I think I'm way overdue for an update on the horse I rescued last Thanksgiving, Francie. She is doing very well! If you remember, she was starved, infested with worms, and completely untamed and unhandled when I got her. She has made wonderful progress in the time I've been working with her.
We have had our challenges though. Like last spring, when Francie had her first heat cycle, became aggressive, and bit me while my back was turned opening a gate. For that, she was separated from my gelding and spent some time in isolation (and I yelled at her immediately when it happened - the bite left a bruise for 3 weeks! Thank goodness I was wearing a thick sweatshirt, otherwise it would have been much worse). Once I was assured that this would not happen again, I moved her back in with Phoenix.
We also ran into trouble when Francie started bolting her food without chewing. I suppose this was because of her starvation days. Twice she choked. When a horse chokes, it can still breath, but it cannot swallow. They stand awkwardly, cough, and buckets of slime (saliva) run out of their mouth. It can be rather scary. Luckily, I had seen it before, and I knew it wasn't generally fatal. One of the times I did have to sedate her to get her throat to relax enough for the clump of food to pass. Since then, I've put some large rocks into her food dish. Now she has to nuzzle around the rocks to eat, and it takes her 20 minutes to eat instead of 5. So far, this has been effective.
Francie and I have been riding a couple of days a week. She has made great strides over the past month or so. She is very spooky, but we are working on that (more about that in a later post). I am able to ride her without assistance now, and we are walking and trotting. I feel like we will canter in the next month or so. I'm focusing on trying to get her to relax and bend and move away from leg pressure. This will give her more 'power steering'. It's slow going, but she is trying, and every ride to me is amazing, simply because I know how far she has come. I'm so proud of her efforts!