Yes, Josepha, Altea has changed considerably. I can tell the secret of good physical conditioning recovery after childbirth, at least in Altea's case. Hard going. Presently she slogs along in mud, and while her expression suggests she doesn't like it, it most certainly works every muscle group, especially the abdominals.
She's very near being ridable, I think. Kate and I have been planning an easy program for her. But she's so feisty I think I'll not let Kate ride for a bit until Altea has settled down some under saddle. We'll see.
As for attitude?
Well, just yesterday, when we were just loving on her after moving she and Bonnie back to the barn from their outing we noticed that Altea was holding her head between us, and fretting with herself whether or not to let these "treacherous humans" relieve those head and ear itchies or not.
And finally, she began to rub her head and present her ears to us. Though you could see a bit of a struggle for her she was softening and loving the attention.
I think about her as though she were one of the traumatized children I used to work with, having been abandoned, as so many of those were, one way or another, by their care givers. Afraid to trust, afraid to attach to another, always testing, quick to pull away from any emotional intimacy, rejecting of attention while acting out to get it, pulled this and and that internally.
I suspect many "bad" horses, when one looks through and past their dangerous behavior, simply have no good reasons to trust human caregivers. Altea lived for 10 years on one place, likely with her brothers and sisters around her, and doubtless her mother, a brood mare, and then one day was taken and put in a traveling box, and never saw, touched, smelled, or heard any of them every again.
She lost her herd. Her entire family in one giant life change. And humans did it.
Three more years, a set of mules and a pony to live with, but again little human touch, and giving birth to a son, who she lived with for two years, then suddenly one day, again placed in a traveling box, and hauled away again - from her new friends, even the little bit of human contact she had.
She needs all the patience and consistency and persistent loving she can and will get. She may never fully recover and be as fully trusting as Bonnie is, but then, she has a good and gentle heart and deserves love - has, in fact, a right to it.
Donald, Nettlepatch Farm
Love is Trust, trust is All
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.