Originally Posted by blue eyed pony
I can't claim the credit, the lady I bought him off did all that. Like I said I bought him early 2011, and these photos were taken in a progression from 2009 until October 2010 so I didn't own him yet. I didn't even know his owner until 1 Jan 2011! I found myself horseless nearly 2 months later and because she knew how well my horses are cared for, she offered him to me for $1000 less than she was asking, including all his gear.
He's a really special horse, and he's so athletic. We're jumping 3'4" at the moment and he's putting in absolutely minimum effort to clear it. I know he's jumped 4' at least and I'm sure that's not the limit of his scope. Such a shame he ended up in a home where he wasn't looked after because if he'd been kept and educated by the people who broke him in and started him out eventing, he would have been really something.
I know his history from age 4-10 and then nothing until previous owner rescued him. He was eventing competitively and doing well up to B grade which is roughly equivalent to your Training level, and then he was sold to someone who wasn't a great rider and ended up ruining him. He got a reputation for being dirty and dangerous, and was retired at 10. Obviously he was neglected, for quite some time, and then he was rescued age 14, brought back to health, leased to compete and neglected again, brought back to health again, put back in work, spelled over the summer, and then sold to me.
You know when you can count their ribs, and their shoulder blade is sticking out like that, that it's not a simple case of leaving the horse in a small yard for a week while you're on holiday, or not being able to quite keep them at an ideal weight. It's gross neglect when they end up looking like Monty did.
Yep it is Monty, most of the pics in my barn are from when he arrived as not long after my good camera was stolen and I rarely have any credit on my phone so can't upload the photos I take on it to FB!
Poor Sky! Take heart in knowing you got to him before he ended up looking like Monty did.
I have been stalking you a little bit, haven't you said that Sky's a hard keeper before? Monty's between average and hard to keep... for some reason it's the horses that are more expensive to keep that end up in the neglectful homes.
I found a horse for sale in my area that I swear is almost a clone of Monty, just a couple of inches smaller, and has pretty much the same level of education - it's just a lot younger - and its owners are asking AU$17000. It's a bit of a trip-out knowing that when my boy was that age he was worth that amount of money, but really sad at the same time because it goes to show you that even valuable horses like that can end up in an awful state if you don't vet your buyers REALLY carefully.
You're absolutely welcome to share, it's lovely to see the success stories of horses brought back from a neglected state.
Even if you weren't the one directly changing his diet and pouring all the hay you could lift in front of his face, he's got you and you care. The owners that care are the ones that I curtsey to. He's lucky to have you, because you'll never ever ever let him get to that awful state again.
Yes, Sky is a hard keeper. I know we shouldn't do scoops but the barn does. He gets 2 liter scoops per meal and average 8 flakes a day or else he'll lose weight like crazy. He is slowly getting less impossible to keep weight on, all of the new riding stuff motivates him to not shake and burn the calories pre-maturely. He's been settling down and not stressing out as much and I think that really helped him.
I have a hypothesis about that. For me it seems that the neglected horses are hard keepers because they aren't relaxed and healthy. They don't have enough food and they're freaking out mentally because they think that they're going to die. They're hurt, they shiver when it's cold out, burning a lot of calories. Their teeth are a mess and so they can't chomp up hay or maybe they have a parrot mouth or no teeth so they're even more at a loss. Once you get them to the point where they KNOW that they aren't going to be abandoned, and there's going to be hay on their floors for them to eat, and their water doesn't have an inch of mud and algae crusted on the bottom with mosquitos floating on the surface, then they begin to relax and not worry as much and slowly become easier keepers due to that huge lack of stress.
But it's only my opinion, from the handful of neglected horses that I've known.