December 2006

I bought Jasper a pretty plaid halter for Xmas photos and he actually let me put it on him and take some shots! I was quite proud of him, as the halter jangled and clanked and he could have said’ lady, you’re crazy if you think I’m putting that thing on’! Yet, he stood perfectly still and let me clumsily get it over his big head. It JUST fit!

Here are some shots of myself and Jasper as well as my scaredy cat husband who now calls Jasper ‘the gentle giant’!


Over the past several weeks, the owner of the ranch and I have been working with Jasper. Michelle is an animal communicator and does reiki on horses as well. After a brief session with him, she got from him that he felt the halter meant he would be taken away. That is why he was so afraid of it. She tried to communicate to him that we just wanted to put the halter on him, not take him away and she felt he understood what she was telling him. She also felt his loneliness. I feel that too from him and I feel terrible about it. We are going to solve that soon, with getting him a friend but first things first. Ever since Michelle’s ‘talk’ with him he had made a complete turnaround. I can stand by his head, touch him and take the halter on and off! Little morsels of his beet pulp help, but I would eventually run out of treats and he would still stick around. Last week I was able to brush half of him. Quite an accomplishment from just a few weeks ago!

I have not written in quite some time. The reason being that we have been through so much.

Firstly, Jasper did arrive safe and sound….and scared out of his wits. The hauler did not make frequent stops as he was supposed to and only came by himself. Poor Jasper didn’t know what was going on. Then the place where I was to board him turned out to be run by┬ásomeone who labelled Jasper as untrained and dangerous as soon as he got off of the trailer.

I was devastated…and worried about Jaspers care.

The long version of this story involves me running around a pasture with a cross dressing hauler(not kidding) – the short version is we moved him out of there quickly and

Jasper in the willows with his butt to me, a view
I was becoming very accustomed to.

to a much nicer place further north. A bit more of a drive but worth the peace of mind knowing he was going to get great care. The owner has a number of rescues and trains with natural horsemanship. The one disadvantage was he would not have a large pasture to roam around in but he did have a nice large paddock.

Now I was left with a very sad horse who had not had as much training as I was led to believe and had come to equate a halter and myself with something scary. I could barely touch him without him running away. My lifelong dream of owning a horse was starting to look like a complete disaster. Over the next several weeks, I spent almost every day coming to the ranch and just sitting in the paddock reading a book, minding my own business. The goal was to let him know that I wasn’t there to do anything to him and to let him come up to me. Curiosity would eventually win out and he would approach and give me a good sniff, then walk off again. During this time, I got my hands on any video and books on natural horsemanship I could find to educate myself as much as I could. I am so used to being the best at everything I do – programming, sewing….but this horse had me flummoxed. I would go home feeling so dejected because no matter how much I tried to be non-threatening he was still very much afraid of me.

At the point I was feeling utterly despondent about the situation, I saw a glimmer of hope.

I went to the ranch with my regular pail of beet pulp as an afternoon treat for Jasper. As I got out of my car Jasper put his head over the fenceline and let out a large whinny. Could he be happy to see me? That day, Jasper actually came up to me and we played in the water trough together. He loves to splash the water so I would lean down and do the same, which he seemed to like. As I left that day as my car wheeled out of the driveway and past Jaspers paddock, he saw me and walked down to the end to watch me leave. Right then and there, I knew there was some hope and maybe we could make it down this long road together….