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The Hazel Tree by Julia Debski

The Hazel Tree

by Julia Debski

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Casper's Story

I realized looking back over my posts over the last year and a half or so that I have never mentioned Casper's story. Indeed he has been weaving in and out of posts for almost a year now. You all know Sharlie's background and history (They are the very first posts on the blog. Click here to go to the first post.) So it is only fair for me to tell you about Casper.

Casper is a 13 hand pony. His coat is seal brown. We thought he was 12 or 13 years old until this summer where by examining his teeth we discovered he is probably only 6 or 7! When he first arrived at Mercy Stables he was extremely green, unconfident and extremely right brain. (He belonged to the stable) We didn't have much chance to interact, especially after I got Sharlie. I tried to stop thinking about Casper but I always seemed to notice him. I watched him...I subconsciously discovered where his favorite tree was, where were his sensitive spots and how he kicked out at the other horses- Left hoof first, but it was the right hoof that usually made contact with the other horse. Soon I started trying to involve myself in his life because I did not agree with the way he was being trained and used.

When the cold came in December 2009 it gave me the chance to interact with Casper on a daily basis. When no one was around or watching, I would go and sit by the fence with a few treats, waiting patiently for him to walk up to the fence. I fed him through the little wires squares which began a game of him sticking his nose through holes and me tickling it. Soon he started meeting me there when he was near by. Then I started barely stepping into the field by the gate and feeding him there. By early February Casper was allowing me to start touching his face and neck.

Something I forgot to mention is that Casper hadn't been caught since July 2009 and was not planning on being caught anytime soon. So when I began to play with him in the field with ropes, I had to start out with hay strings. These are the steps I used to get him accustomed to strings & ropes.
1. string around my leg or waist.
2. he would let me hold it in my hand.
3. then touch him with the string in the other hand.
4. hay string on back, flank and legs.
5. string around neck.
6. move up to savvy string and repeat steps.

By the time I was to step 4 with the savvy string it was mid-march. When it came time to catch him (not through my choice) to move him to another field. Ever since then I have been slowing playing with him to teach him that he can trust me.
At the beginning of August we arranged to lease Casper for 1 year from Mercy Stables to prevent him being sold. I have always felt a connection with him and it broke my heart to maybe lose him to someone unknown and that didn't listen to him the way I do.

Casper is still green but with time and patience I know he will make a very good pony. I think he will be an excellent trail pony or cross country. He would be a great carriage horse if I could build up his confidence enough. Though my goal for this year is for him to become a reliable and trusting trail horse.

So that is his story. There was a bit of drama concerning him at the stables a few months ago but it has all cleared up. I am happy that the people at the stables have decided to give him a second chance. But more appropriately, all humans at the barn need to deserve a second chance from him.

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