Last week we wrote about all of the drama involved before we picked up Freya. You can read the first post HERE. this week’s post is about picking her up and the beginning of her rehabilitation.
We were going to wait to pick the new horse up until the end of the month, but thankfully we were able to readjust our schedule to get her a week early. I hadn’t heard anything from the woman who demanded that she should take her, while at the same time insisting that she didn’t want her, so that was a plus.
Kathi went with me (Elizabeth) to pick up the new horse. It was a lovely morning, but as is often the case, it just took me forever to get us on our way. I also had to stop at the gas station as the truck only had about 1/2 of a tank of gas, and I didn’t want to stop in Ramona. Eventually, however, we were on our way.
The trip was relatively easy, although we had a few angry people who didn’t like the fact that I drove the speed limit on the windy mountain roads out there. We eventually pulled up to the facility and were met by the horse’s owners and Titan’s owner (Titan is doing awesome, by the way- we’ll do an update on him soon!).
While I was there, I was also introduced to a woman who helps to take in horses from auctions and rehabilitates them for sale. We don’t help people buy and sell horses, but we do help network horses who are free to good homes. The woman seemed very nice and was obviously in way over her head. She had 13 horses, some at the boarding stable, and some at her home. She told me about one horse who was at her home who she said had been used as a tripping horse and could not be touched at all. There was a very sweet little three year-old filly in one of the box stalls who she said could not be haltered, meaning that she had not gotten out of her stall for two full years. I was heartbroken. The filly came right up and nuzzled me when I said hi to her. So much of me wanted to stop right there, grab a halter, and spend 20 minutes in the stall with her. I have zero doubt I could have put the halter on her with little fuss. I had to remind myself that I was there to pick up one horse- and that we only had room for one horse (and, truthfully, we didn’t even have room for that one horse). I gave the woman my number and told her to contact me so we could help her find homes for her horses. So far, I haven’t heard from her at all.
The morning was getting warmer, so we walked over to see the horse we were there to pick up. She was smaller than I expected, but she had gained quite a bit of weight with the feeding program we had designated. She was obviously still skinny, but her coat was shiny and she looked a lot healthier than she did than even three weeks ago. She hadn’t been out but a few times in the three weeks she was there, so she looked a little anxious, and kept moving her head around, so I had to duck and weave a few times so I didn’t get clocked.
I led her out and to the trailer, and crossed my fingers that she would load and we could get on our way before it got any hotter. We’ve been lucky recently in that the horses we’ve rescued have pretty much walked right into the trailer, so I hoped our luck would hold.
It did not.
Not only did the horse not want to load, she didn’t want to get within 10 feet of the trailer. She refused to even walk near it, instead almost running me over as I tried to walk her by it. Within five minutes, it was fairly obvious that we needed to do something else.
I handed her over to Titan’s owner while I got my dressage whip from the trailer. The dressage whip isn’t very strong, and I tap-tap-tapped her alongside where a rider might cue her to go forward, while also gently pulling on the rope. She went forward. I tap-tap-tapped her in the front, while gently pulling on the rope to stop. She continued to go forward and almost ran me over, so I tapped harder, and she finally stopped. We continued this for a few minutes, until she would spin around me before stopping. She was obviously agitated, but she wasn’t being hurt. I walked her next to the trailer, however, and as soon as she got near the trailer, I stopped tapping, and didn’t ask her anything. After a few minutes, she realized that when she was near the trailer, I left her alone- she liked it when I left her alone. Another minute later, she walked right into the trailer without a problem.
We closed up the trailer and headed home without incident. When we got to the barn, she was still pretty pushy and didn’t seem to understand one of the laws of physics- that no two objects can occupy the same place at the same time- and kept pushing into me or trying to whack my head. Overall, however, she was a good girl, and we walked her up to her stall.
She looked around her stall and was relatively calm up there. We got her some hay and some watered-down pellets, which she LOVED. We also made her some grain with some rice bran, which she had been getting for the past month, which she loved even more. We didn’t want to shock her system at all, so we kept to the same food that she had been getting for the past month, especially as it was obviously successfully putting weight back on her. She didn’t seem to mind the fly mask or the fly wraps we put on, either- overall, the only drama we had that day with her was getting her into the trailer.
My biggest concern, however, was the fact that her hind pasterns had obviously fallen especially the right leg, meaning that her suspensory tendons had either been torn or were stretched out. Sometimes this occurs because of an accident; sometimes this is just hereditary. I wanted to make sure that the vet looked at her, however, to ensure that she was not in pain, and that she could be successfully rehabilitated- not as a riding horse, but to be comfortable turned out, walked around the property to be groomed, etc. We just wanted to make sure she was not in constant pain.
At this point, I needed a name for her. Her given name was Jericho, but I really didn’t care for it- and I especially did not want a horse who had lameness issues named after something that fell! She is part Dutch Warmblood, part Anglo-Arab (Thoroughbred/Arabian cross), so I figured she deserved a name worthy of her heritage. I’m not too well-versed on Norse gods, but I looked at her and thought, “Freya.” It seemed to fit. Freya is the Norse goddess of love, and it is from her name that we get the day of the week, Friday (Freya’s day- yes, really. Wednesday comes from the god Odin- Odin’s Day- you always wondered where that D in the middle of the word came from- and Thursday is Thor’s Day). She looked back, and seemed to think the name was acceptable.
The majority of the week we let Freya settle in. She is a very calm horse-a bit pushy still, but otherwise very good. The vet came out Friday afternoon and did an examination and said that, while the dropped pasterns would prevent us from doing much work with her or, obviously, riding her, there was no reason why she could not live out her life with us. He suggested that she wear some sort of support on her legs whenever she’s out of her stall, so I put some sport medicine boots someone had donated by her stall so we can put those on when we take her out.
We have an appointment this upcoming Friday to get the rest of her shots completed, and she will get her teeth done at the end of the month. According to the vet records we received, it’s been over a decade since she’s had them done, so she probably will need to have the vet out a few times for her teeth alone.
We’ve turned her out a few times, and she has wandered around the arena and round pen- we don’t know if she’s just a mellow horse, or if she is cognizant of her injured legs and doesn’t want to run. In either case, we didn’t push her. She stood very well when being groomed- until we tried to use fly spray or fungal spray for her legs. She did NOT like that at all, so we will have to get her used to that.
Freya had her feet trimmed this weekend. She is still very weak in the hind end, so our farrier did what he could without causing her any pain, and without putting himself in danger. All four of her feet are terribly bruised feet from not being trimmed correctly for so long. Thankfully, now that she is being trimmed correctly, the bruising should eventually grow out, and she will be able to be more comfortable walking around.
Otherwise, Freya seems to be a lovely new addition to our little herd of horses. Although there was a lot of drama surrounding her, for the most part Freya seems to be a no-drama horse… one of our favorite kinds.
We’ve already received enough donations to cover Freya’s initial needs (THANK YOU). However, she will most likely live out her days here an Hanaeleh and donations will be needed in the very near future.
Please donate HERE using PayPal.
If you prefer to send a check: P.O. Box 291 Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678
If you’d like to Sponsor Freya, please visit our Sponsor a Horse page to set it up HERE.
Thank you to all of our wonderful fans and community. We can’t do this without you!