"Firguring out"/preparing for a recently rescued foster horse?
So...in a couple of weeks (hopefully gonna find out exactly when on Monday) I'll be getting a foster horse who I will be fostering until she gets adopted or the end of the summer (maybe beyond, depending on a lot of factors), whichever comes first.
Hopefully I'll be meeting her next weekend and get an idea of her personality for myself but in case I'm advised to buy/make something by your guys, I'm asking these things now.
Anyway, this mare was rescued, with her 18 month old filly (unweaned), about a week ago. She was owned by some people who really didn't know anything about her or how to care for horses so they had no idea about her training history (she's 10).
According to the rescue I'm working with, she's a super sweet+calm mare. I guess she just loaded right on to the trailer when they pulled up to get her and according to her old "owners", she is broke to ride.
They're going to tell me everything they know and have found out about her when they drop her off/when I meet her (from the sound of it, they know very little about her history) and I requested that they check her for tying skillz. Otherwise, nothing is known about her.
I'm just really not sure where to start with her. I'm allowed to do whatever I want with her and I can put however much training I feel comfortable with, on her. She's pretty skinny right now so getting her chubby will be the first order of business (no testing out her undersaddle skillz until then).
Lacey's so good these days that I can't even think of things a horse might not be good at. I mean, it's been 4 years since I had a vested interest in a relatively unhandled horse. :lol:
I figure that I'll keep her in the little "paddock" area (basically the size of 4 stall runs put together) for the first day or two to assess how she is about being caught so I'm not chasing this skinny rescue all over 5 acres when she decides she'd prefer to not be caught by a stranger (right now she's living in a stall at the vet hospital, being taken out for 10 minute grazing sessions in a field the size of 4 average stalls put together) a couple times a day
Then, I figure picking out feet is going to be the first "test", if she's ok with being touched all over (I assume she is since the lady I'm working with described her as "sweet" and "calm").
Touching her udder would probably be a good thing to find out if she's ok with/desensitize her to that if she's not...
Maybe lunging would be a good thing to explore/teach? Only at a walk until she's chubby, of course...
I'd also like to find out if she ponies/teach her if she doesn't. Lacey is a great pony horse and it would probably be great for Lady (the rescue mare) in all kinds of ways...
Once she gets fat, I'd love to test her out riding-wise. I'm figuring that how she is about everything that has come before that (I figure she won't be fat enough to ride for at least the first month I have her) will tell me how she will react to that. I'll try her out with a saddle and bridle+snaffle first, some lunging with those things, then move on from there. I'll probably be asking you guys TONS of questions before I try that though!
Beyond those things ^^^, I really have no clue what might be an issue and how to prepare for it. With Lacey, I just kinda jumped in with no idea of what I was doing and miraculously survived. However, with Lady, I'd like to be slightly more professional especially since the goal is for her to be adoptable by someone great.
I'm pretty confident in my ability to deal with whatever but I'm a preparer, I like to have a game plan before the game starts. :lol:
So, after that long winded description of this horse, for those of you who have taken rescues/fostered/worked with horses where the past was unknown (and anyone else who has thoughts!), what are things I should prepare for and are there any "tricks" for finding out how much a horse knows?
Anything that I just have to have?
I'm thinking about getting one of those tie blocker rings because even if the rescue determines she ties, with horses there's always a chance that they might decide to not tie. :lol:
I feel like a round pen might be ideal but I'm not rich, no can do in that area. haha
Basically, my goal with this is to help this mare get back on the best track of life she can be on. I love training/tuning up and Lacey's pretty much been taught everything I can teach so this is going to be super fun for me!
Of course, you just know that this mare is going to be a ridiculous piece of cake, 100% broke, the best horse ever, and I'm going to get to do nothing. :rofl:
Congradulations on getting her. When I adopted my mare she looked all cute and was super calm and friendly... Until you took her in the barn. She was terrified of everything outside of her paddock, kicked like a crazy person and was all out crazy. Leading was a challenge, standing, grooming, picking hooves and blanketing.
