Last December we were contacted by a family who had a buckskin Quarter horse in need. The owners had major medical issues and the other family members were not able to take the horse. Unfortunately, because of the horse’s age (she is 26) and because she had not been worked with for a while, they had difficulties finding a home for her. We put her on our waiting list, and tried to network her, but unfortunately we were not able to find her a safe place. Luckily with Sapphire’s adoption, we had a spot open up, and so we were able to take her today.
The owner has not been able to work with her for a while, and we were told that she was difficult to catch. She also had not been in a trailer for several years, so we were not exactly sure how difficult this afternoon was going to be. I was lucky enough to bring my assistant trainer, Emily, with me, to help. It is always advisable to trailer with another person if possible; when working with an unknown horse in an unknown situation, it is a necessity!
When we got to the home, the owner suggested that we put some pellets in the feeder, and the mare came right up into the stall from the paddock and began eating. I closed the gate after her so she could not leave, and stood by her, scratching her neck and head a little until she was used to me. After a few minutes, I put the halter rope around her neck… she walked a few steps, then stopped and allowed me to put the halter on without a problem. Yay! First problem solved.
The trailer was a little more difficult- she definitely was not really thrilled with the trailer, but after a few minutes and a lot of cookies, she stood at the open trailer door without a problem. Getting her to step in, however, was something she just did not want to do. I worked with her alone for about 10 minutes, but she did not want to step in. Finally, with Emily’s help we got her to walk in calmly and willingly. She was calm in the trailer and did very well during the trip! Yay, second problem solved.
When we got her out of the trailer, Tamahome greeted her enthusiastically, and she seemed excited to be at Hanaeleh. We gave her some hay and grain and put her in a stall with new shavings. She seemed less excited about the food, however, than she did with getting attention- she *loves* to be petted and scratched, and she almost fell asleep when I was scratching her neck. She definitely needs some TLC and needs some weight and muscle. Her owners kept up on her farrier care, but she’ll get her teeth floated and her vaccines next week.
We’ll let her settle in and gain some weight before we do any formal soundness or riding assessment. Tomorrow she will get a nice bath and we will comb out her mane and tail. For now, we will work to give her the love and attention her previous owners wanted to give her, but were physically unable to for so many months.
We decided to rename her Aurora, after Sleeping Beauty, because we think that she will be a very beautiful horse after she gets some love and attention. We will continue to post updates and pictures, so please be sure to look for those on our blog!
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