Hard Lesson Learnt – What happened to You Little One?

I want the whole world to read this, so nobody else makes the same mistakes. I also wish with all my heart that people would realise their duty of care towards any animal they have responsibility for. As Human Beings we have the ability to make choices and decisions that not only effect us, but can, either positively or negatively, effect those around us, human or animal. . With some exceptions, people are more than capable of making their feelings known when they are effected by another persons actions. By and large, animals aren’t. That’s why, if you are privileged enough to have any kind of animal in your life , you are obliged to look after them and treat them fairly,. This is applies equally whether things are going well or badly, and especially if that animal becomes I’ll or injured. Sadly, in the horse world, there seem to be a lot of people who don’t share this opinion, and who see horses as merely vehicles for making a quick buck. If there’s a problem, then bounce it on, at a profit, to the first mug to come along.

So, many of you will remember how excited we were when, last July, Hal bought his first horse Leonie. She was only 5, quite green, but basically kind and safe. It was love at first sight. Hal bought her there and then – No Vetting! This last point is crucial. We bought Leo from a dealer (another salient point), and other than her passport being drawn up in Northern Ireland 6 weeks earlier, , we know nothing about her background. Privately, my biggest worry was that she might be in foal.

When she arrived, and we began getting to know her, we discovered that she had some impressive, and intreagueing scars. For example, she has 3 very clear, very straight, parallel white lines across the top of her head, behind her ears, where the headpiece of her bridle goes. She also has a huge one on her back. She’s such a friendly, people loving horse though, that it would be hard to believe that these scars are the result of direct cruelty. Leo loves to be the centre of attention, and will stand for ages to be groomed. However she cannot, at I thought, will not, pick up her feet very easily.. Some of you will remember that, A few weeks after she came to us, we discovered that she is blind in her left I. I specialist who has looked at her is of the impression that this is as a result of blunt trauma.. On the back of a conversation with my vet, vet, about Leonie’s in ability/on willingness to pick her feet up, we had her neck x-rayed to rule out the possibility of her having Wobbler’s Syndrome. As I have reported in a previous post the results came back negative. The consensus was that the symptoms she was showing may be neurological, but definitely not Wobbler’s. It could potentially be something that we could ride her through. Or it may be something that exercise would make worse. We were advised to proceed with caution. We had her fitted with a new saddle, well new to us anyway, and started preparing to get her rideable again. She also had a couple of sessions with a Masterson method practitioner, which really helped with the hoof picking up problem. However even walking her out in hand seemed to be problematic to her. She cannot walk down hill without dragging her back feet.

Our riding instructor offered to take her for a few days, to assess her potential ability to be ridden. In the meantime she had her second session with the Masterson method practitioner. While she was working with Leo this time, The practitioner pointed out that Leone’s pelvis didn’t feel like it should. It is not symmetrical, and there appears to be some kind of a lump or swelling that should not be there. She let me have a feel, and both sides Felt different to me, not the same as they should be..

On Wednesday Leone went over to our instructor Melissa for a few days assessment. Bless her, she walked up the ramp of the Laurie like a seasoned traveller, and settled in to Melissa’s yard like she owned it. We went over to see her on Thursday, and Melissa had already ridden her twice. However, Melissa was fifty-fifty about Leone’s prospects as a riding horse. The first thing that Melissa did when we got onto her yard was point out the asymmetry in Leone is pelvis.

This morning I had a phone call from Melissa. Leone is coming home tomorrow. The more work that she has been asked to do under saddle, The more uncomfortable and unsound she has become.

Nobody really knows what has happened to Leonie. Except of course Leonie her self that is, but the smart money is on her having been involved in a catastrophic accident.. It must have been a biggie to have blinded her in one I and calls what most probably is a broken pelvis. Of course there is somebody else, somewhere, most probably in Northern Ireland, Who has a fairly shrewd idea exactly what happened to Leone, and what the extent of the injuries are. That of course is the person who, when they realised that they now had an injured horse on their hands , off-loaded her as quickly as possible. I shudder to think how many hands Leo has passed through in her short life. . Well one thing is for sure. It stops here! Leonie has a home with us for the rest of her life.. It’s not her fault that we made a foolish mistake in buying an unsound horse.

Leone is the only horse that I have ever bought without having a vet check done beforehand.. I I certainly wish that I had stuck to my guns and insisted on having Leo vetted, or just walked away and called the dealers bluff when he went into the full, Horse will be sold to somebody else in the morning, routine. It would have saved us a lot of money and heartache in the long term. It wasn’t actually my decision to make though. However, The whole experience has underlined and reinforced my belief that, it doesn’t matter who is selling the horse, or what kind of horse it is, if the vendor is reluctant for you to have the horse checked by a vet, they probably have an extremely good reason. Walk away from that particular horse and save yourself a lot of heartache. Please never make the mistake that we have.

