When Rachel arrived at The Equine Behavioristís barn she was put into a stall to settle in. That evening Jennifer looked her over, noting scars all down her sides and legs. She also noticed that whenever she touched Rachel, she flinched. At first, The Equine Behaviorist thought perhaps Rachel was deaf and could not hear anyone walking up to her so she was startled whenever anyone touched her Ė but further observation showed that Rachelís ears swiveled around, apparently catching sounds and attracting her attention. Jennifer then wondered if Rachel had vision problems, but when she moved her head near Rachelís head Rachel moved her head away. Considering Rachelís jumpiness and scars, The Equine Behaviorist feared Rachel had been badly abused in her life.
Jennifer began working with Rachel, hoping to teach her that not all humans are cruel. Rachel made slow progress: one day standing still for Jennifer to place a halter on her head, the next day rearing when Jennifer approached her. The Equine Behaviorist was especially cautious around Rachel since it was hard to predict whether each day would be a good day or a bad day.
With kind, consistent and firm handling, Rachel slowly began to change. She no longer reared when haltered, and she seemed to enjoy baths. However she did not like being pet/stroked Ė she flinched each time. She also did not like being brushed, and she reared and struck out whenever the vet tried to vaccinate her. She also broke out in nasty hives, and The Equine Behaviorist began to wonder if she had hyper-sensitive skin: things just bothered her more than other horses.
As Rachel became easier to handle on the ground, The Equine Behaviorist began teaching her to longe, carry a saddle and carry a bridle. Rachel didnít mind the feel or touch of the western saddle, but when The Equine Behaviorist put an English saddle on her and tried to tighten the girth, Rachel began rearing. Jennifer backed up and used the western saddle again and Rachel settled back down.
Obviously Rachel was a horse who needed a very special home Ė one who understood her sensitivities and was willing to work with them. A veterinary student saw Rachel on the rescueís website and inquired about her. Rachelís issues did not bother her, and she loved her when she met her. She ended up adopting Rachel Ė and within months she had Rachelís trust. Rachel let her not only saddle her with a huntseat saddle but they also began training for eventing.
Rachel proves that thereís the right person for almost every horse Ė even those with trust and training issues.