When I got Cassie, I had to put her in livery for a few weeks until I got organised. Move into our new house. Wait for my two new timber stables to be delivered and erected. Cassie went to a small yard about half an hour’s drive away. It was a beautiful yard. The stables were clean and spacious, there was a sand arena and everything was well fenced. It was not ideal. The distance meant I only had limited time to spend with Cassie, and the yard owner’s ideas on stable management were very different from mine. I wanted to be on my own with my new horse to get to know her, but the yard owner would always be there, asking what I was going to do today and watching. And I didn’t always want to do things. Sometimes, I just wanted to be.
When I brought Cassie home, it was a relief. Now I had time. Time to spend in her company, out in the field during the day, and in the stable when I brought her in for the night. Being alone with Cassie without distractions meant I could watch her body language and her expression. I found she enjoyed her body being groomed, but was touchy around her head and legs. I learned that she was very sensitive. In the morning she would be waiting for me to bring her out into the field, head out over the stable door. If I walked up with too much purpose, her head would disappear and she would retreat to the back of the stable. If I just wandered up with my attention elsewhere, she would try to barge out the stable door the moment I opened it.
We didn’t ride, instead I took her for walks around our land. At first, she could be quite tense, head high, body like a coiled spring, ready to flee. I would keep my body relaxed, my energy low and breathe slowly. If my energy was too low, she would run through me. Finding the balance. Time to build trust.