Learning to Trust
Athena, even in her emaciated state, did not take any crap.
Amanda and other volunteers from the rescue needed to get her on a trailer to relocate her so they could care for her properly. But, just touching Athena made her tremble and shake. If she felt too pressured, she would kick and paw, and wheel around the pasture. Amanda and her team tried to corner Athena to round her up, but she would plow through the volunteers. Corralling her didn’t work either – Amanda had to dive through barbed wire at one point to flee Athena! Despite everyone thinking Amanda was crazy (including her husband), Amanda would not give up.
Then, Amanda had an idea. She sat on the ground with a bucket of grain and a halter, so that when Athena came to eat, she would have to put her head through the halter. Amanda would sit quietly on the ground, talking gently to Athena, working on building their trust. It took Amanda four days. She finally got a halter on Athena, but that was just the beginning. The next step was getting Athena on the trailer. Amanda tried to lead Athena, but the horse would rear up and panic.
Finally, after ten days of groundwork, Amanda was able to lead Athena onto the trailer and transport the horse from a trash-filled paddock to a rescue where she could be cared for and receive much-needed veterinary attention.
Unfortunately, just as the bond was building between Amanda and Athena, tragedy struck again. Within 12 hours of being rescued, Athena sliced her leg open – and frayed her deep digital flexor tendon. Terrified of losing Athena so soon after rescuing her, Amanda had three different vets come out to look at her. Despite being told over and over that Athena might not ever be sound again, Amanda wanted to give her a good and loving home.
Athena was mended, put on stall rest, and ultimately recovered. During Athena’s two-month long convalescence, Amanda would sit in her stall and read her the Black Stallion books, just being present with her during her recovery. Five months later, Amanda was cleared to start doing groundwork with Athena and by that time, the pair had formed a close bond. By the time Amanda was ready to put a saddle on Athena, their trust was deep, and everything came together easily from there.