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So....I did a thing...

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  • So....I did a thing...

    Well, last week I came across a post on FB about several feral yearlings that were going to go to slaughter unless someone bought them and there were only 2 days to buy one. Well....I sort of jumped on it and bought myself a feral filly xD

    This lovely little lady arrived last night and I'm super excited to start working with her. She's a sooty buckskin and doesn't have any white on her at all other than a tiny patch of white in her mane. Only human contact she's had up to this point is when she got branded and her time being hauled the 8+ hours to me.

    But today was my first full day with her so I worked with her a bit in the morning and evening. In the morning, I got her to realize I wanted her to face me and got her to follow me for a few steps as well as to come towards me a bit using approach and retreat. I was able to stand about a foot away from her by the end of the morning session.
    In the evening, I was able to actually touch her. It was only a light tough on her face, but it still counts lol. We did have one moment though, where she decided that she wanted to test things and (keep in mind I wasn't putting pressure on her at this point, I was giving her a break) she decided to pin her ears a little and turn her butt to me and when I stepped forward to correct her, she tried to nip me so I had to get after a bit for that.

    I basically just chased her off a bit but once she settled down (which was nearly right away) and faced me again, I stopped and took the pressure away. In the end, I was able to stand next to her again and have her falling asleep next to me. It was cute to see her relax with her leg cocked, bottom lip drooping and her eyes all droopy as well.

    But ya, I'm super excited about having this filly and just had to share how our first day went with someone so I figured I'd post it here.

    I don't have a name picked out for her yet. Kinda thinking about Cinder but I'd love to hear what your guys suggestions are as well if you feel like sharing

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  • #2
    She’s adorable. Congratulations!


    • #3
      Congrats!! She's very pretty!


      • #4
        Seems to move well:, might be a lucky horse all round.
        "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths


        • #5
          What a score!! Keep us updated.


          • #6
            Gorgeous! And well done to you both! I hope that you'll update now and again. I had to have a quiet laugh at the story of her pinning and attempting a nip.... because I just adore opinionated mares/fillies! You'll be reading her like a book soon


            • #7
              How about Sooty for a name?

              I do the same thing when teaching faceup. But a bit different. When you touch you let them touch your hand with their muzzle then retreat and start again.
              It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.


              • #8
                Congrats! Sounds like you made a lot of progress in the short time you’ve had her. Please post updates!


                • #9
                  You are moving too FAST with this training. She just got off the truck yesterday! Her world has been turned upside down. Give her some TIME to adjust to EVERYTHING new in her life, and relax. Don't attempt to "train" her at all, just arrive daily, provide the feed, hang around at a safe distance, talk to her, and be her friend from a distance for a while. Give her time to adjust before you start establishing a relationship with her. She will be lonely, let it be her idea that perhaps hanging out with you may be something she wants to do. Offer yourself up as a "friend". Don't "force" yourself onto her, let her come to you as she begins to recognize you as someone familiar. And yes, she will attempt to figure out where she is in the social order with you, see if she can or should push you around. That's normal, and expected. You have to keep yourself safe at this early point in your relationship with her, use something simple to give you shelter from any mistakes she makes- tries to nip at you, or kick at you- holding a manure fork using the wooden handle vertical between the two of you can do this for you. Remember, she has fear of you, and is only trying to defend herself from you at this early stage. You have to earn the position in her opinion that you are someone/something she should look up to, as a benevolent superior being to her, someone she would like to be with, and do as you say. Earn this position over time by understanding her situation , equine communication, and herd dynamics. Hitting her, for any reason, would be your last resort, something you do NOT want to do.

                  Your first goal is to touch her, tickle her, groom her. She may or may not like or appreciate this, but most likely, she will, because this is something that horses do, and she understands already. Take advantage of this. Be careful to not be too authoritarian in her life, she will make mistakes, but that's OK, be slow to "discipline" her for mistakes she makes because she may not understand what a human wants and expects, and one does not want to damage the trust she extends just because she has made a mistake. Gain her trust and respect by clear and concise communication with her, and setting attainable goals, in order. Good luck. Everyone has their first one.


                  • #10
                    I'm glad you are happy with your filly. She looks sweet and it's lovely you got her out of a tight spot. What about the name Pearl? I'll bet she'll be shiny like one soon enough. There are chocolate pearls with a shiny dark hue.

                    Out of curiosity, how do those auction rescues work? I've heard some are just dealers trying to make a buck and others that are people who know what animals are going up for auction (how do they know?). How do you know you aren't just giving them money to go get more free/cheap horses to threaten to sell to auction if not "rescued"?

                    There was a big issue in Florida a few years ago when a rescue that snatched some horses up from a Texas auction. Then, they sneaked them into Florida. Yeah, they had Strangles. Great, huh?

                    None of this is your filly's fault and it's good you got her before she ended up at slaughter. Is she isolated, just in case?


                    • #11
                      no quarantine ???? ​​​​​​​!!!
                      Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                      • #12
                        no quarantine ??? !
                        Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                        • #13
                          Did anyone rescue the others? They are just babies! That is heartbreaking to think they never had a chance!


                          • #14
                            I like the name Cinder. Fits her. She's cute.
                            My hopeful road to the 2021 RRP TB Makeover:


                            • #15
                              She is lovely and you are lovely for giving her a chance. I adopted two feral TBs form a starvation rescue about ten years back and last year adopted two feral mustangs, so Ive been in your shoes. It is so amazing to see them begin to trust you.

