Brego's story needs a whole post of its own. His life story, how he came to me and how he has healed and progressed with us, could almost be a book. But I will keep it as short as possible, as this is a Post after all not a biography, though I do think he deserves one!
Brego, our King, is also a very traumatized horse, having been brutally abused, beaten, physically and mentally, there are not enough words to describe this, except he will remain traumatized to a degree for life, or so I believed. I saved him several years ago. At that time you could not approach him or touch him, he would attack. With love, patience & clicker training I gained his confidence & healed him physically and as much as I could mentally. He was a bag of bones and had been in a bad car accident, crushed teeth and jaw, holes in his side, on his forelegs. Now he is big, fat gorgeous and has even a little bit of a beer(grass) belly.
He has learnt to trust me, and can be very sweet, he is curious and loves interaction and attention, but there are times when a memory is triggered, he looses it completely and becomes defensive, then attacks. He was so often cornered with no where to escape, it was his only recourse. Horses aren't violent by nature, but when pushed so far, they must protect themselves. It is very sad to see one who starts to trust the love and care, but then fears he might be beaten again, just as a human.
I ride him on treks, along the beach. With clicker training he has learnt to come when called, stand when being mounted, back all the way across the pasture, turn on his haunches and forehand, ground tie for a good length of time., head down and put his head in his halter. But loungeing or any type of training where there is any pressure he looses it. It can be very scary to see or be part of. A slight wisk of the rope and he can loose it. So in some ways I have tippy toed around him, and he has accepted to do so much that is asked of him. The only way I can halter him is when I ask him to put his head in the halter himself, which with clicker training he does. But everything is still on his terms. I am proud of him and how much he has accomplished and managed to over come. But he still remains dangerous for others, and even to me, if I pressure in any way. Loungeing he would dive at you to take a bite. (He had been driven in circles beaten by the whip with the previous owner) So we didn't do much of that, though I had started him at a walk around me on the line, without pressure of going into the trot and being very careful not to flip the lead in any way. Needless to say he is a challenge, and I was starting to wonder if ever I would be able to ride him without a constant worry and question in the back of my mind of when he was going to blow when something triggered him. I knew he needed to see me as leader, so he would feel safe and follow my lead, but I was at a loss of how to accomplish this, after all I had tried.
We have a strong connection, of this I know, when he sees me, he runs to me. I call his name, he calls back. I had had him gelded when I first got him, he was 11 at the time, but he still remains the proud stallion at heart. If I could free him of his fears, he would shine gloriously. He is special and different. Javier said, it is often the difficult horses who have suffered immensely that become exceptional ones.
Brego entered the arena, alert, aware. Javier took the lead, took his time to make a connection, then he asked him to move out onto the circle. Brego did and then the fight began. You could see he was looking for any second of unawareness on Javiers part to come in on the attack and bite.
But Javier remained calm, focused, his energy quiet yet firm, with all of Brego's antics, Javier's energy remained the same. Brego rebelled, tossed his head, but as he saw that Javier had no intention to hurt him, he started to relax a little, still very aware of all that was happening, very aware of Javier, but he was paying attention to this man in the center. I must mention here that Brego hates men with a passion, he has no trust in them at all.
But this man was different, his energy was calm, gentle yet strong, Brego's mood started to change as he began to respect Javiers presence, realizing that when Javier asked him something and he complied, he was released of all pressure and rewarded.
Today this class ended with Brego seeing Javier in a different light, acknowledging that here was someone he could respect but also not fear.
I was proud of Brego, I was grateful to Javier, I know I had accomplished alot over these last years for Brego's healing to happen, and this is what he needed now, the next step in his transformation to become a whole horse once again, after humans had so horribly hurt and abused him, he was still capable of learning to trust and be free and Javier was making this possible.
Javier walked Brego home, in the dusk, asking him to keep a certain distance, to pay attention and all would be well, and all was well as he entered his stall where his love and partner Anya awaited him, he rolled in the fresh wood shavings and had his dinner.
Sunday, the second day of the clinic, we began earlier in the morning and we began with Brego. He entered the arena, but this time with a different energy. He was alert, but there was a centered and regal awareness about him. This time when Javier asked him to out to the circle, he complied.
There were a few moments of discussion, but it was not a rebellion, he was testing the waters, When he encountered the same gentle yet firm and consistency of Javier, he relaxed and then he showed us his Kingly and elegant movements. He was royal and beautiful as he was longed at a walk and trot. Something that was impossible until yesterday.
After a few circles, Javier mounted him. A new test, a few moments of transition, of worry, am I safe, must I protect myself, must I fight? Then when he got the same answer everytime, he relaxed. I later rode him in the arena too. Where yesterday when I had got on him, I felt an atomic bomb under me, today was a soft awareness.
Brego, you have been through so much because of humans and now in turn it is us who must show you that there are humans of whom you can trust. I know you have this spark inside you, you are a King, you are so inteligent and have showed such amazing forgiveness, and we owe it to you to make this possible for you.
With many thanks to Javier Breton Perez, I believe Brego can make this last step into a world where he can live with peace & trust. Many years ago I made a promise to him, I would never let anyone hurt him in any way again, I am happy to say, that I am keeping my promise.