We received a call several weeks ago about a 14 year old Irish Sport Horse named Ollie who needed a place to live. He was a retired Grand Prix jumper (which meant he was jumping 6 foot jumps!) but he had developed navicular and suspensory issues which prevented him from being ridden. Although his owners were committed to caring for him, he was miserable out in a retirement facility where he got very little interaction with humans. He was moved to a training facility in Utah, but his owners lived in California and wanted to be able to visit him. Hanaeleh tried to get him into a few other sanctuaries, but they were unable to take him, even with a full sponsorship.
When a spot opened up at Hanaeleh, we said YES.
The trainer who had been caring for Ollie was very kind and offered to drive him from Utah to California. She split the drive up between two days so Ollie wouldn’t be in the trailer for too long, and they took a lot of breaks to make sure he was doing OK.
He did great, and when he got to Hanaeleh he hadn’t even broken a sweat! He hopped right out of the trailer and we walked up to Hanaeleh, where he settled into his stall next to Venus. We watched him for a while to make sure he would get along well with the other horses- there was some squealing and posturing, but otherwise Ollie, Rio and Venus seemed to get along well.
Ollie scared himself by drinking out of the automatic waterer and then scared himself again while eating the hay we provided, but we figured it was because he had a long journey.
The next day, we put Ollie into the arena and let him wander around on his own. Because of the tears in his suspensory tendons, he can never be jumped again, and should never be worked more than he wants to at liberty, because the suspensories can completely tear- at that point we would have no choice but to put him down.
In order to ensure that he will stay healthy and happy, Ollie will be turned out, groomed, hand walked, and essentially loved at Hanaeleh, but we can’t really work him at all.
Ollie is a big boy- 17.1 hands! He gets about 4-5 flakes of hay a day- we are transitioning him from full alfalfa to half orchard, as he is a little chunky! (we like to call it “fleshy” LOL)
Ollie is very sweet, although he doesn’t seem to have much understanding of personal space, especially when there are treats!
He also seems to know how to avoid doing something he doesn’t want to do- the volunteers learned this on Saturday when they tried to put his fly mask on and he did his best impression of a giraffe! Thankfully he isn’t mean or malicious, just a little naughty.
We look forward to learning more about this beautiful boy!