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Horses are supposed to be afraid of everything… isn’t it?

Album can be found here
(28.06.2008, 9 days young)

That is what most people think – especially the Arab throroughbreds are “known” to be “spooky” – they put their hoofs faster around than you can count. However, it is all a matter of habit and getting used to something in the proper way.

Horses, especially when young, are very eager to know their environment. If their surroundings are quiet (like Mom or the herd) they feel very free to discover new things.
However, if one groupmember or mom starts to be anxious, the foal will run away and will learn that the thing he just did/met was something to be scared of. I would say that the younger the foal is, the stronger the memory to something scary. Muratah happened to have that with the vet and his very first needle. The needle wasn’t the bad thing, but the approach and the rush was bad, as well as his mom was nervous about her 14-hours-old. She *knew* the vet..

The great thing about Sharmenta is that she is used to *so* many things, from fireworks, trucks, to kids and all strange things. The only thing she doesn’t like is the bush and white stripes on the ground. Yes, she fell badly over branches 3 times within 10 minutes in the complete darkness in Holland (just because people thought they were fun to jump over in daylight but left them behind) and also she slipped in front of the cart over wet painting on the road, but for the rest she’s “cool as ice”. A mare who’s trustworthy and reliable, she does warn in several ways before she takes action, and then the action is to walk away.
She doesn’t like kicking nor biting, evades it if it is possible. Only if she has got no other chance she bites or kicks. Keep in mind though that she’s an arab mare. Arabs know revenge, so her revenge for whatever you might have down wrong can come later, when you least expect it. She’s also got something against men, but that’s something from the past where someone confirmed for her that all men are evil and she will act upon. Sorry Klaus, sorry Ric, sorry Martin and sorry Nigel :P

Muratah has therefor got a great example to follow, and as he’s a lil’ stallion, he’s pretty brave. But – he’s not a cuddly toy, so keep in mind the “kick and run”-instinct is burned in at birth. Yes, he does kick and he’s not afraid to do so, but he already learned to differentiate between “good” and “bad”, as his mom shows him whom can be trusted and whom not.

Next to that mom can show him what he could do, so, as they say in dutch “zoals de oude zingen, piepen de jongen” (“as the old sing, the young squeek”) :

sambalmurbal

So, here’s the little man’s curiousity caught in pictures:

A white empty plastic bag (Luzerne from Hartog) was put in the paddock, shortly after he decided to approach it:

approach

Picks it up but can’t lift it as he’s standing on it:

lift

Hears a hoofstamp from his mom and runs away straight to mom:

run

Then approaches again for the 2nd time, much more confident:

closer

As his neck is shorter than his legs he needs to bend his knees like this or he needs to go in ‘giraffe style’ to pickup something from the ground still

Lifts it up, lets’ it go and then takes it again:

liftletgo

watchfollow

Getting so much confidence he decides he takes it to his mom

grab mom

and asks her if she wants to play. She’s busy eating so .. nope..

In the soft approach to touch Muratah to make him get used to being touched I often sit under Sharmenta. She allows me very much, even while eating. Next to his Mom Muratah hasn’t got much reason to run away, and slowly discovers how it feels to be touched. First from behind, the ‘normal’ way he would allow to, but then also even shoulder and hoofs:

hoofs

Slowly but steady were are getting there :) A lot of confidence in this little man!

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