Birthday: January 1, 2013
Hope was rescued along with Valiente in October 2013 by A.R.C.H (Andalucian Rescue Centre for Horses).
Hope was underweight and had a nasty abscess on her leg. After further examination it became clear that she was blind in one eye and only had partial sight in the other. The vet concluded that the blindness had occurred because she had been shut in a dark stable for so long.
Hope was very nervous of people to start with, but slowly but surely with the wonderful care and attention from the ARCH staff and volunteers she
began to regain her confidence again.
In September 2015 Hope arrived at Cortijo de Segura.
Segura soon made Hope and Valiente feel at home.
Hope was busy and reactive with out much thought process going on which could have been due to her partial sight causing some anxiety.
Helping Hope to relax was the next step in her stay. Giving her something to focus on was important, but for a partially blind pony it was more of a challenge. Using a fly swat as a target with a small bell attached was the answer. The bell guided her attention and when she touched the fly swat target she would receive a “yes that’s it!” by way of a click and then backed up with a reward.
We used a mixture of scratches as Hope loves them and low value food (alfalfa nuts). Hope learned to follow the sound of the bell. It was more effective than just using voice as it is more distinctive. After following the bell she would find a traffic cone to help her station and stand still. Being able to stand still and wait calmly was a big step for Hope, it meant she could really start to learn. With an overactive brain we all find it hard to learn!
Introducing agility obstacles became a big favourite of Hope’s. She learnt to place her feet on a pedestal, push a large ball with her nose, stay and recall. We also introduced her to long reining and scent work.
Agility sessions helped Hope learn about her environment and how to explore in a much more thoughtful way. She always had choice and a voice so she could tell us if something was too challenging giving us the chance to adapt it for her or do something different.
Unfortunately Hope’s sight deteriorated further. Living in a mixed herd of 8 other horses in a 15 acre paddock became more challenging. Valiente had become “one of the boys” in the herd and enjoyed playing leaving Hope on the perimeter of the herd. It became clear that the herd were ignoring Hope more and more.
We had the facilities to separate Hope and Valiente from the rest of the herd. Hope still very much wanted to be part of it, but it wasn’t safe for her. The scenario didn’t work for Valiente either because he was now bonded with our mule foal. It was heart-breaking to watch Hope looking lost and alone as the other horses moved easily around the 15 acre paddock as a herd.
It was a very hard decision, but after talks with ARCH it was decided that Hope now needed further assessment and veterinary care which would be best provided by her original vets. Claire accompanied her on the journey. Loading her onto the lorry was hard, but she walked up the unfamiliar ramp with complete trust in Claire. All the time we had spent together hanging out and playing meant that the lorry was just another agility obstacle and she travelled brilliantly. Once at A.R.C.H., Claire showed her round so she new where the boundaries were. She soon settled in and immediately began bossing the donkeys around. Claire was sad to leave her but knew she would be happy there.
You can donate to A.R.C.H through Teaming:
Positive Horse Training Spain
Calle Cortijo del Amo, 3
Cacin, Spain 18129
Mobile: 0034 / 6966 72477
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Registered Charity Number: G19707751