A few weeks ago we had the veterinarian out to reassess Titan’s suspensory tendons. We rescued Titan from his previous owner because his suspensories were torn and he needed a long rehab. It has been six months since we took him in, and he has only been able to walk for about 15-20 minutes per day.
We were hoping that the vet would clear Titan to light trotting, but he was concerned that the suspensories were not healed quite enough for trotting yet. What he did suggest, however, was that we ride Titan at a walk two or three times a week and hand walk the rest of the week.
Today the weather finally cooperated so we could use the round pen. Emily groomed Titan, or at least tried to… she spent twenty minutes brushing him, but he did his best to get quite muddy, and unfortunately it was too cold to give him a bath, so he looked more like a brown horse than he did a white one. When he was as clean as he was going to get, we put together a bridle for Titan and I hopped up on him bareback. Titan was in extreme pain when he was last ridden, so I was concerned that he might try to unseat me; I figured it would be easier to hop off if necessary if I was not encumbered by a saddle. I realized when I went to mount, however, that he was taller than I realized, and I had to jump from the mounting block up onto his back, which scared him a bit. Luckily he only took a few steps before I was able to get him calm again. He was nervous and tense at first, and he seemed apprehensive that I might ask him to do something that might cause him pain. After a number of turns around the round pen, however, he began to relax and by the end of the ride he dropped his head and was calm and comfortable. We will continue to rehab Titan, and he will go up for adoption at the end of May, when he will be allowed to trot again. The vet suggested that he not do much in the way of cantering, but he will be a lovely walk/trot horse for someone who wants a beautiful big boy.
Titan is also working through a lot of his spookiness issues. When we got him, the boy was afraid of everything; it took him a few months just to get used to the sheep. Today he spooked at me when I was walking towards him with a handful of Christmas bows that we used to decorate the ranch. After a few minutes working with me and Emily (and with the help of a handful of carrots), however, Titan quickly realized that bows = carrots, and after a few minutes was quite enamored of the bows. He also has learned that plastic bags = carrots, and is not as spooky at plastic bags as he once was. Yesterday we worked with him walking over a tarp, which he did quite well after a few minutes of blowing at it and refusing to come near what he originally believed to be “the plastic square of death.” Within a few minutes of coaxing, however, he walked across it without an issue (albeit still blowing). He has also been doing well when we walk him along the street; he prefers to have a buddy with him, but as long as he isn’t alone, he is very brave when faced with the many sensory obstacles that are along the street.
When Titan first came to us, he was relatively closed off, which is fairly common with show horses we’ve taken in; the horses are groomed by a stranger, ridden around in a circle by another stranger, and fed by yet another stranger. The horses often don’t bond with people, and it takes some time before they open up to us. Recently, Titan has begun to exhibit more of a personality, and has begun to start to interact with us more.
We are happy to continue working with Titan, and look forward to watching him heal and become more confident.