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Posts Tagged ‘Tennessee Walking Horse’


So. Where were we?

This bi-coastal living sucks. Big time. Over the last year, I have learned well how I am absolutely not cut out for single parenting.

One might think that being home on this side of the country with the girls is easy enough. Not.

It’s like living in a frat house but everything is pink. And glittery.

We’re waiting on the guys to come home to celebrate Christmas. The stocking candy has, however, already been raided. I doubt the guys will get any by the time they are able to make it home.

Seeing as we’re at the end of the year, I’ll try to go back and highlight some of the things we’ve done. I’ve got reviews on the new Vibrams to get to, etc.

Right now, I guess I’ll start with the horses.

We added another horse to our herd, bringing the total now to 7. Haven is another Tennessee Walking Horse, and has a really nice gait. She came to us via a friend of ours over the border.

One thing we learned this season is that we needed a spare. We’ve done a number of trail rides; the four of us girls going to the ones nearby. While I could in a total pinch pull 4 horses in my stock trailer, I don’t much like it. I’ve been shuttling us 2 horses at a time, which really only works for rides that are relatively close. My oldest daughter and I have done a few rides that were further away, since I couldn’t double back due to distance.

On the last ride with all of us, we got all the way there, got my youngest’s mare out, only to discover a bloody foot, courtesy of kicking while loaded. It wasn’t terribly bad, but a fun show was the following day, and we didn’t want to take a chance that she couldn’t be ridden. So, on the return trip to get the other horses, I took her back home and traded her out for another.

Given that we actually made use of a spare horse, it was time to think about getting another spare, in the event Hunny was home and something like this happened. When my friend contacted me with the opportunity to get this horse, we decided to drive up and give her a test ride.

She is one of the youngest horses, and is so far doing well. We are looking forward to better, non-soggy weather to ride once hunting season is over.

 

haven4.1

haven1.1

haven2.1

haven3.1

My oldest daughter and I were laughing just the other day- when we decided to go all out on horses, we really had planned to get more horses like Magic, so that the herd colors would be diverse, given that we already had two bays and a red. With the additions of both Blaze and Haven, we now have a mostly “brown” herd. 😆 Somehow, we have gotten completely smitten with that color! 😀

 

 

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Yep.

Stop. It.

What’s got my knickers in a twist?

Soring. That’s what.

A year ago- heck- 6 months ago, I would have thought that this was a mis-spelling of what large birds do when they are flying.

The extent of our horsey knowledge was that they were expensive {especially in the desert, where they can’t graze} and that there was BIG money in racing. I had heard that there was a lot of money in the show horse world, but I never had cause to really think about any of it.

And then we moved, and had abandoned horses in our front yard.

That led to the decision to get horses for those that want to ride. A friend of ours came across a posting through an equine rescue group for a Spotted Saddle Horse. And then, the one gal with the rescue sent our friend info on a Tennessee Walking Horse.

We fell in love, and were totally, completely hooked.

We sent both girls down the road {literally, not even a mile away} for training, where they stayed for a month and we all got trained. Mostly.

We knew our SSH had issues with being trailered. We came to figure out that she had been a show horse, which instantly put her into hyper-speed when the bit when in her mouth. It also accounted for the tail with the cut tendon, to make her tail stay up a bit higher.

Our TWH, on the other hand, trailered just fine, but continued to test every single person who sat on her. And, she was/is bossy and pushy in the pasture. We think she had also been shown, thanks to her “pimp walk.”

This is a hard one to describe, because people look at you like you are nuts when you try to describe it. It’s like she has a broken leg.

Now, some people think an unusual gait is fun, {why else would they have trained her to do it?!}, but we don’t like it. At. All.

This is one of those things we’ve been working hard to correct.

We’re not getting very far riding them outside the paddock, either, because they are hopped up when the bits go in and retraining has taken some time.

To this end, we are transitioning them to use hackamores. I think we are making some progress.

I started researching, because, well, that’s just the way I roll.

