A Sling Lane success story
After Chase came to us as part of the second wave he was very unsure of people. Chase had a problem with food aggression, always ready to defend himself; from what we have been told previous owners would use food to catch him but his handling often resulted in violence.
Coming to us he was very hungry but would approach any offers of food with his ears back, teeth bared, stamping feet and a swishing tail. He was so conflicted, he wanted to be close enough to eat but made it clear he would not be touched.
The decision was made to “turn him away” Chase would be in a field with other ponies, given space to roam, fed every day but ignored. All pressure was taken away, no attempt to fuss or touch him. We let him take a full step back and observe us from a distance. For a few weeks Chase watched us interact with the others in his field, listened to us chat away to them, sometimes including him in the chatter but making no attempt to fuss him. Chase would get his feed from his bucket in his own space and then be left to his own devices.
Slowly Chase got closer and closer to us but we would still only talk to him, fussing and grooming the other horses around him. After around five weeks of watching, listening and walking by, Chase decided he wanted in on the action. While we were fussing others in the field, Chase walked through the gaps between horses and stopped side-on in front of Laura and just looked at her. Laura carried on chatting to the herd paying little attention to him. Chase then stepped closer to Laura, almost on her toes but still making sure he had a clear path to escape. Chase listened intently as Laura started talking directly to him, using his name and telling him what she was going to do next. The next step was to slowly reach out and touch his shoulder, Chase was tense and ready to run. To his surprise the stroke was gentle, a smooth down his shoulder, the fuss didn’t last long but it was a huge step forward for him. The following weeks continued along the same lines, gradually increasing the length of time he would be fussed for and never putting too much pressure on him, nothing to make him panic or run.
Chase knew he was safe and it wasn’t long afterwards that he started to demand fuss, following people around and nuzzling hands to get the attention he wanted. Chase actually became a really cuddly pony. Well mannered when being led although he could still be fiery – anyone who knows chestnut horses knows they have that tendency.
Fast forward to now and Chase is out on loan. A companion to Poppy, being well cared for and much loved. Chase gets led out when Poppy gets ridden enjoying the chance to explore the local area.
We couldn’t ask for a better home for him. Thank you to S & R for giving him a home and another chance to be happy.
(Chase before he came in and then just before he went to his new home)