I knew that P still hadn't started her "training" per se, at least not anything beyond handling and working her slowly into the herd. Apparently our trip was well timed, as P had just started really moving with the herd and incorporating herself more in the hours before we arrived.
In talking with Cowboy Man, it sounds like P's first few days of turn out with the herd, went as expected. That is to say that P got her butt kicked. She also spent most of her "turn out" oscillating between hovering on the outside of the group and scampering back to the barn to the relative safety of her smaller run and a barn buddy whom she had befriended.
Cowboy Man said that sort of tentative behavior is typical and can last anywhere from a few days, to a few months depending on the horse and how social they are. Herds don't tolerate "wussy" behavior very well (apparently weak members attract predators... like llamas), so the more timid a new horse is, the more aggressively they tend to be run off. Conversely, if a new horse comes in all puffed up and prancing, the herd tends to test them a little, then accept the newcomer more quickly.
Apparently, in spite of P's wussy, run back to the barn tendencies - on Saturday, she was able to start running with the herd.
When we showed up, she was grazing happily, and surrounded by other horses on all sides. (go mare!).
I'm not sure The Boy had even turned the truck all the way off before I was out of it and skipping through the field toward Miss P. She just looked happy.
Supremely, calm, happy and relaxed.
Her stance is totally different, she's more balanced, less tense through her shoulder and standing much squarer on her front legs. As a result, her neck/shoulder/back also look totally different. I had a fleeting thought of "oh crap, there's no way my saddle is ever going to fit her ever again" before snapping back to reality and marveling at how much change could happen in such a short time. Her weight looks fantastic, she's dirty (but shiny) and she has withers!
I tried to take pictures to show the difference (they all turned out terribly) but maybe you'll be able to see what I'm talking about. It's crazy, and I'm sure there's even more change to come.
She also has some battle scars. Hair is missing everywhere. her face, her neck, her legs... and she's got a mother of a hickey going on. Apparently she "challenged" one of the geldings and he just latched on to her neck with his teeth. For a while. and didn't let go... Now it's a swollen gross mess of a lump, but Dr. Finn has drained it twice and apparently it's starting to subside.
She did defend her humans (or more likely her peace-offering of carrots) from two of the herd members - the tiny pony, and one docile old mare.
|Brave mare actually stood up to this little beast...|
|Carrots and Loves|
|This little bugger nearly got put in the back to the truck and taken home...|
I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent and was able to come away feeling even better about every cent that I'm spending for P's time over there. It's not fancy, but she's getting incredible attention, her feet are on track, her body looks great and I can just tell that she's enjoying herself. I cannot wait for our next visit, or for the day I leg back up onto her and we go for that first big trail ride...