I really enjoyed Michele's post and your comments on animal communicators. In fact, I've been planning a book in which the heroine is an animal communicator. I think it would be a hoot to write.
So this woman proceeded to tell me the mare was being belligerant, and she could get her to load in the trailer frontwards (I load and haul her backwards). She also said she could "fix" her because the mare was a bully (she can be) had my number (only when I let her). She volunteered to have her husband assist me as he was a disciple of a well-known horse whisperer. The minute she said that, I knew I had her. You see, the man who told me to NEVER load my girl frontwards because of her extreme phobia regarding hitting her head happened to be her husband's mentor. I informed her of such, which rendered her speechless and her spectators in shock. I politely thanked her and left.
Which brings up the real subject of my post this month. My mare is claustrophobic to the point of it being a severe phobia. I've learned over the years to work around it. Unfortunately, not everyone who handles her understands her like I do.
If you knew her history, you'd understand where all this originated. As a youngster, she grew fast. As a result, I don't think she realized how big she was. At a few years old, she was being led into her stall. The barnworker didn't bother to open the stall door completely, and he left the latch sticking out. The latch embedded itself between two ribs and almost punctured a lung. She still carries the scars. Six months later, she was caught in a fence at the same boarding stable. She still has those scars, too. Add to that, a trainer who wenched her into a too-small trailer a year later and a broken nose from hitting it on the trailer.
I worked for years with natural horsemanship trainers to cure her issues to a point. I've outlined most of those experiences in past posts, so I won't bore you with any of those details.
Here's the problem. During her recent two-month convalescence and confinement to a stall, her claustrophobia issues have come back. It's really odd, as I'm the only one handling her. She balks coming in and out of the stall. Normally, I don't have problems with her unless someone else has scared her by yanking on her lead rope until she throws her head and hits it on the stall door.
Currently, she has been leaping in and out of her stall, after balking in the doorway. Not exactly a safe thing to have a 1500-pound horse going in and out of a stall like a horse breaking from a starting gate.
To handle her fear of stall doors, I don't turn and face her and pull on the lead rope when she balks like most people would do. I've learned that I need to stand at her head facing the same direction and walk out with her. I repeat until she follows me calmly. I've been working on this for the past month, yet she still leaps in and out of the stall door. It as if she believes a troll is hiding on top of the door to smash her on her head. I'm puzzled because she hasn't had any episodes that I know of what would have triggered this reaction. I don't understand what's going on.
So I, too, have been entertaining calling a animal communicator. Michele's post was quite timely for me. I'd be most interested in hearing anyone's theories as to what may have dredged up this old behavior.