This is an excerpt from a recent e-mail from Essie's new mom, Paula. (Their photo is attached) Essie is a companion to Paula's horse of 23 years, Chewy, who sadly lost his lifetime horse buddy last summer. Paula adopted Essie in August; she is a horsewoman of many years who takes her commitment to her animals very seriously. Paula has a wonderful ranch in the Bay Area, with a barn and pasture with beautiful views of the hills and valley. Essie and Chewy are her only horses. I look forward to her email updates, each one full of funny stories about her two horses. Thank you, Paula, for giving Essie such a wonderful home!
I am thrilled with Essie and her progress. She is just a gem. She has essentially stopped kicking the stall wall before being fed. Now she just shakes her head a few times. HA! I stopped the bad behavior by locking both Chewy and Essie out of the stalls so I could clean and drop the hay. They patiently
waited (although I'm sure they were saying, "Hey lady, hurry it up!") In the late afternoon I clean their stalls and drop the hay and usually hike up to the pasture to retrieve them. They both come flying down and Essie always prefers following me down to the barn where they get their first of two afternoon/evening meals. She also stands for me now (unhaltered) after eating her first breakfast snack. I can brush and clean her feet and she also stands perfectly for the fly spray. She loves to have her eyes cleaned. Wow! What a mare! About the only time she's not 100% cooperative i s if she's in heat.
Chewy and Essie are like old buddies now. In the morning when I go out to feed they are both covered in shavings from having a nice snooze during the night. Last week-end I was up cleaning poop in the upper pasture while they were eating breakfast. Since Essie always finishes her meal first, she came up to the pasture and started grazing on what's left. After a few minutes passed, I heard Chewy screaming for her from the barn. She heard him but continued to eat. Then finally by the third call from Chewy she very sweetly nickered back at him "Well, where do you think I am?" He came running up a few minutes later acting the stud. She ignored him like they'd been married for years.
I was lunging her early in September and decided to stop because she really hated going on her off side. After some thought, I decided to experiment and now 2-3 times a week I take both Essie and Chewy up to the arena together. I take my lunge line which has a few knots tied at the end of it and I toss it towards Chewy's rear end. He's excellent at lunging, so he starts walking or trotting in a circle and guess who follows right behind him? You guessed it. Chewy is very good at doing both directions and when I ask him to stop, she stops right behind him. Then when I ask him to reverse, she follows him and turns the other direction. So, I've tried to make it a game and fun. We don't do it for more than about 10 minutes and they always get a lot of love and pets afterwards. I'm hoping by next Spring, she'll be a little more willing to lunge connected, but it really doesn't matter as long as she's learning the ground rules. I think she appreciates the fact that I'm letting her (believe) she's getting things her way, but I'm the one winning in the end. She's very sweet and usually will walk up to me and put her muzzle on my cheek. I just love her and I know Chewy does too (even though he's not willing to admit it).
More pictures will follow soon. I just wanted you to know that things are going great. I feel so fortunate to have found Essie and a PMU Mare at that!