I’ve shared a lot about Indy since his birth. Not only do I love bragging about him and sharing cute pictures, but I wanted to share my experiences to help others learn. I like hearing people’s opinions and thoughts, as well as answering questions. I have learned a lot throughout this amazing journey!
That being said, I do have to draw the line somewhere. Since he has been born I have had calls, emails, Facebook messages, etc from people requesting everything from coming to see Indy to asking if they could take him for a walk.
Yes, I know he’s cute. He loves attention and he loves to give kisses. He would be happy to curl up in your lap or hang out in your pocket for the day.
But guess what? He’s going to grow! Judging from what we’ve already seen, he’s going to be big. So, despite how adorable he is, I have to be a parent and teach him about personal space. Which means, no, I don’t want a bunch of strangers handling him.
Not having my own barn means I have to board them, which is fine, because I have a great indoor, trails, things I couldn’t afford to have for my own property. This also means I am subject to other boarders, and their friends and family.
I remember when Indy was three weeks old I was approached by someone that lived at the farm we were at. He was not a horse person. He had to tell me a “funny story.” His father had come to visit, and because his father had had dairy cattle, they assumed that gave them the authority and privilege to enter my horse’s paddock. His father was also “wicked brave” and had his whole hand in Indy’s mouth!
You can imagine how furious I was. Especially since I had been clear to the property owner that I didn’t want anyone in their stall or paddock. I got pushback from the man when I explained to him that I didn’t want him in the paddock. He told me that it was fine, the horses were good and his father knew large animals. Apparently I hadn’t made myself clear. So I firmly explained that nobody is allowed in with them regardless of what experience they thought they had.
Suddenly, I was the rude, selfish one. He didn’t speak to me again.
Let me explain my side of things.
Putting Indy and Shady’s health and comfort aside, a major concern is liability. If I gave anyone permission to go in their stall, paddock, or otherwise handle and interact with them, I have now taken on full liability. Yes, they are both very well behaved. However, as we know, things can change quickly with horses. I don’t really want to spend the rest of my life paying someone’s medical bills after I have been sued due to the unpredictable antics of a young foal. So no, I won’t be allowing anyone other than barn staff to handle my kids.
Note in this video where he his being a baby, doing baby things like biting at Shady and kicking in my and my boyfriend’s direction. Lucky for us we were always very much on our toes and aware of this behavior and the likelihood of a foal to be a foal. He has since grown out of the kicking habit, and never actually connected with anyone. I do believe that somewhere in his mind he knew it was wrong. Still, as with any horse, you’ve got to always be aware that things could happen, and happen very, very fast.
Liability aside, let’s talk about Indy’s training. Animals thrive on consistency; it’s cruel to confuse them. I have worked hard to teach Indy to keep his mouth, and teeth, to himself. It’s been really, really tempting to give him treats. But I resist, as hard as that may be. I’m not lazy with his training. I am as consistent as I can possibly be. With that being said, why would I want him to be subjected to inconsistency? How confused would he be if one person allowed him to mouth or bite them, then the next disciplines him for it? Do I want someone else to decide to discipline him their way? No; I don’t.
All horses are adorable when they are foals. Does anyone find an ill mannered four year old to be their favorite? Would Indy still be cute as a full grown, pushy, mouthy horse? Nope. He’d be that jerk horse in the barn that nobody likes to deal with.
Unfortunately, when people want to come “play with” your baby animal, they most often aren’t thinking about the future. Indy will be spending his entire life with me and I want to have a wonderful partnership with him. I haven’t had to even raise my voice at him, thanks to the consistency since he was born.
So the next time you ask me if you can do this with him, or if your family member can do that, please understand why I’m saying no.