Lucy & Tao

♡ Best friends:

Lucy and Tao @haflingeratliberty

♡ Tell us a little about Tao!

Tao is a 14 year old, 14.1hh Haflinger who is semi-retired due to arthritis. He enjoys trail rides and liberty. 

♡ How did you meet your horse?

I saw Tao’s ad on Facebook and he ticked all my boxes. I sent a message to his owner but she never saw it as it went into her ‘others’ folder. I didn’t know how else to contact her, so I kept looking. I was due to view a 2 year old haflinger one Saturday but his owner pulled out last minute. One of my friends found Tao’s owners number and called her for me to set up a viewing. We went together and the rest is history! 

haflinger horse with friendship halter

♡ How long have you known your horse?

We will have been together for 7 years in July 2020.

♡ What is the biggest obstacle you have faced with Tao?

The biggest obstacle we have overcome is Tao’s separation anxiety. It’s always there, but he *copes* so much better now and can even stay in the field on his own. 

halfinger horse groundwork

♡ Does Tao have any funny quirks?

Tao has so many quirks, I could write a book! Some are funny - like waiting until I’ve walked away to open the box outside his stable to try to get to his bag of treats. He is so smart! Others are sometimes tricky to handle - his coping mechanism when stressed is to *run*, which is difficult to manage sometimes when stressful things outside of my control happen. 

♡ What is your favorite trait of his?

My favourite trait is how friendly he is. He loves children and dogs. Often when we are out hacking, I will get dragged over to go and say hello to walkers! 

haflinger horse cute nose

♡ What is the most annoying thing Tao does?

The most annoying thing. Always opening the box outside his stable 🤣 every single day. It makes me laugh but also drives me crazy! He always has to be busy and doing something - he can’t just stand still, so you can never leave him unattended if he’s on the yard.

♡ Is there one thing you are most proud of about Tao?

I am so proud of the trauma he has overcome. He must have been weaned suddenly and traumatically to cause such extreme separation anxiety. At some point he has been beaten (when he came over to the U.K. he was at a dealers yard for some time) - he has been terrified of some men to the point he’s been shaking and if you walk up to him with an object like a rug in the field he is so scared that he won’t let you near him. He will now allow me to do this as long as I have treats - but not anyone else. He was also so thin at one stage that you could see most of his bones - quite some feat for a Haflinger! He is such a friendly and loving horse despite all that. He loves people. Says a lot about his personality. 

haflinger riding bareback in halter

♡ Tell us a funny story about Tao!

A funny story... I have some great videos of Tao playing with his friends. One is him grabbing his friends tail, while his friend grabbed his and they were spinning around in a circle 🤣 

♡ Do you have any big plans for your future together?

I don’t have any big plans for Tao, he is semi retired now. I just want him to be happy. My big dream is to have a cottage and some land so that I can have Tao and some friends ‘at home’.

cute haflinger cuddles

Photos by @ameliamaymedia