Donations are down and we are not really in a position to bring another horse in. In emails with the owner, I was told the horse had been gelded appx. 2 months ago, was losing weight and the owner had been told he was now eating his own manure. After telling the owner that it would be unlikely that they could get the sale price they were asking for a 3 yr. old, untrained, skinny horse and explaining about what could happen to him should they decide to send him to auction, the owner agreed to send him to TIER as they were unaware/not knowledgeable about these things. This was not an uncaring person, they were only going along with what they had been told to do.
I went to view the horse. Sigh. He is apparently only about 2 or 2.5 yrs. old. He is shod all the way around. He was tacked up and on display for my viewing. The horse was drenched in sweat and had a worried look on his face. He was obviously stressed. He had been in training for 2 months according to the owner. It is my thought that the stress is what caused him to lose weight so dramatically and to eat his own manure.
I do have to commend the owner. Somewhere inside them they knew that things weren't right. As they are not horse savvy, they went along with what they were told to do with the care/training of the horse. When it became obvious to the unknowledgeable owner that the horse was declining, they realized they were in over their heads and thought selling him would be the best thing to do. After we contacted the owner, they were quite open to our possibly assisting in rehoming him.
When I went to view the horse I knew he needed to come to TIER. The facility where the horse was kept was very clean all the other horses were in good weight, pens/corrals were in good repair, people were quite friendly (including the trainer). It is my belief that this type of training was way too much for this young horse and it was taking its toll.
I do have to say that I have seen some of the old time Vaquero trainers that do a magnificent job of working with their horses. These types of trainers usually work their horses in a Bosal / Mecate allowing a more skilled horse to "graduate" into ever lighter equipment. Once a young horse is solidly trained with a bosal, a bit is added and the horse is gradually shifted from the hackamore to a bit. The Vaquero's I have met don't even put a bit in a horse's mouth until they are 5 yrs. old.
This was not the case for this horse. He was tied in his stall, tacked up with a chain from the roof attached to his halter. The reins were tied to the saddle horn. Lots of pressure for a young horse. He was drenched in sweat. Amazingly, I was able to keep my mouth in check and was able to converse with the trainer and then take the owner aside to tell them what I thought without insulting the trainer which could have put the horse in a precarious position.
After speaking with the owner, they decided they would give the horse to TIER. Even though funding is lean and our emergency funds are wiped out due to taking in Dancing Shecky, I could not walk away.
I contacted one of our wonderful supporters who had previously transported Big Red & Tsan Tsant to TIER last year. She was there within 20 minutes and he was brought to TIER. After he unloaded (this horse definitely has manners and listens. He is a thinker!) and allowed to relax awhile, his demeanor changed. From being on high alert for cues/commands to rolling in the round pen, sniffing around and eating hay. He has a very kind eye, is personable and listens very well. He responds to cues to back up, lead, pick up feet, move left/right, etc. with a light touch.
He appears to be a QH with maybe a dash of TB thrown in. Who knows? After checking his teeth, he seems to be about 2 to 2.5 yrs. old, clean legged. He has white marks on his face from a previous injury, raw places under his chin from the tack and only one dent on the left side of his neck. The farrier will be out next week to remove his shoes because I cannot turn him out with other horses since he has iron on all fours. As soon as funds allow, we will have the vet out to examine his teeth, etc. Hopefully that will be next week also.
We ran the gamut of names for a Blue Roan. Azul, Azure, Blue Boy, Baby Blue, Smokey, Blue Smoke, Blue Mist, etc. etc. Thanks to the husband of one of our loyal supporters and volunteers who came over yesterday, he has now been christened.......wait for it......STEVE! HA! A good old plain/strong name.
STEVE........welcome to TIER.