What is it with the California theme? I don't quite know how I fell into that. I do know, however, that it has brought horses my way that are of a quality (and price tag) I previously did not have access to (and honestly didn't see how I could access).
In mid-July, an interesting and unexpected opportunity came my way via my veterinarian. Said veterinarian has a client fairly new to horses, and even newer to farm ownership, who really, really needed some experienced guidance in the care and handling of her animals. Said veterinarian was wondering, would I have the time and would I be brave enough to take on a challenge?
A horse challenge? Oh heck yeah, I love a horse challenge!
And so, a new chapter began. A chapter with a gelding previously shown to 3rd Level (but out of work for roughly the past year and a half), two broodmares (both of whom who were started under saddle at some point in the past), and two sassy yearling fillies. All of whom are registered Oldenburgs, a breed I had yet not encountered.
My task: to get the barn under control in terms of feeding, cleaning, and a regular health care schedule, as well as instill some manners into the yearlings and possibly if I have time, get the broodmares and gelding back into a regular work schedule. All while teaching the owner all things caring for and handling horses safely.
My new crew
We are now about seven weeks in. Things are shaping up. The mares and gelding recognize and willingly respect authority. The yearlings are coming around. One is a very alpha mare personality, so she and I have our trials--all of which I win, quietly and by perseverance as she is also a fighter personality and I don't want to invoke the fight reflex. The other is more timid, but all ready looks to me for confidence in new situations. I think both will go quite far as they continue to get consistent handling and little Miss Alpha learns to be second in command rather than a pushy boss.
For now, they have learned to lead in and out of their stalls and the barn rather than just running around like hellions when it's time to go in and out. They stand for brushing, for fly spray, and allow me to handle all four feet. They also got their feet trimmed recently, and stood, not quite like angels yet, but good enough that all eight feet got a proper trimming for the first time in a while and the same farrier is willing to come back and trim them again! (Finding a farrier willing to take these youngsters on was an issue. . .)
These young girls, walking sedately away after being turned out.
It's definitely a challenge, but I'm having fun. The horses are responding positively, and the owner is so thankful to have help and an experienced guide. Win-win-win.