Hal and I are lucky, we have our own land and stables, and so will be able to accommodate Leone for the rest of her life with very little bother. Most people are not in this position Continue reading “Hard Lesson Learnt – What happened to You Little One?”

And Then There Were Four

Last Winter, from 15th November – 12th February, we had 4 horses. . Last winter it did’ stop raining and the fields turned into lethal quagmires. Last winter I had to keep going to Oxford, and had several operations. Last winter Florence had to live in the tack room. Last winter nearly killed us!

We knew that having 4 horses was going to be a temporary thing. Magnum was soon going to be making his final journey. Once he was gone, well, 3 horses, 3 stables, onwards and upwards. There would be no need for us to ever have 4 horses again, would there?

Would there?

Introducing Breeze. She’s a 14.2hh, 18y.o., black, cob, who we got from a riding stables that’s closing down. She arrived on Wednesday evening, and so far, so good.

We weren’t actually looking for another horse. Well not officially anyway. However we are having increasing problems with Leone, more about that in a later post, so we were contemplating trying to find a horse on loan for Hal to ride well we tried to sort Leone out. However, Amy saw Breeze whilst looking at a horse for somebody else, and the rest is history.

I feel a long hard and extremely challenging winter coming on. Hope we make it through๐Ÿ˜ฐ๐Ÿ˜‰

Confused ๐Ÿ˜•

Is it me? I’m getting very confused by some of the terminology used by other people these days. Especially when it comes to the way they describe horses.
For example, what exactly is a maxi cob? Perhaps I am old fashion, or maybe just ill informed, but I have always been led to believe that The term “Cob” refers to a particular type of horse. You know that deep girthed’ short legged, big bummed, slightly hairy, equine equivalent of a Land Rover, who can turn his hoof to anything. My equine education lead me to believe that, even when thinking very big thoughts, a cob is only 15.1hh at the very tallest. Any bigger and it’s just a heavy set horse.. In fact I hadn’t heard the term “Maxi Cob” until about 18 months ago, when I started seeing horses being described that way in adverts.

Actually, it’s usually adverts that confuse me the most. . Mind you, it doesn’t take much. For example, I recently read an ad by somebody who was looking to buy a horse. They wanted what described as a sturdy horse, and went on to list cob, larger native, Draught breed. As a heavier person I understand completely! However, at the end of the list they put the words “or Palamino”. Erm – isn’t Palamino a colour? I’ve known many palominos over the years. In fact I had a lovely palomino cob called Bella on loan for about 10 years when I was younger, and Goldie the horse who I have my lessons on at the moment it’s also a palomino. However just because Bella was a steady cob and Goldie is 16 HH, doesn’t mean that every palomino is going to be a steady weight carrier. There are plenty of palomino part bred arabs out there.

Another confusing advert that I have recently come across was for a registered Appaloosa Dartmoor Hill Pony. It can’t be both and Appaloosa and a Dartmoor hill pony can it? The Appaloosa is a specific breed. Native to North America and with tactile black or brown spots in its coat on the part or all of its body. They are a lighter to middleweight riding horse that can be anything from 14 hands up woods. Whereas the Dartmoor Hill Pony is the small mongrel of a pony that lives Ferrell on Dartmoor. They usually stand no more than 12 hands high, and although they can be any colour, they are rarely spotted. I would love to know what the pony being advertised actually was, but I expect it was a pretty little thing. I did find the advertisement confusing though

Another slightly confusing subject, and something that I was recently asked by the little boy next door, is where the boundary lies between a horse and a pony. My understanding is that a pony is up to 14 2HH, but most descriptions of horses seem to state that horse is over 15 HH. So what are you if you happened to be 14 3HH? Answers on a postcard please.๐Ÿ˜‰

Community Horse

Florence has spent a busy August proving that she really is anyone’s ride.
Throughout the month, as well as me, she has looked after a nervous, and not very flexible Hal. My niece, who had lessons when she was little, and only returned to the saddle last year, hacked her out, and also cantered her in our school (fenced off corner of the field)! Niece is a capable rider, but is used to having lessons in a school with a strict instructor. I think she enjoyed being able to do what she fancied, and discovering that a non–riding school horse will do what she asks. I think Florence enjoyed picking up the pace too.

For her next trick Flo gave our 9 year old next door neighbour, and keen volunteer stable hand, his first experience of sitting in the saddle. She didn’t put a foot wrong. At the other end of the scale was our somewhat mature, and highly experienced, next field neighbour. She has ride and Drive Shetlands, and is missing riding, so Florence took her out and they are now firm friends.

Florence really is anyone’s ride. It just goes to show that, while not everything is black & white, all the best things are.