Alfie was a carnival pony…. He spent his days working and walking in circles over and over and over giving rides to kids at different carnivals, without much time to actually “horse.” These kids had visions of riding a horse and not really “seeing” him for who he was. As a “fun” trick he would be given lemonade and funnel cake as a way to further entertain. He did what he was told and was obedient to his owner until he met a woman who really wanted to give him a good home where he could slow down some, living his days with other horses and still take care of little ones. Her family loved on him, gave him freedoms, he got to see some really loving kiddos who cared for him and wanted to keep caring for him. However, he was still struggling to know what being a horse is and how to be with other horses. Her kids grew up and she felt she needed to find him another loving home and that’s where we met!
He is sweet as can be and wants to be sweet, but you could tell that the years at the carnival were stuck in there and that he was going to need a moment or two to decompress from it. The first several weeks we just spent unwinding, getting familiar and de-stressing. After a few days I would go into the pasture to move the horses around and he would stare concerned about the haltering situation and frankly wouldn’t let me do it. He needed to trust that I wasn’t going to take him away from his new family, safety and rest. We could pet and snuggle but no halters. It was noticeable that some of his sense of freedom was coming back but knew that halters meant work, so he was not comfortable with that idea anymore and he got to make that choice. We have given him several more weeks “off” showing him that he is free and now every evening he sees us come out to pasture, he whinnies telling us how happy he is to see us, trotting his little legs as fast as possible up to us!
He still questions the intentions of us humans and sometimes gives us a run for our money (he likes to “think thin” through some of our secondary fencing sometimes)! He will happily accept all treats and LOVES scratches!
What’s great is that he has come to realize (at least I think so) that, this is safe and he will NEVER be ridden again and that people actually want to listen to him! (Ever not feel heard??) He has had enough and is retired from that. He will spend the rest of his time learning that people are here for him and not the other way around!! My favorite things about him is his sense of cautiousness, need for support, observation, advocacy and patience.