Nova Nova Nova, no longer a baby and, indeed, making that known. I’ve spoken before about Nova’s hormonal struggles, the willingness and sweetness that can flip on a dime to something unpredictable and sometimes dangerous. She is a horse who wants attention and affection, but whose biology fights back against it (with the occasional smattering of conscious effort, a bit of nature versus nurture at work). To keep both horse and human from potentially encountering less than pleasant situations, we have made it so only staff or experienced volunteers clean in Nova’s paddock.

That means that Trudy, our lovely Saturday barn staff, spends time every weekend from afar with Nova, who is always very excited to greet Trudy’s two husky pups (safely, from a distance). After cleaning her paddock, if Nova was respectful of Trudy’s boundaries, Trudy will climb up on the fence above Nova, who slides into place like a puzzle piece. Trudy will then scratch on Nova, whose lip curls up in happiness. This, a horse who has been known to squeal and strike when approached with a halter, reduced to a puddle of sweet, itchy joy.

The classic, “that’s the spot!” face

It is primarily her hind end that Nova takes issue with being touched, though on a ‘bad’ day, that issue could extend as far up as her neck. But with Trudy on the fence, reaching down to scratch, Nova’s boundaries are a lot bigger. Recently, Trudy has stepped up her game and has begun to take Nova’s brush box out with her, turning the itching session into more of a full-blown groom. At a recent visit with Nova, she allowed Trudy to brush down her entire top line, as well as around her cinch area and down her front legs. Again, not anything that hasn’t already been done with this mare countless times, but with her hormonal spikes, something that she has allowed less and less as of late. But in Trudy, Nova has found someone willing to adjust to her unique needs, while eating up every minute of it!