Current assessment and status: Trusting and Loves to Please!
Opie is a very special boy! He came to us in the Spring encased in rain rot, as a result of his neglectful owner, from which NEER North obtained him from. He was not comfortable with most things, including haltering, fly spray, touching his hind end, etc. He was not worked with at all so he was a wonderful clean slate. Fortunately, there was not abuse in his history so he was trustful. This is probably one of the most wonderful things about him (there are plenty) – when introduced to something new, regardless of what it is, he will hesitate, think about it, look to the person he is with for reassurance, and then completes the task asked of him!
We are going very slowly with him, making sure each step is completed fully, happily, honestly. He has a significant amount of ground work under his belt, ground-ties beautifully in the grooming stall, as well as, in the arena. He will work on the lead/lunge line on the circle very nicely and calmly. He has a nice stop and his gait transitions are smooth. We have also worked him in the round pen, both in halter and at liberty. He now enjoys being groomed, including on his hind, all four legs, under his belly, etc. He is haltered, unhaltered, wears a fly mask (with ears), is fine with fly spray, and is easily caught (even in a 20-acre ish field). He is turned out all day in a herd with both geldings and mares, and spends most nights outside. He enjoys his stall, also, though. He is fantastic for the farrier – ground ties when being trimmed, picks up all four feet and is happy to leave his foot on the hoof stand. He is barefoot and has solid feet. He was also great for the vet when he received his Spring vaccinations (he is completely up to date on vaccinations).
He has been saddled with a neoprene bareback pad with girth and then worked in a circle wearing the pad. He is light and responds really nicely to quiet energy and definitive asks. He has also been ponied off a horse on a trail ride, which he really enjoyed. He didn’t stray, pull, speed up or slow down.
We continuously work on weight gain. He came to NEER North significantly underweight , but has had a slow but steady gain since being with NEER North and, here, at Abenaki Farm.
I believe Opie could go in any direction under saddle, as long as he is introduced to each new challenge in a quiet, respectful way. He is not high energy but is not lazy. He has beautiful, natural gaits. I think if someone tried to rush him into something though, he would lose his confidence. He is very sweet, affectionate and likes to be with people, as well as, horses. He has been exposed to dogs, chickens, dirt bikes, bicycles, and more. He has taken each one of these new experiences with caution at first, then once he knows he is safe, he is confident.