Esme has had a busy summer, spending much of her time learning to wear a saddle (some days, it’s easier than others) and drilling the groundwork basics on the regular. One big hurdle for Esme has been getting comfortable with the rope touching her — her back, her legs, even the area where she already knows the saddle goes. In the video below, Terry works with Esme to help support her through her discomfort in being touched by the rope in different positions and conditions.

Not every horse will have to deal with situations like the ones Esme is preparing for in their lives. Most horses we adopt from SAFE will spend their days working in ways that do not include circumstances where they might be regularly exposed to a rope around their feet or hind, but showing Esme that she can handle the pressure of a rope helps to prepare her for the unthinkable. This work helps to show her that if she ever does get caught in a similar bind — say she were to get tangled up in a fence or have a dangling vine brush her during a trail ride — she can handle it without blowing up in a reactionary way. She may not be quite there yet, but with every groundwork session, she gets a little closer!