My job takes me to many farms for many different reasons. Some people want a better understanding of their horse, some want control of their horse. The reasons go on and on. When I met Gerda Silver last year, my first job would be saddle breaking one of her Haflinger mares. Once that task was done, she hired me to train a Rocky Mountain Mare to drive single. Gerda's interests are diverse, but she has one passion that consumes her life: animal rescue.
When you pass through the gait that protects the animals at Gerda's farm, you drive into a yard where the barns feel more like an extension of your living room. Every animal has a look on its face of relief and relaxation. Amanda Bills is the primary caregiver of the animals at this farm, along with the help of many others.
The horses and donkeys here are either retired from a long life of public service as police horses or are recently rescued from a sale condemning them to slaughter. Depending on the condition of the horse/donkey, rehab duration can vary. Training will then follow as the horses come into good health. Each animal is then put up for adoption for a fee which will cover some of the expenses it takes to get the animal into the adoptable condition it is in now.
Pictured above is King Cole, one of the current horses at Gerda's farm. He is a Dutch Harness Horse, four years old. When King Cole came to Gerda's farm, he was under weight and not even halter broke. Coles hooves hadn't been trimmed in a while. Cole is a very sensitive horse whom really wants to please, he needs a lot of time to learn to trust his handler. Amanda has been teaching Cole to accept new things such as brushing, hoof cleaning and tack. Gerda pushed Cole a little out of his comfort zone and now he accepts the vacuum. Working with his sensitivity, I came into the picture to teach Cole to trust his judgment and differentiate between good actions and negitive reations. Panic doesn't work in a humans world. Stopping and waiting for a que is much better. King Cole now ground-drives, accepts ropes around him and is learning to give to pressure of the bit. This may sound basic for most horses, but most horses haven't been neglected, cattle prodded or mis-handled.
To help continue King Coles training, Animal Inc. needs monetary support. This is easily done by going to Gerda's website and donating. Animal Aid. Inc