There's always a point with rescues where I end up so frustrated/angry that I can't do anything but cry. Yesterday was that day for me. The mare and I had been working for 20 or 30 minutes on grooming, picking up her feet, and leading with a slack lead rope. We were working on leading without a lead rope and just her halter. I knew I had the whole day open, so I wasn't rushed. I decided to take off her halter so we could work on haltering. I hate leaving the halter on so I really wanted us to get to the point where I could take it off at night. I shouldn't have rushed.
After taking off her halter I just worked on walking up to her, petting her, then walking away. Things took 10 steps back as soon as I tried to put an arm around her neck to loop the lead rope. After that one attempt she wouldn't let me anywhere near her. I decided to start at the beginning again and approach her with nothing in my hands. She wasn't having any of it. I tried everything I knew how to do but I ended up leaving the round pen 3 hours later in tears and no closer to doing more than just touch her shoulder. We were both sweating and tired and I knew that I was getting into "more harm than good" territory.
At this point, Emily had a break in her day and came over to see if she could do anything to help. She was out there for almost 2 hours and although she got closer than I did it was obvious that neither of us were going to have success before it started getting dark. The mare was in the round pen, but she had no shelter or wind break, and it was going to be in the 20's that night. I gave in and called a friend to come over and rope her. He ended up roping and then letting her go 3 times before I came into the round pen. She let me walk up to her, put her nose in the halter, then buckle it. She walked out of the round pen like a dream. I didn't know whether to be angry or happy or just crawl into bed and cry. Mainly I was just relieved that she was back inside for the night and no one was hurt.
It's so easy to rush ahead in situations like this. It's easy to convince yourself that you don't need to do all of the prep work all of the time. It would have been so easy to just crawl into bed and give up for the day. I didn't bring her home just to give up on her because it was a rough day. I didn't start documenting this journey to show just a before and after, skipping all of the battles. I want more people to see what it takes when they rescue a horse. She could've easily gone to a home where she got loose and they weren't able to catch her. She could've ended up in a home where her new owners realized they were in over their head and sold her again. She needs a lot of help to trust people and I know that yesterday set us back in our journey. I can't wait to see her "after" picture but I need to remember that I can't rush us there.