I have a two year-old AQH filly named Ms. Stormy Dry Doc. I brought her hom in May of 2008. She was not halter broke when I got her, therefore we had a long way to go. I didn't think I would ever get any where with her, because for the first week she wouldn't even eat, much less let me catch her. Finally, I changed her feed to a mix of sweet feed mixed with my usualy pelletized performance horse feed. She liked that matter, I'm guessing because of the molasses. Gradually she began to let me pet her, and finally catch her. I put a turnout halter on her to make things easier, and started catching her every day.
She was scared of brushed. She refused to be brushed. After two weeks of being caught though, she finally allowed me to catch her. I couldn't believe I got excited over a horse allowing me to catch her. I usually only got excited if they had done a outstanding work under saddle, but this was big for Stormy. Gradually we started some exercises for de-sensitizing, and she picked up right away. She had learned to trust me, and was on her way to becoming a great mare.
A few weeks later, we put a saddle pad on her. She stood stock still, no even thinking about moving or bolting. We put it on her several times, then rewarded her with a nice grooming session and being turned back out with her friends. Next thing was teaching her to flex her head. That was a piece of cake for Stormy. She would give her head with the slightest amount of pressure in just a few sessions, pleasing my family and I.
Then came me getting on. Stormy didn't care. I was her leader by this day in July, and she trusted me. I had a trusted friend hold her while I mounted. Stormy was an angel. I got on and off several times. She didn't mind the least bit. I had my friend walk her off, Stormy acted as if she was being walked up to the barn. I got off, and gave her the rest of the day off.
That weekend, I mounted her again, planning to saddle her for the first time afterwards. I got on her, and once again she was great. The saddle was the tricky part. We got it on her, and just as the cinch was tightened, she went into orbit. She bucked the saddle blanket clear out from under her saddle blanket. I was quite impressed. I didn't belive my little filly had that much in her. We caught her, and ponied her off an older horse for a while until she had relaxed with the saddle.
After the adventure with the saddle, Stormy didn't want the saddle pad near her anymore. We had to start over again. This time we started with one of my hoodies. I would put it around her neck, and gradually place it on her back. In the end of the first session, I was throwing it at her head, while she stood completely still. The next day, we tried a bath towel doing the same thing. Once again, at the end of the session we were throwing it at her face while she stood still. Next came the saddle blanket again. It did not end well. Stormy kicked my hip putting me out up until now. I've just now been allowed to return to working horses. I tried to ride a few days after the accident, and it killed me to work the horse. I worked three anyway, hoping to strenghen my muscles back. That apparently didn't work though. It just left me sore for a while.
So this is Stormy's Journey, while I'm sure there is more to come. She will leave for a trainer in November, come home in December, leave again in February. Wish Stormy luck on her long journey, and her surgery in March.