As most of you read last week, I unexpectedly came into the position of fostering the last of the 56 we helped save last month from the Fallon Auction yard. 55 found homes. 1 did not.
So, she came here! You can read about that amazing day at this link.
Many of you sent in beautiful, wonderful, inventive, creative, appropriate name choices for this 4 year-old Percheron cross, pregnant, unhandled mare.
Picking a name was fairly easy, once I saw her in the daylight.
Here is how her name came to be:
- Many of you wanted her name to reflect the fact that I was visited by 3 Praying Mantises on the day she arrived. mANtis.
- If you saw her and spent time with her, she is just like your average girl next door. In fact, she reminded me of Mary ANN from Gilligan’s Island. And, since this mare was totally overlooked for the more attractive horses (Gingers), it kinda fit.
- And lastly, she was left behind. All the others found homes but she was an orphan on the lot… Little Orphan ANNIE.
So, I thought “Annie” really fit her well.
Annie was probably handled a bit as a foal, but she didn’t seem to remember. Hence, the catch halter was put on her via a touch pole but wasn’t able to be removed. I had to figure out a way to get it off of her before I left to go out of town to be with Hubby.
You see, I hadn’t planned on getting a new horse on Thursday night… but I had planned on traveling to Paso Robles on Sat and Sunday to be with Hubby. (He had a function to attend and wanted me to join him.)
But, now I had this horse… which Hubby was not happy about… and I needed to make her safe and secure before I took off. There was no way I could cancel my engagement with Hubby, especially for a new horse. Yikes.
What to do, what to do?
BIG, OPEN SPACES? PROBABLY NOT.
At first, I had her in a fairly large paddock. It was the best for unloading her in the dark the night before, and it was the most safe for a new horse. I could see her easily from the house, and she could see all the goingsons around the ranch. This paddock would help her become more familiar with all of us.
Except… it was too big. She could easily escape any pressure I put on her. Which she did.
Although she was fairly content and fine with having me in her paddock, I was not able to get close to her. This wasn’t working… And I only had a couple of hours to remove the halter.
Now, the most important thing about horse training is to not have a time thing. Time doesn’t matter to horses. Only to humans. … especially this human.
How was I going to do this?
MAMA TESS DONATED HER VERANDA PANELS.
MT pretty much does the same thing all the time… I really didn’t need to fence her in. Besides, I left her panels open most of the time anyway. So, she donated her 3 panels. But, I needed 4. So, I unhooked the truck and raced down to Tractor Supply and purchased one panel (they were on sale!).
While Annie was off smelling stuff, I erected a mini pen inside of her paddock.
Then I enticed her with nice, green orchard grass.
She came right into the pen – stopping and starting every time she stepped on her halter lead.
–Actually, as an aside, having that halter and dangling lead rope attached to her did teach her a thing or two about bridling. And, if I was around and she stepped on her lead, I called, “Whoa!” and then, “Pick it up” referring to her feet. As soon as she freed herself, I’d say, “There you go…!”
I think she learned something… not sure. Time will tell.
Anyway, now we were in the mini pen together.
TRAINING WITH DINNER
By now, it was Friday night and I had even less time to remove her halter.
I started by sitting next to her pile of hay. She didn’t like this, but she wanted to eat more than she wanted to prove a point, so she let me sit there.
We chatted. I told her all about how she came to be here. I told her about the other horses. I even brought Gwen over to keep her company outside the fence.
Annie didn’t say much. She ate a lot.
After a while, I sat on the hay pile and fed her with handfuls. She wasn’t too happy with this new arrangement, but she did it. She ate from my hand…. And, after a few minutes, I was able to ‘accidentally’ touch her nose with my fingers when I fed her. Oh, she HATED that, but we did it, over and over.
And, at the end of it all, as night was settling in, I hadn’t been able to remove her halter. Nope. Unsuccess. Failure.
Oh well, I said to myself, at least she will be in a smaller place and less apt to catch her halter on stuff.
AT MIDNIGHT, I HEARD A LOUD CRASH/THUMP SOUND!
I sat bolt upright. I was sure Annie had broken down the panels and was now dragging one around behind her, caught on her dangling lead rope.
So, I fell downstairs and stumbled outside… only to see a few rogue ponies tossing around their slow feeder. Annie was happily standing in her shed, the halter laying on the ground a few feet away.
GOOD GIRL! She did it on her own! Such relief.
I CAME BACK FROM THE WEEKEND AND SHE WAS ALIVE AND WELL!
Annie has a very distinctive whinny. I would say it sounds like a hiccup and then a donkey intake then very high pitched “heeeee heeeee heeeeee”.
I’m guessing that is why no one took her home.
Just kidding… but if anyone had heard it, that might have been why they didn’t take her home.
I swear, it is a very odd whinny.
But, she is very sweet. She comes right up to the fence when she sees me and croak/bray/whinnies to me. It is pretty cute. Annie will follow me around her fenceline if I walk nearby. She knows where the food comes from, clearly! ;)
Yesterday, I sat with her every few hours and fed her the same way I did previously. Now, it is old hat to have me sitting on her hay, feeding her mouthfuls.
We have also learned about fly spray. You see, she has a cut on her right front above her knee. It is a bit swollen (she puts full weight on it) and I really want to get to it. But for now, I’ve been able to bait her with food and then make her stand to spray the leg with Vetricyn and then fly spray. I’m guessing she banged her knee at the auction yard or perhaps on the trailer ride here.
Anyway, that was as far as we got yesterday.
Today, I insisted that she touch me before she could have a bite.
Touching me was better than me touching her, that was clear. Annie did not want me to touch her AT ALL.
So, we settled with this new game.
She would work up the courage to bump (very carefully and very lightly) some part of me for her bite… or she had to sniff, bump or lip my head/hair for a bite. Annie was most comfortable sucking my hair.
But, it was really cute and she was proud of herself for having such courage to touch the little human!
If anyone wishes to help sponsor Annie (Thank you!!!), please click here. Your donation or sponorship is 100% tax deductible!