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NATURAL HORSE BLOG

THERE IS ALWAYS A REASON FOR NEGATIVE BEHAVIOUR

Ally, a 7 year old 15.1 chestnut TB, was donated to us in the middle of February this year as a highly strung mess who had been involved with a tragic accident where her owners 23 year old sister was sadly killed. The evidence suggested that Ally had over-reacted to the approach of a milk tanker while being ridden along the road , and that she had reared up and gone over sideways, trapping the rider in the process.

Sadly nobody knew why she had done this and this terrible accident understandably took it's toll on the owners whole family. And although Ally was deeply loved by her owner, it was felt that too many painful memories would forever be associated with her presence, so we offered to take her on, so the family kindly donated her to Natural Horse NZ rather than sending her to the dogs.

Ally was previously known to be a bad floater and had several behavioural issues including being very hot at times and had previously been associated with being girthy as well as to have a reputation for being over excitable when be around other horses and especially dogs.

It was through extensive experience with our previous rescue horses that showed me from the first moment I saw Ally that she was suffering from toxicosis-(a toxic condition created by eating toxins from grass, hay, chaffs, and grain products-see this linl for full info on this subject:
 http://www.naturalhorsemanship.co.nz/TOXINS---GRASS-AFFECTED-HORSES.html

Ally's symptoms were typical of this condition, though some horses don't have all the following: hooded eyes, an over-reactive response to even the smallest stimulus, retaining fluid in the rump, slight swelling above the coronet area in the legs, tender footedness and a general fizzyness.

We immediately started her on a daily toxin binder which we added to her food and watch the symptoms gradually reduce. She went out on our track to live with the rest of our herd, which reduced her green grass intake without restricting movement, so she was with 8 horses from all walks of life, various breeds and sizes. 

Ally immediately took a shine to Boy, another previous Toxic rescue horse-shown here .....and they became inseparable which was so lovely to watch these 2 lost souls come together. 

Now as the effects of even the best toxin binder takes 2 weeks to work, we didn't do anything with Ally at first due to this and just let her settle in and be a horse.

It quickly became apparent that Ally was a real sweetie who loved cuddles and affection, she followed my 8 year old daughter around like a puppy and they quickly became friends.

After around the 3rd week Ally showed a huge improvement and had calmed right down- enough for us to start our rescue horse rehabilitation program with her. The water she was retaining on her rump and legs was gone, her eyes were much brighter and she was ready to interact with us.

Like we do with all our horses, we started off by just hanging out with them and spending undemanding time asking for nothing. We then progressed to getting her used to being around ropes and halters, gentle throwing the 12ft leadrope over her back and draping it around her legs,head, bum, shoulders etc...to desensitise her to these objects-we then we used a carrot stick and string to stroke her all over ......and although she was initially sceptical of these tools, she soon realised they weren't weapons and accepted them willingly :) 

It wasn't long before Ally started really enjoying our training sessions and soon she had progressed to offering us things including climbing up on our pedestal and weaving in and out of barrels etc.... being happy to stand on the tarp which she previously hated at first. Now you might ask why would playing like this help her......but please understand that as with ALL learners, whether human, canine, equine and all species alike....THEE most important factor to that learning is .......wait for it.......

CONFIDENCE!

And by rewarding all these fun and playful things that we were doing with Ally, this gave Ally the confidence to try more and harder for us, as well as a trust was now being established.....and she absolutely loved all of it. 

We always made sure she was with another horse when we engaged in training as to give her even more confidence as well as we rewarded her frequently for the slightest try by relaxing and giving her comfort and rest, something that most people don't seem to understand or and use even less around horses. 

Now I won't bore you with all the other miniscule details of Ally's retraining but her owner came by to see her a few weeks ago and said she could not believe it was the same horse-she's so calm was her words and she is.

Today (27th May 2012) Ally went to her new home with Kirsten......and we all cried to say goodbye to this fabulous horse who we witnessed going from the previous hot and difficult horse who arrived to us just a couple of months ago -to today , when she just walked onto the float straight away, calmly and willingly like any seasoned professional-she was very chilled throughout the trip and only displayed minor elevation in behaviour at the other end, which is to be expected by any horse let alone a previous toxic tb with issues. I'm pleased to report that Ally is settling in well to her new environment with Kirsten and her 2 new paddock mates Bella and Lee,lee.

I will be continuing to offer support to Ally's new owner in the form of free training and lessons as it's what we have found to work best for new owners and horses alike. 

Thankyou so much Ally for all you have taught me-it's been a privilege to get to know the real you. ....and thanks to Kirsten for taking on this beautiful horse . Tracy from Natural Horse