Just shy of my one month anniversary of adopting Inez, I felt like she was ready for a little exploration outside her paddock. Over the past weeks we have worked on haltering and leading. While leading, I have worked by moving her head, then hips to create an eventual forward cross over step. Each time she locks up in forward motion, I work through it by moving her into a hips over. We have also worked on our head down cue extensively so that she can learn to give to the pressure at the pole and feel the release when she gives.
I had my husband Neil on hand to help me open one of the panels so she could exit into the semi-grassy meadow. He opened the panel and she stared wide eyed at the opening. A few gentle nudges forward and she had her head in the grass grazing with eyes closed, bliss.
She turned into a bit of a mule getting back in but with gentle nudges forward and moving her hips we were safely back inside her paddock. I released her and went to get her grain. As soon as I exited, she began to run and kick an whinny. She did hotlaps for several moments before settling into eating her grain.
I was filled with emotion watching her. I was looking at her remembering that she was once wild and free and I experienced a moment of guilt and heartbreak. Then, my logical mind reminded me that her mother, her family, her herd suffered a worse fate than she. Sadness. Then I realized that she had been awakened by this new experience from her slumber of day to day eating, grooming sleeping routine. Pride. She deserves a life of great adventure, enormous love and the best care a family could give.