Melanouri was born in 2012 as daughter to the lead mare Jenna. Melanouri is intelligent and inquisitive, physically she is healthy, grounded and controlled. She has a strong independence and freedom that I deeply cherish and admire.
Melanouri has not been trained. With us she has in the beginning also kept to herself, keeping a distance and refusing physical contact and treatment. I do not experience her refusal as fear but as distrust. We have let her be, sometimes inviting her without expectations but just as often leaving her be. We continued treating all the horses with softness, hoping she would somehow find a reason to trust us. Often from a distance I would feel her watching me, and there was a very strong connection in how she observed.
For us this has been an exercise in truly accepting her as she is, being aware sometimes of a subtly hidden agenda. I felt she was somehow struggling herself with her pose – wanting to change but not knowing how. And although she did not seem to trust us, we very much trusted her.
Lately there has been a change. Partly we instigated this by insisting she at least wears a halter like the others when we go out with the herd. She refused the halter. We let out the herd into the adjoining field to graze but kept her inside, and stood patiently at the fence with the halter in our hands. She understood and after a while accepted. I feel the calmness and softness with which we enforced this one thing has made a significant difference.
A few days later something very surprising happened. I had been with the horses for a while, doing some exercises with touch and watching the responses. There was a great sense of peace and calmness in the herd. I fetched a bareback pad and did some exercises with the young gelding, letting him get used to the feeling of something on his back. Melanouri was following us around. And when I took the bareback pad off, she came close. Her question was palpable: ‘will you put in on my back now?’ I did, she willingly let me close the girth and adjust the pad, and then we walked around the field together. I felt elated and I could see she was very pleased with herself.
So the journey continues…