A few weeks later, Farmer Jo started the process of breaking me in. I was still too young to be ridden, but I could be taught to come when I was called and learn to be lead on a lead. But the first part of my breaking in was mainly interaction with humans, since I had had little of it.
On a Thursday afternoon, Jack (Farmer Jo’s farm hand) came into our paddock with a small halter in his hand. Panic-stricken, I galloped as fast as I could to Mother and Prince, who I thought could protect me. Just before I reached Prince, Mother cantered towards myself and abruptly stopped just before she reached me.
“Jilla, what do you think you’re doing!” Her voice was calm, but firm. “You’re acting as dumb and stupid as a scared Arabian filly. Calm your self, and remember who you are, not a normal horse, but my foal. And never let me see you act as stupid as that again.”
At the time, I thought Mother was being very harsh on me, after all, wasn’t running from ‘danger’ the normal response for a horse? Later I realised that Mother wanted to protect me from becoming a ‘bad’ horse.
My natural timed nature could end up getting me into trouble. If I relied on my fright/flight instinct, I would be even a dangerous horse for humans to ride. I would bolt as soon as something startled me, and few humans want to buy a horse that is likely to bolt.
I had to learn the hard way how to trust humans, even when I didn’t want to. I would never succeeded at jumping, if I couldn’t trust my rider.