And then I learned about soring, and it got me to thinking.

Our SSH, Magic, has uber sensitive feet. We thought she was ticklish. Now, I’m not so sure. I wonder if she has nerve damage.

Before I go any further, I need to warn you that these pictures and information are graphic and disturbing. Because it’s important, I feel a need to get it out there.

What is soring?

According to the Human Society,

“Soring involves the intentional infliction of pain to a horse’s legs or hooves in order to force the horse to perform an artificial, exaggerated gait. Caustic chemicals—blistering agents like mustard oil, diesel fuel, and kerosene—are applied to the horse’s limbs, causing extreme pain and suffering.”

Here are a few pictures.

soring1

soring2

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soring4

The point of soring is to make them pick their feet up really high, for the Big Lick gait.

Lest you think this is an isolated incident, there have been recent arrests made; one top trainer in addition to a person who was on the ethics board for this breed.

I’m naming names.

Last September, Hall of Fame trainer Jackie McConnell was fined and banned for life because of soring and booted out of the Hall of Fame. Did his punishment go far enough? In my opinion, no.

$75,000 is not NEARLY enough, in my opinion, for the decades of torture he caused these horses, not to mention the profit he made in the show ring.

Last week, April 25, 19 horses were seized in a barn used by Larry Wheelon. Mr. Wheelon is an is an active director of the Tennessee Walking Horse Trainer’s Association and sits on its ethics committee. You can read about the warrant here.

Watch the videos.

They are graphic, but you NEED to see them to get a glimmer of what this is all about.

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DMUbnBo0xw%5D

The Human Society video is one that I haven’t been able to sit all the way through. I absolutely just cannot get through it.

If you’ve ever been on the other side of a rescued horse, you might know what I’m talking about.

One of the previous owners threw a hammer at her (our SSH), too.

I suspect that my horse may have been subjected to some of this. Even if she wasn’t, she is, nonetheless, traumatized. There is no other explanation for the way she freaks out when getting trailered, or how you can see the fear in her eyes when the bit goes in her mouth.

We’ve been told numerous times that a horse you can’t ride eats just as much as a horse you can ride. There’s truth to that.

We’re not ready to give up, though. The more I read, watch, and learn, the more I feel like we absolutely were sent here for these horses- not just the abandoned ones, but the ones we’ve rescued.

While I admit to getting frustrated because I’d like to be further along than we are, this kind of information fortifies my resolve.

So, what can you do? Not everyone can foster or rehabilitate an abused or neglected horse. You can, however, find a 501 c3 non-profit equine rescue. You might even find one that specializes in Tennessee Walking Horses/Spotted Saddle Horses or other gaited horses that have been victimized for the show ring.

One rescue I’ve found is called the Sore No More Ranch, and it specializes in Tennessee Walking Horses that have been victims of soring.

The Wounded Heart Center is another that specializes in treatment and rehabilitation.

Habitat For Horses has a lot of good information, too.{I haven’t found anything on this website that says it’s a non-profit- if someone can find it, please post the link in a comment and I’ll edit this post.}

The bottom line is this: Soring HAS TO STOP.

Help spread the word. Donate funds to an equine rescue. Rescue a horse if you’re able. Spread the word and contact your legislators asking them NOT to support the Ag bill that punishes abuse whistleblowers. You can get read more about that issue on the Human Society  and ASPCA websites.

Get involved.

Do. Something.

You CAN make a diffference!

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Sorry, but I’m pretty sure there’s not. It’s probably a futile effort, but I’m going to try anyhow. You can thank me later. 😀

“What’s this?” you might be wondering.

A summary, that’s what. I am pretty sure that I can’t summarize what all has happened since I last wrote, but I’ll try. You’ll most assuredly get the Cliff’s Notes version, full of stuff that I didn’t forget to include. 😀 Hopefully, you’ll enough of the gist to pass the test at the end.

When I last bored you with my drivel, we had just moved 7 horses in a single day.

