Lily has settled into her new life pretty well. This is the first young horse I have not had living on my property. I didn’t give it much thought at first, but I have quickly come to see how important that is to a young horse – especially a sensitive Arabian. Lily is smart, but very reactive, opinionated and has a strong flight response. She is independent and the sort of Arabian that demands you meet her standards of perfection – not an easy task.
When I had horses on my own farm I was the person handling them 99% of the time. I did everything – turn in, turn out, feed, water, clean, exercise, hold for the vet and farrier, etc. The horses learned I was their person, and they could expect the routine to be the same day in and day out. Everything from the order they go in and out to how they walk through gates and into their stalls. Consistency was key, and it worked especially well for the sensitive ones.
With Lily being boarded, there are 6 people (including myself) that handle her. That’s a lot for a young, impressionable filly. It’s impossible (and an unreasonable thing to ask) to keep things completely consistent across the board and with Lily it shows. Initially I thought working with her 4 days a week would suffice, but I didn’t factor in the fact that I am no longer the person doing everything. I underestimated the value of that crucial aspect. Thus, it’s up to me as a horseperson to figure out how to best educate Lily in her current circumstances so that she is a well-mannered filly. It’s a new challenge and new learning experience for me, but that’s what different horses do. They teach you all sorts of things you didn’t realize you didn’t know.