Accident Makes Horse Fearful
My neighbor brought her quarter horse paint, Joker, to my farm this past week. I'm in the painful process of planning my old horse's crossing and need a babysitter for Sundance when the time comes. It helps my neighbor out, too, since she has no grass and is also going on vacation.
|Joker conversing with his new friend.|
He's a nice guy. Much the same "horsenality" type as Sundance, only polite-er. A little on the scared side as far as putting on fly-masks, but very into you. He'll come up to you and follow you around like a puppy dog. Very into people, but respectful.
Even though I'd only met him briefly once, he took to me right away, especially after a peanut treat and he always came over to me at the fence and at feed time.
Feed time was the only time he got a little pushy. More like crowding me. I had put up some hot fence to keep him contained and I have to duck under it to get his food to him. He would come over very close to the wire and that made it difficult for me to get myself under the tape without getting shocked.
The other evening when I was doing my reverse limbo under the tape, he was right there, getting a little too close. I reached up to wave him back so I could crawl under and that's when a very unfortunately accident happened. I was waving my hand up at him as I stooped under the tape and my elbow touched the tape.
Right at that exact same moment, unable to wait another second for his dinner, he reached down with his head for a sniff of my waving hand. The tape I was now in contact with, being "hot", sent a shock through my arm, down my fingers and right into his muzzle.
Well, I jumped and he jump - backwards for about 100 yards. Then, whirling around, he ran into the far side of the paddock. As he looked back at me with shock and dismay, I could see I had turned into the meanest scariest horse-eater this side of a mountain lion.
He ran away from me when I tried to approach him and would not even come over to his food bowl. Eventually, he ventured a little closer, the food calling to him, but he looked askance at me and took off if I even tried to get near him. Forget about giving him his peanut treat or rubbing his muzzle. No, he wasn't letting me get near him.
I felt terrible. Losing a horse's trust is easy. Removing the fear of hurting him once pain has been inflicted, even though accidentally, is a very hard thing to do. No amount of "I'm sorry" was going to convince him. How could I get back the snugg-ly, sniffy, friendly horse he had been to me?