Donnie and I had a good start on his journey to developing more confidence in himself and his surroundings. I decided to start slowly after a winter hiatus because that’s what always seems to work best with Donnie. I want him to feel that any time he is with me he has nothing to be apprehensive about and knows he will always have a good experience. This may sound odd but Donnie is a special case and needs a lot of reassurance from everyone around him. He’s a very intelligent horse and very sensitive.
Unfortunately, he’s also a very nervous horse who has a tendency to become stiff and unresponsive when he’s upset. We got him when he was 3 or 4 years old, (nobody was sure of his age), Donnie has been with us for thirteen years and he does trust us but he still has episodes of distress.
After all these years he’s still a little head shy at times. When I went out to the pasture to bring him in he threw his head up when I tried to halter him. We have to unbuckle the halter and stand beside him and then put it on. He’s not comfortable when anything comes directly at him from the front. We’ve often wondered if he has trouble with his eyes but there really aren’t any tests to diagnose nearsightedness or farsightedness in horses as far as I know.
Donnie and I worked with a little clicker training involving touching his nose to a cone. I moved it in all directions and he was a star. It only took him one click to figure the response that was needed for a treat. We didn’t work for long but it was enough to start with.
I’m not ever going to ride Donnie. My goal is to make him feel good about himself and gain confidence by his achievements. I believe all horses like to have a job of some kind and feel useful. It’s also important for them to feel special and get attention.
Donnie is a sweet sensitive horse and to show his approval of what we did together he gave me a little shoulder nudge and a Donnie “horse hug.” He gives the best hugs ever and will even call you over to his stall to get a scratch or rub then give a Donnie hug in return. I love this horse.
Here’s Donnie’s full story from past blog posts if anyone is interested:
Quote For Today
In the steady gaze of the horse shines a silent eloquence that speaks of love and loyalty, strength and courage. It is the window that reveals to us how willing is his spirit, how generous his heart.