Monyana’s story part 2: From feisty to fabulous
In part one of Monyana’s story, we covered how she came to be stabled with me. This is the second part of her journey in The Horses Who Taught Me series….
The first major issue I had to address with Monyana was the potential threat she posed to the other animals on the property – what with charging and trying to run them down, it was only a matter of time before one of them could be in harm’s way and get seriously injured. I didn’t want to have to resort to putting her in ‘solitary confinement’ either, as a solution.
I wracked my brains to come up with an idea, which needed to involve me catching her ‘mid-charge’ so to speak.
Eventually, I approached a handy friend and we rigged up a ‘pressure collar’, which was designed to go around her neck, and would provide pressure in the form of a low-frequency vibration. This way I could correct her without putting myself in danger. The collar did not hurt her in any way but was designed
to startle her out of the charge by producing an unfamiliar sensation.
As soon as I had a whole morning free, I put the collar on her and settled down to watch her closely – my timing had to be spot-on, as soon as she started to charge, I had to apply the pressure. And that’s what I did – my timing was perfect, and all it took was three applications of pressure in response to three charges, to stop her in her tracks.
That aggressive charging to run other animals down completely stopped and has never resurfaced. She still moved other animals out of her space, but without trying to harm them to do it.
In hindsight, I would first have worked with her on the ground to mentally balance her and curb those hectic behaviours. But these are things I was to learn later on, and the immediacy and danger of the situation at the time necessitated some quick thinking and urgent intervention.
All we wanted was a happy horse, and we next looked at her physical comfort. We moved her out of the stable and into a covered walk-in shelter where she was much happier and stopped the weaving altogether. We also removed her shoes, and she is now a very happy barefoot horse.
Now that she didn’t pose a threat, and was much happier in her environment, it was time to address the riding. She was completely unresponsive to the bit, or any pressure from the mouth – it was like trying to steer a log.
She had evidently never received the proper education in what the bit means. Learning to be ridden…. coming up in PART 3.