                              I would take things very slow and be careful not to rush her-if you rush her, she can act out defensively and hurt you or you can damage the relationship and create trauma that will surface later. Every day is baby steps.

                              Ive found positive reinforcement to work exceptionally well with the feral mustangs. The reward actually turns on the dopamine reward pathway which turns off the fear response pathway, so it literally helps "open their mind" and put them in a state of learning.

                              It starts out as simple as putting a bowl on the ground. Every time she looks at you cluck your tongue and drop in some alfalfa pellets-maybe a tablespoon. After about ten tries she will figure this out. Then begin to reward for her taking a step towards you.

                              The next easy thing to teach is "touch" which means she touches her nose to your hand. If she is brave, you can reward her from your hand. If she is scared, that may take longer and the bowl will still be needed. Once they figure out you are attempting to communicate with them and if they comply they get a treat, it becomes RIDICULOUSLY easy to teach them things.

                              Mustang Maddy is a great resource:

                              Mustang camp is also a great site:

                              You can always phase out the positive reinforcement training later, but it makes the gentling phase go so much faster.

                              Good luck!


                              • Original Poster

                                Thanks for you comments everyone And I'll try to post some updates since several of you seem to want that.

                                That's actually a comment I got from the people who hauled for me as well as from the rescue who held her for me. They also figure she'll probably do well as a jumper since she did jump some square bales while at the rescue lol.

                                I did do that a few times too so she did actually reach out to me as well, not just me attempting to touch her. And I'll keep that name in mind as well, thanks.

                                I did want to take a bit more time, however the people to take care of the stable yard where she's currently at plan to clean out the pen in literal days. They weren't able to do it the few days where it empty before the filly was brought in, so I've just been trying to get some positive work done in the hopes that I'll be able to get her semi halter broke in order to lead her out to a temporary pen instead of having one of them go in and rope her to move her in order to clean the pen.

                                Also, I just made my post shorter but I did spend a good chunk of time just hanging out at the opposite end of the paddock or sitting on the ground and doing stuff that involved no pressure on her and for her to just get used to my presence, especially in the morning. I also only hung out with her in that way for about 2 hours in the morning before leaving and not going back till late in the evening and was there only an hour. And I made sure I didn't rush her and the thing is, she was decently relaxed during it as she showed multiple signs of relaxation such as bottom lip drooping, eyes half closed, leg cocked, lowering her head. Not going to say I was perfect as I'm sure I did make a mistake or two while with her, but like I said, I'm trying to have the first contact be as positive as possible before she has to be moved for a moment since there are certain things I have no control over.

                                But I do appreciate some of the tips you mentioned and I'll definitely keep them in mind as I move forward

                                Well, first off, it wasn't an auction. I also live in Canada. The rescue I went through I've been following for quite some time and I know a lady who works with them from time to time. So I've been able to see and hear others personal experiences with the rescue to know that they're legit.

                                Also, they weren't threatening anything with sending them off if not adopted. It was actually the people who run the Ranch that oversee the feral herd that said if these yearlings don't find a home, then they go to slaughter. The rescue got wind of this, but due to the situation with the virus and other horses they've taken in, they had no room for these yearlings. So they instead they spread the word about the yearlings and once people gave the money for the yearling they wanted to the rescue, the rescue then worked with the Ranch to arrange for that specific yearling to go to the rescue for 2 weeks until the person who adopted the yearling could haul them home.
                                Also that's really too bad about what happened over there in Florida.

                                Also, there was a short quarantine. They were on their own for about a week or two before they went to the rescue, then at the rescue my filly was there for about a week to a week and a half so that's nearly the 4 week mark, and she's now with me in a pen that has electric fencing around it which deters contact with the horse next to her. But the mare next to her is also vaccinated so there should be very minimal risk of anything going on there.

                                Zu Zu
                                There was a bit of a quarantine. If you read the last paragraph of my response right above this, you'll see it explained it a bit of how it went.

                                All the others got rescued There is only one yearling left that the buyer backed out at the last minute so the colt is at the rescue but he'll now either stay at the rescue for a bit or he'll hopefully get adopted fairly soon.

                                I did try to bring her a bucket of some feed to help her out since she does need to gain weight and all that, but despite checking it out several times, she wasn't interested. Instead, she just played with the handle of the bucket lol.
                                But thanks for the tips and resources, I'll definitely take a look at those



                                • #17
                                  Thanks for explaining. There are lots of groups on Facebook that rescue and some are a little strange. Regardless, the filly was in trouble and got a home, so good for you both!


                                  • #18
                                    My first thought was Chim Chim Cheree from Mary Poppins, so maybe Sweep for a name?
                                    "Radar, the man's ex-cavalry: if he sees four flies having a meeting, he knows they're talking about a horse!" Cptn. BJ Hunnicutt, M*A*S*H Season 4, Episode "Dear Mildred"


                                    • #19
                                      My first thought was Chim Chim Cheree from Mary Poppins, so maybe Sweep for a name?
                                      "Radar, the man's ex-cavalry: if he sees four flies having a meeting, he knows they're talking about a horse!" Cptn. BJ Hunnicutt, M*A*S*H Season 4, Episode "Dear Mildred"