At the moment I am working with Darcy, a lovely mare who missed out on going to school. For now I have had several sessions with her. It becomes clear she is very smart and can pick up new things very quickly. But having led a sheltered live she is easily overwhelmed.
Also she is an introverted horse, she will not speak out clearly when she finds things difficult. She stands very still and retreats inwards. My job is to listen very carefully to her. She will slightly look away with just her eyes, she turns her attention inward. Her whole body gets a bit more tense. If this happens she does not come out of this easily. Most people will just see her as a very calm horse.
So my work with her is now a series of very short sessions and a lot of room in between. Like doing some “freework” with her, which showed how smart she was picking up immediately what we did last and the only time I had worked like this with her. Then 10 minutes proved to be too long, so now I stopped after 5 minutes. Gave her a break and continues with some bodywork.
I have used a wrap around her head – just before and just after her ears – to help her focus, it works calming and with general relaxation. This really helped her with the leading exercise she finds particularly difficult.
Afterwards she was totally relaxed and stood processing for a long time. She has become very soft, her head has dropped very low. So I give her this time and just stand with her. When she starts picking up some hay and react to what goes on around us it is time to bring her back to her herd.