 years now. He's always travelling to learn and upgrade his skills and I think he'd be in high demand in any part of the country. We're very lucky to have him living in our little isolated town. I know the past couple of years in Alberta I never did find anyone as capable that actually had time for a new client like me! In short, this is a guy that I appreciate and want to treat really, really well.

Can we please give Ginger the memo?

I'm sort of puzzled right now over just what I can do about her random fear of certain people. Yesterday's adventure: since I can't drive right now, awesome farrier called me yesterday morning to let me know he had an opening and he could come pick me up and drive me to and from the barn if I wanted. His thinking was to save G from having to drive me to our originally scheduled appointment today. (See? This is a seriously nice guy too)  Luckily, G was just coming back home and was able to drive me. I feel a little like a kid again, but I have to appreciate how awesome everyone has been. We got to the barn and the horses were still eating breakfast. Ginny had been fed down towards the bottom of the paddock. Since I had left in a hurry, I was wearing my 'nice' cowgirl boots. The barn owner offered to hike through the mud and go get her for me. Awesome! Or so I thought. Ginny took one look at barn owner and headed for the hills. Embarrassing. After a short while, the barn owner was able to walk up next to her, but as she went to put the halter on, she bolted again - this time towards the gate (and me). I caught her with no issues, but was a little embarrassed - I haven't had problems catching her since the first week I owned her. I wondered if it's something about the barn owner, since G can catch her without issue too. She seemed genuinely scared of her for some reason, since a little while later we were talking and she made a sort of gesture with her arm and Ginger reacted and tried to bolt off.

Next up, the farrier. She was awful for him. Absolutely terrified. I apologised again and again, as he tried to give me tips to help get her better for next time. The problem is, I've done all these things time and time again - G always holds her for me while I put her boots on and hose her feet - so it's not an issue with having two people around. I can bang on her feet with the rasp and she basically sleeps. I taught G how to pick feet using her as the guinea pig. She was fine then. I've been out and about day in and day out at busy places - she's met tons of 'strangers' out riding and is much more tolerant than she used to be. I realize from my farrier's point of view he's seeing what appears to be a half wild, untrained horse, so I can see where he's be a little frustrated with the apparent lack of training. After all, it's his safety at sake :(

As near as I can figure, she just doesn't like strange people and some people she just doesn't like at all. Given the opportunity, she'll warm up to most in just a few minutes. Given a good amount of time with no bad experiences, she'll be your best friend - in my case I'm even allowed to make 'mistakes' and be forgiven. I think most people don't ever have an opportunity to earn enough of her trust to get a second chance when she inevitably associates some bad experience with them.. I have to wonder if what's happening is she met the farrier and was suspicious of him. Then she got scared while he did her feet. Then he came back and she remembered. And got herself all worked up again and had another not so great experience. She wasn't bad with the farrier in Alberta so it's not just a farrier in general sort of thing.

As far as the barn owner, she can be a little nervous around horses that aren't her own, so I expect that's what Ginger reads from her. After all, the lady feeds her twice a day so she should like her.

Part of me thinks I should just accept her quirks. The other part of me lays awake at night worrying that if she ever got loose, or ever needed urgent veterinary attention, or intervention of any sort from someone she's not familiar with, things might get really complicated in a hurry.

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