RAHMA|• This beautiful Arabian mare had lots of anxiety issues when I started working with her in January 2020. She was tense as soon as a rider came close and that tension only grew bigger during grooming and saddling.
Rahma came to @lovethishorse_rescue through a low-end auction, where she presumably lost the top half of her left ear This of course didn't help her anxiety towards people, but gave her more reason to fear us. I slowly worked on her head shyness first by using my hands but also ropes, to get her comfortable to be saddled - eventually. She was extremely headshy (probably due to rough handling and losing half of her ear).
Under saddle it took me a little more time to get her to relax. She spooked A LOT and just ran while panicking, I could feel her muscles harden through the saddle... This sweet lady just needed a little more time and thankfully, time is exactly what horses are given to decompress at Love This Horse.
After establishing a new foundation of mutual Trust and Respect on the ground (starting in her stall where she also had a lot of fears and anxiety) I worked on being able to;
- touch her everywhere
- halter and lead her
- groom her
- saddle her
All while making sure that I am:
- not overwhelming her by working below the threshold
- paying very close attention to stress signals
- making sure that she is ACCEPTING of everything and not just TOLERATING what we are doing.
She was also put on a diet, to help her lose some weight which ultimately made her feel better too. Focusing on just her absolute basic needs (food, care, exercise and love) helped Rhama overcome her fears, which all translated to a relaxed riding horse later that same year.
Rahma ended up going back to her previous adopters, who run a therapeutic riding program. She always loved it there so I was beyond happy to hear they were ready to take her back
Another happy ending!