Magic, Angel, Halo, Blondie and Doodlebug {formerly known as Elia} all went down the road to our friend’s house. As a trainer, her goals were to make sure we could ride both Angel and Magic. Halo needed to continue gaining weight, and Doodlebug needed to be weaned.

Score on all of the above points, more or less. I say more or less, because Magic and Angel both have attitudes, and there have been days where we couldn’t even ride because they were too squirrely. {And yes, I DO know it’s mostly us and not them ………….. :lol:} Combined with an uncontrolled full-out gallop back to the paddock resulting in throwing off my oldest daughter and having her arm stepped on, we can 100% say that a drug drop makes us really stressed out which in turn stresses out the horse and can be a less-than-ideal situation. Ya. Really.

Anyhow.

Horses have been trained, and we’re taking it one day at a time. I am not giving up.

I have, however, learned that show horses and rescue horse, like other rescue animals, come with their own sets of learned behaviors that may or may not be conducive to trail riding.  You might have figured out by now that we’re a particularly stubborn kind of folk, that, while listening to thoughts, opinions, and recommendations of others, may or may not take said advice. We’ll take it all under advisement, but at the end of the day, we’re going to do what we’re going to do.

Clearly, there is a learning curve, but if we’re in for a penny; we’re in for a pound. And there are *lots* of pennies involved here.

Since moving day, all the horses have had the farrier come and do their feet. Boi, for the first time, and Flicka in who knows how many years- both did well, all things being equal. And the day the farrier came, Boi had gotten gelded.

Yep. He did. Right out in the side pasture, our awesome vet laid him down, took off his parts, and off we went on our merry way. Because she didn’t suture, there was no concern about ripping his sutures open to lift his legs for the farrier. We also trotted him the following days as told, to keep him draining.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and all the girls came home. Boi was thrilled to see his love and mother of his children, Halo, and didn’t waste any time mounting her since she was in heat.

Much to his disappointment {after numerous times trying}, as you can imagine, he was unable to complete his business. He hasn’t tried again since that we’ve seen, but he’s been in a pretty foul mood until we separated him out from the girls and started spending a lot of time with him again.

Where do we go from here? I’m not sure.

We are planning on riding again today, since we haven’t put in a whole lot of time since the runaway episode over a week ago. We’re giving them time to adjust. I’m hoping getting back into riding consistently will get Angel to stop cribbing and air/wind sucking. Honestly, she is not bored and is not lonely and is not stabled; we’ll get it figured out.

Halo has taken to getting picky with what she eats. I guess since she’s not starving anymore, she figures she can let her particular palete run wild.

In the meantime, not a lot of painting has gotten done. We’ve had a visit from my parents who had to laugh at the chaos that is 5 horses, 3 dogs and 3 kittens and 4 children.

While the girls were being trained, not only were we heading over to feed twice a day, but most days we were there for training as well. Add to this that during this time, we still had heating contractors in and out on a weekly basis, it’s not an understatement to say it was chaotic.

I have to say, it was *awesome* having the ability to be present for 98% of the training and see what was happening. Depositing a horse off for training and then picking them up at the end of a month is not the kind of training that settles well with me. Clearly, I am too much of a control freak. 😀

Those few weeks, we were feeding 15 horses twice a day. It was all-consuming. We were not home a whole lot. Since you already know that I’m a hermit an introvert, you can imagine what kind of state I ended up in. And I got sick, which is probably no surprise.

Out of everything, I have gotten to the point where I realize the deep-seated need for running and getting back into more of a normal routine. I probably won’t be doing my 8 miles a day for a while, because painting still looms, but I have to find the balance, because my body is revolting against me. My pain level has been consistently higher lately, which tells me I need to get off my rear and get back at it. No matter how much a person tries to not to think about it, chronic illness simply will not be ignored.

In the midst of this, Hunny has managed to get most of the office put together, which I’m hoping means a return to more active writing. Goodness knows, I’ve needed it.

