It was a nice and sunny day in the end of March 2018, when Shoni, a new stallion to the valley, ran over to our center. Shoni has been used as an entertainment tool for tourists and had been tied most of his life, a nearby farmer brought him to the valley from where he ran away.
It’s was not a good idea to have a loose stallion around, especially because we don’t want our mares to get out and and have young ones. A solution was found with the farmer and, Shoni, the stallion moved into our center.
Being in the “rescue horse business” we can see that horses that have been tied for years have a funny walk, they just don’t move properly. This takes time to fix. First challenge was to just let him be loose in an area where he could see the other horses but not get out and call the vet for castration. Shoni moved and moved and moved, talked to the “ladies” across the fence, got castrated, ate more and then the first horse he was going to be together with was Ayiti.
First we tried to put him together with Magic and Elena, but that did not work as Shoni was very dominant pushing both around aggressively and at a point had we not let Magic and Elena out they would have gone through the fence. So next try was Ayiti, who was more used to stallions as she already had a number of foals.
Here are some clips from Shoni’s life before arrival to our center and the first meeting with Ayiti:
Shoni complied well to Ayiti and settled with her and Ayiti’s foal Kadoo.
Today, September 9th – 2018, we had our first walk out, through the rainforest to the ruins of the old sugar mill. It was so nice and smooth, Magic kept us company and Shoni was bonding so well with us.
September 10th, 2018 – Ayiti continues to teach Shoni how to behave in a herd. We are amazed by Ayiti’s efforts and for Shoni’s compliance.
September 29th, 2018 – Shoni’s health has improved and front hooves are trimmed. Shoni is moving better, gaining more trust, his personality is coming forward and he starts to get curious and “talkative” with people. He is now able to be in a herd with 3 other horses.
October 10th, 2018 – Sharing Territory with the Family of Five.
14th October, 2018 – out for a walk with Silke, the new working student. We teach Shoni to walk out alone away from his herd. We walk to the forest gardens and then back to the herd and then again. Nice short walks with rewards to find.
17th of October, 2018
We are finding online coaching to get Shoni restarted under saddle and we started the ground work for it – we will be excited to share this new part of our journey with all of you.
28th of October, 2018
We have decided on which online coaching program to use and started the first lessons. Stay tuned we will share more.
December 25th, 2018 – what a change, after ground work, better food and really settling in.
Shoni is going to spend the holidays with Kadoo and Magic – and he is having a lot of (re) training.
February 9th 2019 – Riding has started and Shoni will be ready for rainforest rides some time soon.
18th of February, 2019 – It’s going very well with Shoni, we are taking it easy and we shift between walking and riding. Today Elkin, a volunteer here at the Academy, was riding Shoni on the beach.
We ride just a few minutes and by the time the Sahaja Liberty Training Clinic is here – we will be able to ride three horses for those who wish to try a kind and connected rainforest ride.
1st of March, 2019.
Shoni has his first experience with children at our place, he was very patient and we all felt confident about it.
Working student Eszter arrived and she has alot of experience training horses and she did a wonderful job with Shoni for ten weeks. Eszter did a thorough job with Shoni and after this time we gave Shoni a long nice break.
We are working on getting the hooves in better shape before we start any more regular trail rides. Toes are still long and the heels are under run. We gave Shoni more experiences with different people and he got to discover again and again that they were all nice. After Eszter came Julia, then Tovi, was also around every now and then. I think it was a good way to help Shoni gain confidence in people and learn to relax and interact with us. We also went swimming.
Covid came and there was more time for horses, after a longer break Shoni took some nice trail rides at walk and bit of trot in the area around the Academy.
Hooves are timmed to get in shape every 2-3 weeks and all is improving by the month.
We discovered and learnt to better his problem with the swollen fatlock. So he will have only light riders and when he will offer trot and canter that’s when we will do it.
We restarted the horse school for children and have it open once a week. Shoni is a star. He gets to carry the smallest children and take some walks in the garden. He is very ok with this job and we are happy for all the progress.
We have to say that over these past two years, we have managed to do a quiet and kind rehabilitation and know our way forward. Shoni came shut down and had many physical challenges. After we turned off the “shut down” mode and he was able to “speak to us” some agressional behavior came out, but that was a period that passed and he gained confidence.