Jesse’s Life with Hanaeleh
Jesse is a 20 year-old Quarter horse gelding. He was one of our first rescues, and due to no fault of his own, his owners no longer felt they could care for him. Hanaeleh will always take our horses back, no matter how much time has passed or for any reason, because our goal is to make sure our horses are always safe.
When Jesse returned this last January, he was in good weight and was serviceably sound and rideable. He’s a very sweet horse, and his only real vice is that he does crib, and requires a cribbing collar, but otherwise he settled in nicely at the rescue and became good friends with Raven and Ruby, to the point that we were able to let them all live together in the paddock. He had a few volunteers who enjoyed working with him, and he seemed happy and content at Hanaeleh.
Jesse’s Perfect Home?
We hadn’t put Jesse up for adoption, because we knew that Jesse needed a special home. He doesn’t do well at public stables with a lot of action because it stresses him out. He’s happier when he’s able to live with other horses.
We also wanted Jesse to have a relaxed home where he wouldn’t be pressured to perform or be ridden a lot. Unfortunately, those homes are difficult to find in Southern California, and we honestly didn’t even think that would be an option, so we hadn’t put him up for adoption.
Then, out of the blue, a woman contacted us who was looking for a companion for her little Mustang mare, and we were surprised at how perfect the situation was for Jesse.
The new home would require no riding for Jesse and it was perfect because the owner was looking for another horse to pony off of her mare, as she gets nervous out on trail by herself. Jesse ponies very well, so we knew that would be great for him. She was only interested in walking on the trails, so Jesse could get plenty of exercise without it being too strenuous. Jesse and her mare would live on her property together, where they would not only have their own fully covered stalls, but would have access to wandering around the property and be able to graze all day- which is perfect for Jesse as he LOVES to eat!
Everything about the situation seemed ideal for Jesse, and we thought he was a good fit for her mare, as he gets along with pretty much anyone. Additionally, he has no health or soundness issues that would prevent him from enjoying the trails with her.
Taking Jesse to His New Home (Take One)
The original plan was for the owner’s mare to go down on Friday, and we would bring Jesse down on Saturday afternoon. The hauler the owner had set up was unable to come, however, so she asked if we would take her horse as well. That wasn’t a problem as she was located just about 10 minutes from the ranch, and it was on our way, so we headed out Saturday after the ranch duties to pick her up.
One thing I forgot about Jesse is that he will sometimes paw in the trailer if he gets upset. Well, he was upset. He did not like leaving his friends or his lunch, even though he had his own hay net in the trailer. Still, once we were on the road he settled in as he usually does when he’s trailering.
We parked and opened up the trailer, and the owner came out with her horse, but it quickly became apparent that the poor little mare was terrified of the trailer and wouldn’t come within 20 feet of it. She had had a bad experience when they were forced to evacuate a few years ago, and she hadn’t forgotten that experience.
The temperature was rising higher and higher, and Jesse kept pawing at the tailer, so we eventually had to take Jesse out and one of our volunteers stood with him under the trees so he wouldn’t get overheated. Thankfully the area had an automatic waterer so he had access to water while we worked with getting the little mare comfortable with the trailer.
There are several different approaches to trailer loading. There is one approach that is essentially, “whatever means necessary,” which we do not support. Of course, if there is an emergency situation like a fire on the other side of the ridge and it is literally life or death, then one has to make difficult decisions – but those decisions have consequences. This little mare had some very negative experiences after being evacuated from the fire, and she wanted nothing to do with the metal box attached to the truck by the little 3″ ball.
Since we were not facing a fire situation, I was not going to do anything that would make this little mare’s experience more stressful. The goal was getting her to trust us enough so she would walk into the trailer of her own accord, and would be calm during that time. We were making progress, and soon we had her comfortable enough to walk up to the trailer and even step in with her front feet and take some hay, but she was still tentative. It didn’t help that there was a lot of commotion behind us while they were getting the feed ready, and then I had to move the truck because right in the middle of Saturday afternoon, Waste Management showed up to trade out dumpsters!
Finally, after a few hours, we chose to stop our efforts and return the next day to try again. The little mare was comfortable enough and we probably could have pressured her to get into the trailer, but that could have undone all of the good work that we had done with her. Additionally, it was hot(!), we were all tired, and there was no good reason not to just call it a day and reconvene on Sunday morning.
We loaded Jesse back up and took him home, where he was very happy to see his friends and his lunch.
Taking Jesse to His New Home (Take Two)
The next morning, I hitched up and went out to pick up the little mare first, as I didn’t have anyone to help hold Jesse that morning. Thankfully, it was cool and quiet, and the good work we had done on Saturday built a solid foundation that allowed us to get the little mare into the trailer without much fuss at all. She was calm and immediately began eating the alfalfa in the hay net that was waiting for her.
Once she was loaded up, we backtracked to pick up Jesse, who was not thrilled with being in the back half of the trailer, but after he realized that there was a hay net in his section of the trailer, he walked in without a problem, and we were on our way.
It was the middle of 4th of July weekend, so there was almost no traffic on the 15 as we drove down to Perris, as everyone had already left to go to their weekend destination a few days before, and were there in record time. Both horses were comfortable and calm, and got out of the trailer without any issues.
We walked them to the fully covered stalls the owner had built, and got them some water and some hay. They explored the stalls a little, and were understandably a little restless, but surprisingly there was no squealing, no kicking, no nothing – they acted as if they were best friends already. Perhaps the trailer ride bonded them a little, but regardless, they were great together, and we really could not have asked for a better outcome.
Jesse and his friend not only have a large fully covered and matted stall, but they have large paddocks that they can explore together where they can wander around and graze all day. The owner works from home, so Jesse and his new friend will have plenty of attention, and they get to spend their time eating and exploring their new home. Jesse is also getting all of his steps in, as the little mare does a lot of exploring, and he follows her around like a lost puppy!
We are so very happy for Jesse, and for his new family! We could not have parted with Jesse again unless it was the perfect situation, and this seems like the ideal home for this very special boy. We are very thankful to his new family for providing such a wonderful home for Jesse!