I am writing today to share a PSA reminder on why safety comes first, in the hopes that it will help others and they won’t need my good fortune.
So a fun fact about Holly that you probably don’t know: she is an amazing horse for children and special needs folks. She loves them and does things for them I’ve never seen precisely. I have worked with other horses who are what we call babysitters, but she takes it to another level. You’ll hear more about this later once I have the pictures to share with the story. All you need to know for today is that we had a group of special needs adults and a child out today for a visit and pony rides.
All but one person had ridden. It was the child whose mom was there and had experience with horses, so I let her handle it herself, and went to talk to the group about the other horse, Zeus. I suddenly hear loud whoa from a parent. I dropped what I was doing and came around to see the reins around her front left leg. I later found out that at some point they fell because the child was hanging on tight to the saddle horn. Normally not an issue for pony rides, but the reins weren’t looped of the horn. For some pony rides I will even just use the halter, but I wanted today’s visitors included one who knew the basic stop start and steer.
So the child was pulled immediately, because Holly immediately stopped and stood. I was incredibly impressed that Holly slammed the breaks when it first pull her mouth so we could try to fix it. I first tried taking her bridle off, but it didn’t work and another pull from Holly trying to move caused her to be in some serious pain. It was slow enough it gave me time to yell for everyone to move, and then she popped up in a small rear attempting to break the bridle. I have never seen a horse in this much discomfort able to refocus and listen. She started to act like she was going to run off, but I was able to grab her lead rope and within a minute had her attention and her stopped. She then stood for us to take the bridle apart to get it out of her mouth.
She immediately had the corners of her mouth massaged, a lot. Now, even more amazing. When horses I’ve worked with have gotten this way in the past they have been high strung and jumpy the rest of the session. Once she had her massage and a quiet moment with me, she was back to social happy Holly. She put on a show while getting her shower (mimicking a giraffe is her favorite), loved on the kids, and was rock solid. I have worked with many camp horses and lesson horses. I am not worthy to have this mare. She is incredible.
Moral for this story: Make sure all adults understand to tie up the reins if they are not in use. Seriously guys, this is a safety issue. As for today, the adults and child had an absolute blast. They loved every second and can’t wait to come back. I am thankful beyond measure, incredibly blessed. I will never have a horse like her again. It makes the temptation to breed insane because I don’t want to lose her or her incredible temperament. I think I will think on it again, but I had to flex out bond hard today, with one adult with a physical handicap who needed everyone on their A game including Holly (more on this later) and being able to get her attention and control when she was scared and in pain. I take our bond for granted sometimes, and I shouldn’t. I’ve never seen a horse do what she did, never felt that strong a bond. God was with me the day I picked the first horse I saw ever when seeing her.