Ulysses is an Appendix gelding and he came to Hanaeleh a little over eight years ago! Time flies when you’re rehabbing horses!
We rescued him from the Riverside shelter on July 21st in 2012. He was scheduled to be put down two days later because he was diagnosed as being neurological. In addition, he was emaciated and it was obvious that he had been severely abused- there were scars and wounds all over his body. It took a long time for Ulysses to learn to trust people again, but now he is the sweetest guy at the ranch! He has learned that people are awesome and before we redid his stall this spring, he was always half-hanging out of it, asking for a treat!
This past spring the shelter that was over Ulysses, Quixote and Lou Dillon blew over in a particularly bad wind storm- it ripped apart in places, and was completely destroyed. Thankfully none of the horses were hurt, and we were able to raise the funds to redo their stalls. We put up a 24-foot panel with stud wire on Ulysses’ pen as he kept putting his leg through the pipes and we were concerned that he would get himself caught. He isn’t as happy because now he can’t hang halfway out of his stall, but at least he is safe, and we make sure he gets plenty of love.
Ulysses gets out everyday to run around in the arena. The abuse he suffered from his previous owners caused severe neurological damage and he is unable to stand solidly on three feet at a time- while he can walk, trot and canter, he gets confused and unbalanced if he is asked to stand on just three feet. Because of this, we can’t get his feet trimmed safely, so we make sure he is turned out regularly so his feet self-trim from the hard sand in the arena. We also do not tie him because he gets nervous, so a volunteer stands with a bucket of pellets whenever we groom him or give him a bath- he loves grooming time because that means he gets to eat! He has his special volunteers who LOVE to work with him, and are sensitive to his needs.
Ulysses’ favorite time of day is feeding time. He gets fed three times a day, and he is so excited every time we give him food. When we first got him he was very food aggressive, but we just made sure he always had some food in front of him until he no longer had to be concerned about it. Now food time is a happy time, and we haven’t seen him angry or aggressive in a very long time.
We do have to keep Ulysses’ neurological issues in our mind when we are working with him- some days he is great, and some days he is somewhat difficult to work with. When he is difficult, he doesn’t want to move forward, and will stop randomly while we are walking him. There doesn’t seem to be any pain associated with this- it’s just that he seems to be “stuck” and not sure how to move forward. We move him to the side, to “unstick” his feet, and he will start moving again. Other times he is so excited to go to the round pen or arena that he almost drags us out of the stall! He sometimes gets agitated when he is groomed for a long time- when the volunteers realize that he might be getting to that point, we just stop and put him back in his stall so he feels safe. Overall, however, he is a good boy, and always tries his best.
Ulysses cannot get all of his vaccinations because of his neurological diagnosis (some of the vaccinations will exacerbate and increase the severity of the neurological symptoms, which would be detrimental), but we make sure he gets all of the vaccinations that are safe for him, and he is seen regularly by a veterinarian. We have to give him his wormer on the right side of his mouth because his previous owners were so abusive when putting the bridle on the left side that he will get scared and think that we are trying to hurt him when we try to touch his mouth on the left side. He seems just fine when we give it to him on the right side, however, so we just do that. He is also on high doses of Vitamin E, an iron and immune supplement in order to make sure he stays healthy.
For a horse who had only two days to live, he is doing well more than eight years later!
Ulysses would LOVE a sponsor. Did you know that you can sponsor him for as little as $10/month? Click here to learn more and sign up!