Day 15 with Noelle, our new pregnant Mustang who had never been handled before arriving at our place is coming along beautifully. Today she and Benji actually “joined-up” completely on their own. They sniffed noses and touched each other. Unfortunately we didn’t have a camera in the paddock at the time, and the funny thing is that Benji won’t get within 20 feet of our other horses, even Cash.
On Day 26, I was sitting on the ground in the paddock with my back to Noelle, talking to Dani, our trimmer. Noelle was down the hill and to my rear. I heard her coming up but did not look around, just kept talking. Dani interrupted me and said “Oh, you should’ve seen that. Something freaked her down by the fence and she came straight to you. She considers you her safe place.” She stopped about five feet behind me and just stood there, head down, for quite a while. After a bit, she exhaled a couple of times and wandered back to whatever she was doing. This was very cool.
I think it was on Day 20 that she first took hay from my hand. On Day 25 she first allowed a few rubs on the face, and now, on occasion, she even allows me to rub her cheek before offering hay.
I see in her eyes that she wants more than she can give right now. With no food offered, when I reach out slowly to touch her cheek, she’ll sometimes turn, even slower, just an inch or two… as if she’s saying: I must turn away but I don’t want to really so I’ll just move slower than you so your hand will catch up. But I don’t catch up. I stop where her head was, and smile, and withdraw.
When her nose is on the ground, nibbling dregs, I go down with my face and get my nose within inches of hers. She continues to nibble (I think her top lip was once an elephant trunk :), and I blow a little, and she inhales, unconcerned. She doesn’t move away. And she’s calm as a cucumber.
Which is one of the amazements to me… that she can want so much, and be so calm and trusting, but that doesn’t really translate into crossing thresholds. She has gone to sleep just inches from my chest and it’s those moments where I must concentrate on issuing no vibes, no “towards” movements or even thoughts… which has its own issues because when I’m concentrating so hard on not disrupting her trust I know there is anxiety creeping through my every pore :)
The very first day I was in her paddock I lay down on the ground and took a nap. After a bit Benji joined me and dozed off next to me. At some point I heard Noelle’s feet drawing close, and I rolled over, chin on my hands. She was about six feet away, head on the ground, wanting to sniff Benji. Intrigued even then.
I hope I’m not boring you with these reports but it’s our first time with a Mustang from the wild and each new breakthrough is very exciting. I’ll keep you posted.