We last left off with Mercury just being dropped off by the breeder. Apparently, unable to be halter broke. He was herded into the trailer and dropped into a paddock at the farm. I found that he was extremely skittish and described him like a deer. He was, I’m sure bewildered and shocked by the changes in his world. I mentioned that I managed to gain his trust of touch by good scratches and hand grooming. That was enough to win him over but NOT to get a halter on. He wanted no part of any foreign objects touching him. We gradually worked out the haltering through time and patience and I found he was keen to learn, smart and if grooming was involved, he was very happy for my companionship.
As I got to know young Mercury and his confidence started to grow, I found he was nothing like the colt I knew initially. Yes he was a little skeptical, but he was actually quite cheeky and mischievous with a very playful side. I was pleased to see this because, it seemed we were quite a good match in our characters! Though he was cautious, his curiosity far outweighed his skepticism given time.
I started to work with him on things young horses should know how to do at his age. He was a very quick learner and seemed to enjoy his sessions. I kept them short and fun and only did simple ground handling. As Mercury settled in, he was moved into what I called ” the old man” paddock. There were 4 retired geldings in the paddock. It was time for Mercury to have friends and a herd and to get socialized with older, wiser horses. They were perfect for him. He was quite a pest with them and they taught him to mind his manners with his elders and he found that the older pony would tolerate his youthful play and they became best friends.
As Mercury turned two, I decided to move him to a simple pasture turnout while he matured. I rented a place that had a small stable and moved him and my Irish horse there so he could grow and be a horse. I also got him a friend name Oliver. Oliver was a mini I got to keep Mercury company while I took my other horse to competitions and on hacks. I didn’t want Mercury to try to jump out and follow us. I knew he had the potential being bred to jump. My plan worked well except for one part. He would jump into the grass pasture when I wasn’t home. At least he didn’t get out! I would put them on the grass at night but apparently, he didn’t feel the need to wait for me to put him in there! He also discovered the pear tree in the grass pasture. He could not believe this magical tree had treats growing on it just for him to discover. To this day, He still has a special love for pears! Just like we have treats from our childhood we always love.
I continued his ground work and getting him used to more and more things. I took him for short walks, and worked on loading on the trailer etc. He was extremely smart and willing and playful. I loved his character! He was still a bit of a reactive horse but I figured with time, these things would work themselves out. I had know idea yet what I was in for in the backing process….stay tuned for the next installment. Have any horses come to you that were your 4 legged soul mate but you didn’t know when you met them?