Sometimes I have to wonder on the life of horses.
So many of our horses have unknown histories, suffering anything from a simple lack of love to cruelty beyond imagining. Sometimes this is intentional (#$%@) and sometimes, not so much.
I wanted to take the chance to share with you the story of my boy, Custard.
Custard, who at this stage was a more mature horse (around 17 or 18 years) had been agisted in a friends paddock for many years before he became mine. Very little was known of his history apart from that he was a trail riding horse. As can happen, when he was no longer needed by his former owners, he was offered up for sale, but through no fault of his own, would end up returning to them again.
It was the final straw for my friend when he was offered up as a ‘free to good home’ horse.
“You know what happens to those horses,” she said to me, “I can’t bear to see that happen to him.”
And so Custard became a part of her herd. That single statement changed his life.
Firstly, he started to thrive on an established routine, which included regular feeding, treats and bonding with a paddock mate. However, he still remained ‘distant’ from human interaction - he would accept interaction that he had to endure but would quickly and quietly move on once completed.
Just over a year ago, this same friend allowed me the opportunity to start working with Custard. Boy, did we have a lot to work on, and a lot to work with.
It’s taken a lot of effort and a fair amount of time, but Custard has progressed from a timid, stressed horse that was disinterested in people, struggling with a lack of confidence when he was separated from his paddock mate, to becoming a loving, affectionate and confident horse that tries to help his rider out - even when she isn’t performing at her best.
It took giving him a voice, establishing a bond and a lot of love and attention (plus a fair number of treats and massages) for me to get that very first welcome whinny that makes it all worth the effort. He has become my peace and I have become his human. Custard has his forever home.