Baby it's cold outside
1 MONTH, 9 DAYS
The first time I tried to put a blanket on Oona she almost jumped out of her skin. Having something draped over her back was terrifying and she was trying everything to get it off. I don't like to back off from something so quickly but I knew that it wasn't going to go well if I continued to push it.
We've been working a lot on trust and just spending time together the last few weeks. She'll come up to greet me whenever I come out to the paddock. She'll follow me around while I clean. A few days ago we started working on putting a rope over her neck. She wanted to run away from it but it was different from the first attempt with the blanket. I was able to make her stand through it just long enough to then take away the pressure. She quickly realized that I wasn't going to hurt her.
Today I decided to reintroduce her to the blanket. She still prefers to have people on her right side so I decided to follow her lead and work on that side. I started by petting her neck and shoulder with the blanket draped over my arm. She would try to move away from me but would eventually stop if I stayed with her. We then moved to petting her neck and shoulder with the blanket. The next step was petting her with the blanket and then dropping half of it over her neck. It's the same process that we used with the rope and she seemed to understand it quickly. The big difference is that the blanket makes sounds and she's being touched all over all at once. I had to stop myself from rushing so we took the blanket off and repeated the process a few more times.
At this point I buckled her chest straps and pulled it over her hind end. Now it was time for the belly and leg straps. I'm so thankful that we've been working on touching her legs and stomach because I knew I had to reach underneath her to pull the straps across her underside. She could've lost it completely and run me over while I was in that position. She decided to trust me and, although she was tense and flinched a bit, she stood still while I buckled all of the straps.
This isn't how I wanted her blanketing to go. I wanted to wait until she trusted me more and could be more relaxed with the whole process. However, the temperatures in our area are predicted to drop dramatically next week. She has shelter but it's hard to fight off negative temperatures while also trying to gain weight. For now she's getting used to the feeling of a blanket and straps touching her all over. I wish it had been a less stressful process for her but I am so thankful that she decided to trust me enough to work through it with me.