Nina’s story. A few years ago, Nina adopted Obelix…
“You don’t choose a horse, the horse chooses you!”
When I left Hamburg in Germany and came to live in Tuscany, I brought my trotter mare with me.To keep her company, my partner and I decided to adopt a gelding, also a trotter. They immediately bonded very strongly, and gave us inspiration to add to our little herd. Along the road I took to work every day I would pass a sign saying IHP Italian Horse Protection, an Association I had heard about. Curious, I went to visit the Rescue Centre. During this visit I met Obelix, a grey draught horse, hardly bigger than a pony. Sadly, at that time, he was terrified of humans and wouldn’t let anyone get near; I was told he had just arrived, one of a very large group of horses that had been legally seized, and was badly traumatised.
This was the horse I wanted to adopt! I thought only of Obelix, I wanted him in our family at all cost, but for a long time I fretted that it would ever happen. Obelix was a wild horse, no-one could get near him, he had been too badly treated before IHP came to save him.
But with the help, support, advice and guidance of Sonny, we began to create a rapport with Obelix, for two or three sessions a week, inviting him to trust us. Thanks to the steady contact, always the same routine, we managed step by step to inch a little closer to him, to offer him some food, to touch him, and slowly slowly to win a smidgin of trust. With gentle patience we got him to accept a string around his neck, and then within a few days to halter him. Then came the start of being able to stroke him, and go for little walks with him.
I shall never forget the day we took him home: we picked him up in the afternoon and then left him free to explore his new paddock. Obelix very quickly became a very calm horse, though also very curious, he is sweet natured and patient. He found his place in our group and integrated very well. Life is never dull with Obelix! He makes me smile anew every day – he will have a mane full of new burrs each day, and every morning we have to hunt for him because he will inevitably be somewhere other than grazing in the paddock. He is a mountaineer too: all he needs is to spot a tuft of grass and he will get to it. If I sit down on the ground, he is there to keep me company; he will try to eat my hair, or just lie down beside me…yes it was the right choice, to adopt a horse, a wild horse. The moment Obelix chose to trust me is one of my life’s greatest gifts.
The story of Obelix:
Obelixis one of a very large group of horses that IHP brought to safety from the Rome/Frosinone Colleferro Operation. A local person had accumulated over 200 equids – horses, ponies, donkeys, mules and hinnies – just leaving them to fend for themselves over vast acres of land, some even in more urban settings. The operation in which the legal seizure took place was one of the biggest ever rescues of equids in Italy – watch the video here