Sara + Apollo
Color Dark Bay
I am mid-life and decided to get “back” into horses after 26 years. After making the decision, I spent years scouring the internet looking at horses. I wanted so much to have a horse again, but I wasn’t sure what my next steps would be. I no longer had a barn, a trainer or barn friends; I didn’t have my horse network. That is, until I heard about My Right Horse through school; I am a second bachelor’s student in Equine Science at Colorado State University. Upon hearing about myrighthorse.org, I added the website to my rotation of drooling over horse images, but I still wasn’t sure about my next steps.
Then, while searching for horses, I came across Apollo (then “Mouse”). He was being trained here in Fort Collins. He was the right size and I loved his pictures and I thought, “I’ll go meet him and, at the very least, I get some experience with this process.” I connected online and expressed interest and easily arranged to visit the barn and meet then Mouse. And it was so easy. Sera the trainer introduced me to Apollo and told me a little about his experience and what they were working on together. She told me about his personality and interests and what she thought his strengths and challenges might be. Everything she said lined up well with my hopes and dreams for what I’d like to try to do with my horse. Then, too, as I watched him, I liked the way he moved. I loved that he was not too tall but seemed well-muscled enough to carry my size. I loved him on our first meeting, and I fall more in love with him every day.
With Apollo, I just had a really, really good feeling about him. It might be more than that – I think he’s super handsome, I love that he’s super sweet and responsive, and I just love the light in his eyes. But, what all that boils down to for me at the end of the day is an ineffable feeling of “I have a great feeling about him.”
Now that Apollo has been home for a few months, we’re starting to bond. Until the last few days, Apollo and I were really just laying our relationship by practicing groundwork. Haltering took some time. He needed a lot of work to feel trustful enough to let me in the “haltering zone” around his withers. So I took it really slowly. I was “carrot lady” for quite a while and that was just fine with me.
In these last couple of days, though, I’ve started actively working with him. I am reviewing communication in the round pen – making sure he and I both know what I mean by “walk,” “trot,” and “woah.” I’ve been working on my body language and observing his responses so that I can start building that basic communication. I think I will continue working on that, and add “stand,” “back” and a lateral movement. Apollo is very smart and eats up the work. He’s going to keep me on my toes to keep pushing him and me to teach him more and more.
I’ve also been working on basic ground manners, grooming, wash rack standing, etc. It all feels brand new to him and gaining his trust and self-confidence in positive experiences is my aim. Today I was able to wash his mane and tail and brush out his tail, which had some burrs and knots. The pictures attached show the result of the work.
What #RightHorse means to me
A team of knowledgeable and kind people. A network of support. The #RightWaytoDoIt. Second chances for horse and human. Magic in mundane. Gratitude. A soft place to land.