Gabby, SAFE’s first mule intake, has been in foster at Trisha’s home since March. Although she has never been to SAFE’s property, she is in excellent hands, and we so enjoy Trisha’s updates on her progress and training. She is doing an excellent job with her! Here is a recent post from Trisha along with a video of Gabby picking up her hind feet:

What you see:
Gabby allowing her hind hoof to be lifted and handled. She’s relaxed. She starts to pull the hoof away a few times, but then relaxes and allows it to continue to be held. She needs to work on duration, get used to it being manipulated in various ways, but we’re in a good state and all that will come.

What you don’t see:
The months of work to get to this point.
The incredibly fast and accurate kicks hitting the fence between you.
The number of times you researched, changed your methods and started over because she wasn’t understanding what you wanted.
The self-doubt.
The frustration that you have to calmly hold in each time you realize this isn’t working again, because you know frustration is not productive.
The celebrations of the littlest things that showed you were getting through to her.

Training often looks boring and simple when the animal is getting it because you haven’t seen the long journey they have made to get to that point.

Gabby has been such a wonderful challenge so far. She’s made me get creative and think outside the box. Things that came easy for Cara and Hazel take months to master. Things that were hard for the horses don’t phase her at all. When you introduce a new task to her, you never know if it will be learned easily in a single session or take a long time. She keeps me on my toes both metaphorically and sometimes physically — though thankfully less and less of the latter! 

Every animal I work with teaches me as much as I teach them. If I ever stop feeling like I have more to learn, that will be a sign that I need to stop training.”