Jennifer Lopez

“There is a horse who needs a new home, the owners can no longer keep her. They have had her since she was weaned, at 4 months old. Much loved pet, she has been well kept with some sheep for company. “

No, I said, we really don’t need another horse, not right now.

“The owners really can’t keep her anymore, and they fear she will end up with the gypsies, they just want a good home for her.”

We can’t take in every horse that needs a new beginning…not with our principal where a horse is with us for life. But, tell me, just out of interest, what do you know about her?

“Well, she is this colour.” he says, pointing at a chestnut horse. “Lusitano crossed with Arab, she is about 4 years old, not ridden or trained.”

No, no, no definitely not. Chestnut mare, do you know what the legend says about horses that colour? Hell hath no fury like the chestnut mare, that’s what it says. Mental, the lot of them.

“Can we at least go see her, she is young and healthy, she could be good, you know, for the rides.”

Well….ok. But we are definitely not buying her. We don’t need another horse. We can’t take in another horse.

“Fine, we will go now, it’s on the way anyway. Just a quick look.”

This was over two years ago.

Yeah, it wasn’t just a quick look! It never is, is it?

Jennifer has had a huge learning curve here with us. She was not used to having a big space to move around in, she was not used to having other equines as company.

Getting her used to her new life took a long while. She had no communication skills with other horses, she was bold and offensive to the others. For a long while I had her just observing the others behind a fence, in her own safe space. Then when I thought she was ready, I introduced her to just one other horse.
Zara, older, calm and sensible, I thought would be the perfect first friend.

It went ok. At first Jennifer, a fully grown adult horse, tried to feed from Zara. Zara wasn’t impressed at her attempts to suckle on her teats, and swiftly told her off. Then the next thing I witnessed was Jennifer mounting Zara like a stallion. This was a true face palm moment, I could tell this was going to be a very long journey into “horsehood” for Jenny.

And it was. It was tough to watch at times… she was so confused. Didn’t understand the others and their behaviours and kept getting into trouble. This phase lasted for a good few months and I thought at times that maybe she will never suit herd life. Maybe she just needs to be alone? I wasn’t going to give up, until I was absolutely sure this was the right thing to do.

But finally, our persistence paid off. Now, she is a very well established member of the herd. She is very good at communicating with the other horses and easy to read with humans too.

Initially I had serious problems handling her, she would lash out unexpectedly and without warnings. Double barrels, biting and striking were things she quite enjoyed doing to people. Not because I pushed her or pressured her, but simply because she did not know how else to express herself. She was like a volcano, except that she had nothing between dormant and active. It was full blast fire or absolutely no activity. Talk about 0 to a 100!

Now she is an absolute sweetheart. She loves people, she is social, brave and inquisitive.
She has grown in confidence both with people and horses and all she needed was time and consistent handling.

This summer, she will learn to carry a rider, see if this kind of activity is something she enjoys. I believe it will be, she is curious and enjoys exploring new places, so I think fun adventures out on the trails will be to her liking.

She is a very sensitive horse and reacts to peoples energies with no filter, this makes her a very interesting horse to observe. The way she interacts with people is very interesting.

She is our very unique freelance therapist, delighted to work on carrot wages.

Pia Saari is the founder and owner of Country Quest Portugal. Throughout her life she has gathered extensive experience with horses in many different ways. She has worked with horses professionally in riding schools, livery yards and racing stables. She has worked in horse rescue and helped numerous horses recover from severe physical and mental negligence. She has studied equine ethology and psychology, learning theory and many other subjects relating to horses. Country Quest Portugal has a mission and a vision to make the world a better place for horses - sharing knowledge by an online course is a very important part of this mission. The course is priced low to make it accessible for everyone who wants to learn how to better care for their horses.