OTTB Foster....our journal - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 07-04-2014, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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OTTB Foster....our journal

I started fostering this guy about 2 months ago. He is a 5 year old canadian warmblood off the track because he broke his right front sesamoid. He was on stall rest for a month or so with handgrazing daily, lots of attention and love. He has transition to about 5-6 hours outside with another mare, and I have begun gentle groundwork with him. About me: i rode as a child and a teen, and in college. But then i stopped because I was living in the big city and then i had kids and a job and....But then I moved to somewhere I could ride, and I just started again. I am happy about it. I am not riding this guy because he's lame, but working with other OTTBs at the rescue getting my riding legs back.

With this guy, I am just his foster mom, although I want it badly to be more. My husband is dead set against it. M. is definitely not rideable for at least 6 more months due to his injury, so I am just doing groundwork with him daily and hanging out with him, grooming him, and loving on him. This journal will mostly be about the natural horsemanship training I am going to do with him, along with other random forays into my life.
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7/3/14: We worked on desensitizing him to the rope, tossing it under and over his body, around his legs, on both side. He was more curious than spooky. Within about 5 minutes he was grazing while I did it. Good boy . Then we worked on him walking slowly next to me and stopping on verbal command. Again, no problem. Finally, we worked on backing up. I want him to get use to hand commands so this will take time. He was eager to please and started backing up pretty easily.

7/4/14: I wanted to work on neck flexion with him, in addition to reinforcing what we worked on yesterday. He was great with the neck flexion to the left...maybe too great. He likes to get into your space a little, he's an in your pocket guy, which my barn owner says he will need to relearn---she thinks he's TOO in your face and needs to learn to not be. On the right side, his neck flexion was not nearly as good, so we will keep working on that. He has a muscular knot on the right side of his neck, probably from compensating for his sore right leg when he grazes, so I though flexion might help with that.

He did spook once today, couldn't figure out why, but got him back in hand pretty fast.

Overall, he's really fun to work with--super attentive, desire to please, and pretty easy to handle considering he's right off the track pretty much.
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post #2 of 4 Old 07-05-2014, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
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7/4/2014 Went out again today and spent about 2 hours with M. Thought we would try a little gentle lunging, but that was a no go. Plus, began to think that lunging with his sesamoid injury is probably a stupid idea. Worked on backing up with my hand, and got him used to the carrot stick WITH the rope attached (I had removed it because he was freaking a little).

When I was working his walk and stop he suddenly freaking out and began backing up, head held high, eyes frightened. Luckily kept in control and got him to calm down, but I have yet to figure out what the heck happened. Brought him right back to the spot and he was fine.

I worked on neck flexion more, and he was really fine with it, except on the right side again.

1) what kind of horse will he be once I get a saddle on him? Will my working with him on the ground help him accept me as a rider more readily?
2) Should I put a saddle on him occasionally now so that he is comfortable with the idea? What about a bit?
3) How seriously should I take the fact that he really likes to be "in my space"? I guess I am being a bad mom if I allow him "in my space" but what if I want to hug him or kiss him? Is this a bad thing to do? He seems to love it, and so do I.
4) he eagerly comes towards me when I arrive...this is a good thing, right? He sees being with me as a positive thing, yes? Some have told me he's too "in my pocket"--why is this a bad thing?
5) I have four more months with him, paid up, at his current barn (I am paying his board, farrier and supplements fees of my own volition (he needs to be on joint supplements and probiotics, and I prefer this farrier over the one the rescue group uses, so this is all my choice), but not his feed or vet. What will happen at that point? Will my husband agree to buying him? (Unlikely) Do I want to buy a horse with a former injury? Can I separate myself emotionally enough to do the work he needs without getting too attached?

Thanks for whomever is reading this. This is mostly a space for me to process my thoughts, but if anyone feels like commenting, please do.
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post #3 of 4 Old 07-05-2014, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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7/5/2014 Today was the day we introduced "Plastic-bag-on-a-stick" to M. He was great--no spooking at all, curious, a little nostril flaring, but nothing crazy. He let me rub it all over him, his tummy, his legs, his butt, neck and head. Then he tried to eat the bag. Figures.

I am proud of him!
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post #4 of 4 Old 07-07-2014, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
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JUne 6-7. Spent a few hours with M both yesterday and today, reinforcing what we learned with the plastic bags. We also strung up plastic bags, a poncho and a couple other flappy things along the fence line and walked him up to them--he was cool about everything. Today the BO walked "around the corner" with a plastic bag waving so we could see what happened when he didn't see the bag coming, so to speak, and he barely looked up at her LOL. He's a cool cucumber, that's for sure.

His hooves are looking a little funky since going barefoot 4 days ago--just a little cracking which I am going to keep an eye on. Based on what I am reading, it's pretty normal.

I ordered ProBios and Actiflex for him, and both should arrive this week. I am really trying to get a hold of his xrays so i can see what part of his sesamoid was actually injured--was it a bad break? clean? apical? Or was it the navicular--I have been told it was the "distal sesamoid" but not clear what that means. He seems to be favoring the leg a little less, and I bought some Zheng Gu Shui potion for it (chinese herbal liniment) which I will start using tomorrow. I know it's late in the game, seeing as the injury was a few months ago, but we only got him fairly recently, so I'll just do what I can. vet says he should be fine in 6-9 months.

Tomorrow I am going to work on opening an umbrella next to him. :)
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