Esme came to SAFE alongside Edward and Jacob, and while they all got along quite well, being the only girl in a herd of boys does have its downsides. She could certainly hold her own, but the boys picked on her a bit, as horses figuring out herd dynamics are want to do. Eventually we split the trio up, and for a while, Esme was in a paddock by herself – across the street neighbors with Edward, but given a moment outside of having to deal with essentially older brothers.
When Pepper hurt her leg, she was moved to a paddock beside Esme’s, and the two were fast friends. For a time, Esme was not keen on being caught by anyone aside from her main trainer, so she was living outside 24/7. At turn-in time, when Pepper would leave to go inside for the night, Esme would call to her, and in the mornings when she returned, it was clear Esme was happy to see her back. Once Pepper’s leg was healed, we decided to turn these two girls out together.
It was a success. After some brief initial squealing on the halters, the girls were turned loose without much hullabaloo. There was one kick from Esme, but no one was injured, and the tension dissipated immediately. For the most part, the girls just explored the new space together, Pepper following on Esme’s heels.
The very next day, the two were sharing hay from a hay net together, clearly destined to be best buddies. When Pepper left the paddock for a trail walk one afternoon, Esme called out to her friend – “where are you going without me?” – and was very delighted to see her return.
In addition to this new friendship, Esme has also started coming into a stall in the evenings. Wary to be caught at first, she quickly adjusted to coming in at turn-in time, and soon was trotting right up to the gate, even more eager to be caught than Pepper. Seeing her now, it is hard to imagine that she is the same flighty and fighty girl who arrived last summer – she has become a gentle friend to Pepper, and an easy, respectful horse for her handlers.