Magic was named Malik in the database and is estimated to be 5 years old. When he arrived off the truck, he had a nasty gash above one eye, which his forelock did a good job of hiding and getting stuck too. The first couple of days he was a bit shy and reactive, and while I itched to do something with his eye, it wasn’t the right time. So we just hung out, feeding the grass. By day three he was starting to change his mind, and allowing the briefest of touches to the face. So on day four, when I thought hey, let’s just go get the halter and start playing with it (without the intention of haltering!), imagine my surprise, when within a very short space of time, he was wearing that halter! At this point, I was finally able to trim the stuck ends of his forelock and plait the remainder out of the way. Over the next few days, we practised haltering, letting him out in the paddock, started picking up his hooves, and going out exploring. Using liberty and positive reinforcement as our foundation, he is pretty easy to catch, brush, do hooves, put a rug on etc. He has loaded in the truck, worn a saddle, led out around the farm (both in-hand and off another horse), been sat on and started to learn basic body control. I am not a brave person, yet we are both starting to get more confident with this new idea. His eye is now healing beautifully!
While he is still a little shy with strangers, he can be very brave and willing to give things a try, especially when you break things down in easy steps he can understand. He’s a typical kai, loves his food, and rewards definitely help cement new ideas. Yet he was very reluctant to eat feed initially. I was leaving out buckets of different flavours, with grass on top, sprinkling it over his hay, even soaking nuts and pouring it through his hay without much luck. Eventually, he started picking at the feed-in his bucket, then one day when I was jumping next to him in preparation for leaning over his back, I changed sides, and he turned, sniffed me, and started nibbling at my sweatshirt! This was unusual, so I was busy wondering if… put my hand in my pocket, and sure enough, there were a few nuts in there that he was after! Now he’s getting the hang of ‘sweeties’, I can finally ditch the cumbersome bag of grass over my shoulder in favour of a pocket full of nuts! He is a very special boy, and just a wee bit Magical!