Well today, she impressed me, like, BIG TIME.
I fed the horses this morning to give Maddy a break, did stalls, and went home for a few hours to work on various projects. I had to go out and run some errands around noon time but on a whim, stopped in at the barn to give Lucy a kiss. It's nice to live so close to the barn that stopping in for no reason is convenient!
I drove down the driveway and saw Lucy standing in the far back of her paddock, facing away from the gate. Her chest was close to the fence and her blanket was pulled way far up over her butt. She didn't look alarmed or stressed and she often hangs out back there. I laughed at her to myself. Ha ha, what a silly horse with her blanket all messed up like that! I wondered how she managed it.
I parked the car and walked over to the fence, and called her to come over and get a treat. She didn't move a muscle; just stood there and looked at me pathetically. Usually she comes right over, often at a trot or canter, so I immediately was concerned. What was wrong? Was she hurt? I hurried over to check her out and found this:
|she had hooked the front buckle of her blanket on the fence and was stuck!|
|standing quietly, just waiting to be rescued.|
Some of my longtime readers may remember Younger Lucy, who regularly broke cross ties and halters. It got to the point where I bought a breakaway halter and also bought the replacement little leather tabs in bulk at the same time, because she busted it about once a week.
She used to never tie, would freak out at the slightest hint of pressure, had meltdowns if you so much as tugged on her at all, etc. If she was on the cross ties and backed up a step for whatever reason, she'd feel herself "stuck" and instead of just stepping forward to release the pressure, she'd blow backward and then go for a nice tour of the farm with both cross ties attached to her face. She was a mess. I have patiently worked with her on all of these issues over the years and now she is good enough to cross tie for however long you want to leave her there for (even alone), will tie to a trailer, will single tie in the barn, will kind of sort of ground tie, and is getting much better with pulling back against pressure to go forward.
Still, what happened today was a big ask as far as I'm concerned. I have no idea how long she was stuck like that for, but it doesn't really matter, because I am shocked it wasn't an immediate meltdown. If she had panicked, she could have destroyed the fence, destroyed the blanket, but most importantly, she could have gotten REALLY hurt.
I snapped a few photos really quickly, and then asked her to step forward just a hair to release the pressure on the fence. I unhooked the buckle and said "You're ok!" and she backed up just slightly, testing whether or not she was still stuck. Once she realised she was free she spun around and trotted off. Too cute.
She looked really sore in the hind end but I didn't worry too much. It's kind of hard to tell from the photo but she had the hind end surcingle straps wedged waaaay up her butt :( and I'm sure that was not comfortable at all!! I went later on to check on her and lunge her, and she was totally sound. She was also pretty wild so I did a bit of ground work with her, and then lunged her in the Vienna reins. She finished soft and obedient at the trot and canter, so that's great!