The underlying, recurring theme as I bang my head with the horse stuff is this: “All I wanted were chickens…………..”

So. Let’s recap, shall we?

Horses got moved out. Boi got gelded. Girls got moved back home. Magic and Angel have been giving attitude. Painting has been slow going. Office has been mostly put back together. Unpacking still looms. Despite the horsey issues, no one has gotten seriously hurt {praise God!} and we continue on our merry way of sticking to our plan, which may be sheer folly.

Because you got the edited version, the following test will completely consist of identifying each horse by name. {No cheating by looking at the caption! :lol:}

Horse #1

parked out

Boi

Boi

Flicka

Flicka

Halo and Elia

Halo and Elia

Who’s first? 😀

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Do you believe in magic? I think I might……………………….

It was purely an accident, us becoming horse people. This wasn’t something we set out to do; yet here we are.

And we are loving it!

It didn’t take us long to figure out that horses are awesome. And then we started looking at our land and coming up with ideas. In a perfect world, everyone who wants to ride would have a horse. At some point, that means lots and lots of fencing redos.

In a perfect world, we’d get the surrounding land {and barns} and we would just have to deal with repair, instead of making new and also clearing some land to accommodate all the horses.

I’m not sure we’re living in a perfect world just yet, but we are still working on it.

The abandoned horses are doing well, all things considered. We’ve gotten halters on all 3 of them, including the two Saddlebreds. We’ve learned that Flicka has been ridden, which we assumed she had been, given her price tag. It’s just going to take a bit of time and effort to get her back to where she was years ago. When horses have been abandoned for so long, it takes a bit to get them trusting people again.

I’m thinking I might need a new category; you know, a “Ooops, I did it again” category. We seem to keep falling into those kinds of situations. 😆

For example, we’re not really set up just yet for horses. You may have learned by now that some of the best things we end up with are not planned, and come on a totally different time-table than we had been thinking of.

Yep. You guessed it- we got a horse. Another horse. That actually belongs to us. 😀

Just over a week ago, I got a phone call from our friend D. He knew of a horse that was being given back to the Diamonds in the Rough Equine Rescue group. The horse was *exactly* the kind we were looking for, and even better, the price tag was unbelievable. She was totally trained and vetted, with a clean bill of health. Did we want her?

I started emailing Hunny, and D sent me some pictures. !!!!!!!!!

By the end of the day, we had it worked out to go get her in Va early the next day. We loaded up the next morning, and off we went, in the rainy cold.

Several hours later, we were home, and getting Magic settled in. It was a rough start; she had been moved around several times in the previous days prior, and was a bit stressed out. We were counting on her being trained the way she was promoted, despite her having gotten loose and having a little bit of a challenge to get her trailered.

But she doesn’t live here yet, because I have a stallion in my front yard that needs to get dealt with so he’s not jumping fences trying to get nookie. Our fantastic friend down the road is letting us house our girl there until we get fencing and get the situation with Boi settled. He’s going to get sick of us, because we’re there twice a day now, for both feedings.

Yesterday, many of us went Magic riding. Well, sort of. We rode around while being tethered to the lunge line.

When you get a new horse and you don’t know much about them, you have to figure out their cues. Obviously, since we’re new to horses, we’re pretty much clueless. Thank goodness for our awesome neighbors!

Because she was a breed that D hadn’t dealt much with personally, he called his neighbor, T, to come on over. She helped figure out Magic’s cues, and we’ve come to the conclusion she was a show horse.

Several things lead us to this thinking. Her tail has a tendon cut so she’ll hold her tail higher, and she primarily uses finger cues for steering. In some ways, I’m glad we’re all “learning” on her!

This is our Magic. She’s a Spotted Saddle Horse and is double registered; also as a Tennessee Walking Horse.

Magic1

Do you believe in Magic? We do! 😆

Because life is a soundtrack, there’s no doubt you know where I’m going with this…….here’s the Lovin’ Spoonful!

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaqRwFyoGgQ%5D

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