She was a complete spaz. Oh and head tossing. Basic ground manners. Staying out of my space, off my feet was not easy. I didn't get anywhere with her training until she trusted me and looked to me for answers.
Good luck, it will be fun and rewarding.
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Your plan sounds good. Take lots of time to observe her behaviors and learn about her personality. Take it slow and easy and you should have a fun project ahead of you :) good for you for helping a horse in need. I've rescued a few myself, and I hope to one day be in the financial position to rescue more or foster for a rescue. I hope to see some pics when you get her :)
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How wonderful! I also request pictures, and lots of them when you get them ;)
I agree that your plan sounds good, and really with Rescues, you just need to play it by ear. There IS no specific way to rehabilitate an horse because each is so different. That being said, there are boundaries and guidelines, but you sound like you have a good mindset and idea of what to expect, so I wouldn't be too worried.
One thing that I would mention though is that you might want to quarentine her for atleast one, or better-two weeks, rather than a few days, just in case she turns up to have something that Lacy wouldn't want ;) It sounds like she hasnt really been at the rescue long enough to be pronounced healthy, so its a good precaution to take. Leading Lacy to her the first few times that they meet is a good idea too, because Lacy won't feel as protective of 'her' territory when she's in the other horse's space, and will most likely be friendlier (not that she'd be mean in the first place!) and more adpt to becoming buddies with her new pasture mate!
And teach her to pose like Lacey does!!
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I'm really looking forward to it! I figure she'll probably be less "calm" once she puts on weight because from the pictures I saw of her, she's really very skinny right now. Thankfully (I guess?) Lacey's pretty hot so anything less than Miss L is "laid back" to me, haha, and bonus, I have a never ending supply of Mare Magic at my place! :rofl:
I'm hoping that I can use Lacey to my benefit with Lady. Lacey's pretty chill about everything, and so friendly to other animals, these days which will probably be pretty reassuring to a nervous horse. I'm hoping at least!
Thanks Lins! I will be spending tons of time just getting to know her, I love sitting in the pasture and watching. It's one of my favorite things and you can tell so much about a horse just from watching what they do or don't do.
And no worries, there will be picture OVERLOAD when she gets here. :)
Thanks Endiku! I'll ask them about quarantine. I think the rescue doesn't feel it's entirely necessary in this case since Lady is basically QT-ed at the vet hospital (and will have been for at least a month by the time I get her), but I'll be sure to ask. If it's necessary, I do have 3 pastures+one drylot (the small area I mentioned in the OP) so the horses can be totally separated with at least 100ft between then, depending on the pasture they're each in.
We're going to let them meet over the fence the first time I think but really, I'm more concerned about Lady being mean to Lacey than I am about Lacey being mean to Lady. Lacey is one of those "gets along with everyone" horses. I have never, in my life, seen her be at all aggressive with anything. The "worst" I've seen her be was laying her ears back at the llamas just the smallest bit when they were grazing where she wanted to be. I've heard that that's pretty typical with sight-impaired horses - they can't see well enough to really perform a take down on a seeing horse. hahaha
And, Lady is bay and Lacey's former BFF was bay and tradtitionally Lacey appears to automatically think all bay horses are her, now dead, BFF. It's actually really sad but I think it'll be beneficial in this case. I'm actually kind of worried that Lacey'll be too friendly since she hasn't seen another horse since last June and suddenly her dead BFF is back from the dead... Hopefully Lady doesn't kick her patootie for being too excited... :rofl:
I'll be watching them though and I'll probably keep them separated for the first day or two, just to make sure they'll play nice...
Cakemom, I don't think that'll be too hard. :lol:
Lady was already posing it up in the pictures I saw of her, taken a day after her rescue, so she may be predisposed to adorableness! I can't wait to take so many pictures of her, she's absolutely gorgeous. Basically, Lady and Lacey together is looking like it'll be like those calender pictures with the spirited gorgeous Arabs running around. It'll be unbelievable. :lol:
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