In Little Bits


Morgan calls her Sausage. Can you see why?

Today, Morgan moved Zip over to the pasture with Jack and Poky.

Leaving Shortcake with only one friend.


After Zip was moved, I took my daily stroll into the back barnyard. Usually, this means Zip heading for me like a heat-seeking missile, Shortcake cautiously trailing behind. I unload a few peppermint treats from my pockets and wait for Shortcake to get jealous and decide that Zip can’t have them all.

I don’t intend to rely on treats forever. This is yet a warming-up period. I tried, early on, the method of “walking down” Shortcake. This was exhausting and seemed to increase Shortcake’s leery perspective. I decided to go back to square one, warm her up, get where I can get close to her, build a relationship with her that’s founded on trust. For now, it involves treats. Eventually, I’m hoping that I can walk up to her without her running away, brush her, pay attention to her, no treats. From there, we’ll work on introducing a halter and some riding again. I’ll see how it goes, change my plan as she shows me. I’m going to take my time, get there in little bits. She’s totally worth it. I love riding her.

Today, there was no Zip to hide behind and trail, and Shortcake was more leery than ever. I walked about as close as I can walk without her bolting, maybe 10 feet away. I turned my back, stretched out my hand with a peppermint treat, and waited. For a really long time, but it was probably only 5 minutes. I felt her big horsey lips on my fingers. I looked back at her. She retreated, munching. I told her, “Bye!” and walked away.

See ya tomorrow, sweet sugary Shortcake! YOU FREAK.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on September 30, 2012  

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9 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 9-30

    You could also try taking a chair out there and sitting and reading a book for a while, or crocheting or whatever. Possibly with a flake of hay or a bucket with a bit of grain in it near you. My horse used to be very jealous of any book I was reading. :help:

  2. 9-30

    I’ve been planning to do that! Haven’t had a good day when I had time for that yet, but I will.

  3. 9-30

    Good luck with your Shortcake training! Any chance of Mike the trainer helping with her? He did such a good job with Zip.

  4. 9-30

    Is Shortcake pregnant? She sure is a little on the round side, but still adorable!

  5. 9-30

    Our mammoth donkey, Jack was never afraid of us getting near him or touching him but he refused a halter. He wanted nothing to do with anything that might touch his head. We hired a “trainer” who decided he was to stay in the round pen until he accepted a halter, up to 30 days! She convinced my husband that it was the appropriate thing to do. He was so stressed in the pen without Diana, the mini donkey love of his life. She was stressed outside. I was more stressed than the two of them combined. I got in the round pen with Jack and stayed there for hours until he allowed me to put the halter on him. I just stood with it in my hand until he would approach. Then I lightly touched him with it. After several hours I got that halter on him and we walked the two acres back toward the house, with tears streaming down my face. I kept stopping and hugging Jack and telling him how proud I was of him. Two years later I can halter him without a problem and my husband can’t. This summer I worked with Jack for 2 weeks before he would let me put a fly mask on him. Now he and Diana fight to be first to get their masks on. Baby steps work best with our boy who seems to have had some bad treatment during one of his many placements. Before you know it, your girl will want to be right by your side, as it should be.

  6. 10-1

    Turtle Mom, no, she is not pregnant. She was pregnant when the rescue took her in and had a foal several months ago and might still be carrying some baby weight! She has not been exposed to a stallion since the rescue took her.

  7. 10-1

    Thanks for the Monday morning laugh, but now I’m hungry for sausage!

  8. 10-1

    That’s what I was going to suggest as well. I take a bucket and sit on it and read until they come to me…..and then I give some them some attention but, go back to reading. I try to spend severl hours just being in the same place as them…

    She sure is a pretty little mare…


  9. 10-2

    I’m sure you’ve already had loads of advice but here’s my two cents. I had a little welsh pony who wanted nothing to do with people. She wanted to wear her halter even less. We ended up playing a little game called “You’re not getting your dinner until you wear the danged halter.” I set up a temporary pen (hot tape, capped t-posts) inside of my regular pasture about the size of a round pen. Because it was inside her regular pasture, she wasn’t freaked out over going somewhere unfamiliar and her friends were right there with her. Her buddy horse would graze along their fence line and nobody got too upset. When it was dinner time I would section off her little pen even more so she could move away from me all she wanted but I wouldn’t have to exhaust myself following her. It helped that she could see her buddies eating their dinner and was anticipating hers so it didn’t take long before she would settle down, let me snap her halter on, and then I would immediately give her her dinner. When she was done eating, I would take her halter off and call it quits for the night. It only took about 7-10 days before she was consistent enough that I was able to let her back into the pasture with her buddies and we continued the halter first, dinner second routine until I could go out to the pasture and grab her whenever I needed. Worked like a charm!

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