I have been volunteering at a horse rescue called A Hoof and a Prayer since the first of the year, and have been working with a wonderful little Appaloosa yearling filly named Jewel. Jewel and I ‘clicked’ right away; she lets me do just about anything with her, nickers when she sees me and comes running to me when she’s out in the pasture.
Now… I have quite a bit of past horse experience, but never working with a baby before. And… I have ALWAYS preferred geldings, finding the mares much more temperametal. I certainly didn’t PICK Jewel… more like she picked ME.
Yesterday I went out, and as always, went in the stall with her and gave her a couple treats. I was standing slightly in front of her, to her right side, and had my left hand rested on her crest then reached under her neck with my right hand to pat her shoulder. When I did, she pinned her ears and lunged her head, biting at me- she has NEVER done this, ever. I used my right hand to push her neck away from me, and when I did, she spun lightning fast, turning her butt to me, and backed me into the corner, hind leg cocked to kick.
I got a hand on her rump talking to her quietly, and managed to push her butt aside so I could slip out the door. I have never ever been afraid of horses, and Jewel in particular, but my heart was in my mouth at that point.
I thought that maybe her shoulder was sore for some reason and had the barn manager check her; she could find nothing wrong with her, but did note that Jewel was in heat, and her raging hormones could be the cause. Jewel does have a reuptation of being… moody with everyone else. The manager’s comment yesterday was ‘welcome to our world’.
This just breaks my heart. I love the bond tht we had. Since I have so little experiece with babies, and not all that much with mares, I guess what I’m looking for here is: could this episode be because she IS young and her hormonal changes are confusing her, for lack of a better word? Or is she indeed like everyone else calls her… ‘Crazy Jewel’?
Any thoughts and opinions are welcome.