March brings forth wonderful things and because of that is pretty much my favorite month. I have always felt that it was the month of new beginnings as spring starts to bloom, the days get longer and the weather gets warmer. It also is the month of my birthday, but that doesn’t make me bias at all. 😉
Last March did not disappoint by bringing forth new and wonderful things. Athena’s bandage came off the second day at the new barn. It was a huge stress-reliever to not worry about changing it anymore. I think Athena was happy to have it off too.
Athena and I started taking weekly lessons from Sherry Stewart to start working on her ground work. Sherry would give us some exercises for the week and Athena and I would do them together everyday for the next week, then Sherry would check up on us the next week to see how we were coming along. We also decided to put Athena on a special diet to help her gain some weight. We had officially started Athena’s training!
We started working on touching and picking up her back feet. For whatever reason (we think it was abuse), Athena would kick if you touched her back legs. And let me tell you, when she kicks its like a bullet; fast and powerful. I would take a lead rope and loop it around her leg up at the top of her leg. I would also have her on a lead rope. With one hand I would shimmy the rope down her leg and if she kicked I would pull her head around to my side to stop her kicking. After two days of working with her, she had stopped kicking. We started to pick up her feet with the rope and hold and release at various times.
The next week we started doing some light round pen work. The first few times she had a hard time staying on the wall and not turning off the wall to come stand by me. After about a week at it she was officially a pro. After our next weekly lesson with Sherry, I started touching her legs with my legs and slowly picking up her feet with my hands. Not going to lie, it was a little nerve-wracking the first time because I had been kicked a few times by her already, but once Athena learned that I wasn’t going to hurt her she stopped kicking and is very kind with her back feet. With this new method I never got kicked and she has learned to trust me more. I was able to clean off her back leg where the injury was and start putting scar treatments on the bald skin.
Athena started shedding and the more she shed the more I could see her gaining some weight. She was starting to look so dang amazing! I started putting M-T-G in her mane and tail and her fly aways and brittleness seemed to start to disappear.
As Athena begun to shed, I started to notice bald spots from when she was sick earlier in February. I started putting M-T-G on the bald spots and Athena’s scar on her back leg for three days and within a week tons of hair was growing in the bald spots! M-T-G is worth it’s weight in gold and it’s my new favorite grooming product. It was recommended to me by an associate at Cabin Branch Tack Shop in Southern Pines when I asked about Athena’s brittle and dry mane and tail. I mentioned Athena would have a nasty scar and she told me to put that on it and the hair would grow back. It really works and I shocked how fast it worked. I did a little experiment and wiped Athena down with a light coat of M-T-G and her coat looks so shiny and healthy now. I prefer it over ShowSheen because it is just a one time application and seems to work in the follicle rather than just the superficial appearance. I was pretty skeptical about seeing a huge result within one application but you really do see it that fast! I know some of you probably use it religiously, but if you haven’t tried it yet I highly HIGHLY recommend it!
Athena had a bad habit of running over the top of people when being lead and just having terrible ground manners in general. She would also spook really bad if someone walked along the back side of her as we were walking. She seemed to be terrified of people being behind her and would tremble in fear. We put on a rope halter and after two weeks Athena is a totally different horse. She walks beside me patiently and halts when I halt. She stands patiently and doesn’t spook as much as before. She still gets a little nervous when people walk behind her but she has gotten so much better. Our routine would consist of doing some light round pen work, then I would groom her and work with her feet, and then we would go for looooong walks together.
After just a month at Sherry’s barn Athena is a totally different horse. She LOOKS so good between her feet, her weight, and her coat. Her eyes have become softer and she has become so much quieter. She is kinder, more gentle, and so much more trusting.
This is my first time training a horse from start to finish (with Sherry’s help of course!). Nothing beats that moment when you have been working with your horse and you finally see that “click” and they get it. It feels so wonderful to watch their progress continue to move forward and know that you are responsible for that.
March was a wonderful month for Athena and I. I can’t wait to see what April will bring!
Stay tuned next week for the next update on Athena and Amanda!