I rode Gem again :)
I have been working daily with Gem on picking up his feet, and making him realize that a saddle, does not mean for him to get worked to death or be in pain.
I can pick up 3 of the four feet on the cross ties, but for his right front, i unclip him and throw a lead rope over his neck (attached to the halter) just because i know that is his bad leg and i want him to continue to have a good experience while being in the aisle. But i can pick all 4 out, no problem. :D
And saddling him up? It's a breeze! I let him sniff it, and i rub it on him before i put it in place. And tightening the girth? Easy! He doesn't wiggly, pin his ears, NOTHING!
For about a week before i rode him again, i would just saddle him up and take a nice walk together.. so he'd know that all because he has a saddle on, doesn't mean anything's going to happen.
SO anyways, Wednesday and Friday of this week, i rode him for a bout 15 min or so. He will stand still for mounting after a while, but we're working on that. But he's been great. He has a BEAUTIFUL western headset. ( i saw our shadow) and he's just so responsive!
I even trotted him a little bit! His trot is so smooth now! and you don't need a lot of leg to make him go either. Just a kiss and off he goes! I only trotted him down the length of arena, as i didn't want to over do it, or push him.
I just can't get over it! Gem's a completely different horse! Though, it really makes me wonder what the heck they did to him, that he would like be afraid when you'd try and pick up his feet (i know he was in pain, but the look in his eye was more fearful than pain related IMO) But it does show you what proper care, time and patience can do for a horse.
Oh yay Appy, that's great news!! :D I'm so glad Gem's behaving for you...that's awesome!
It's so nice to see him enjoying life!
Sounds like you are doing a great job with him! If feels good, doesn't it, to bring a horse around and make him feel good? Great story!
I'm coming pretty late to the party--can you tell me a little about the background of your journey with him?
It really does! To know where he was, to where he is now, is just amazing.
My fiance and I bought horses last April. I had ridden Gem previously in a lesson, and while i liked him, i wanted something more advance, and got my mare (that's a WHOLE other story). My fiance fell in love with Gem and bought him! When we bought him and my mare, we didn't get a pre-purchase exam done because what i read online is that if you buy from a stable, rather than a private party, you wouldn't need one. Well that is BS, because Gem has quite a few problems.
It was always very difficult for us to pick up his front feet. We could rarely pick up his right front, and his left front was just as hard. His back feet were fine though.
We had heard from another boarder at the place (we bought and boarded our horses at the same place) that Gem had had abcesses and surgery, and she had tried for a year to pick up his feet and didn't have much luck.
So, in March of 08, i decided to hop on him and ride him around for a bit. Gem was this laid back, very lazy, needs tons of leg to get him to move type of horse. So i warmed him up at a walk, and then tried to trot him. We'd go for a bit and then he'd stop, so i was always urging him forward. After our failed attempts at a trot, i did some bending and turn on the haunches. After that I asked him to walk on, and out of no where, he reared, bucked, and i fell off! :shock:
So i knew something was up with him. I called up the barn (their policy) to get a vet out. When the vet came out, after a lameness test and x-rays, we found that he has athritis in his hocks and his right front knee was really bad. So he was put on Bute if we were to work with him and we also got him a joint supplement, but he never really seemed to improve a lot.
In June of this year, we moved them to a new barn, and while he was lame for the first week, he was doing well. We had the vet and farrier come out to do his feet (according to records at the old stable he wasn't done since February.. and we would sign him up every 6 weeks and he wouldn't get done) He had to be sedated because he got x-rays done of his hooves to see if his coffin bone was rotating or sinking, but it wasn't.. thank goodness!
So he was sedated twice, and had the nerves to his hooves blocked so the farrier could work easier.
The farrier said he has never seen hooves this bad and said they were done in YEARS! :shock:
After he got his feet trimmed and shod, he coliced later on (2am in the morning) We suspect it was from all the drugs in his system. He had a slight impaction but after a very long weekend, he pooped and was better :D
After that, we just let him recover and be a horse. The vet came out about a week later (for another horse) and i asked if he could be ridden, and the vet said to lightly ride him 10-15 min and bump it up if he felt good and wasn't lame and take it from there. He advised us not to jump or do any hills or anything (nothing we plan on doing).
So i've been working on picking up his feet and making it a pleasurable experience, and hand walking him with the saddle.. and now i'm riding him:)
And that's the Gem story :)
Wow, a journey indeed! Makes the current ride seem even more amazing! I'll be watching for updates.
That's so great to hear, Darylann!! *claps!*
Thats great news Appy!! I'm so happy to heat that and I hope he keeps making great progress :)
Thanks Allie and Mariah!
I did try taking him on the trail around the property, but his friends had moved to the larger pasture, and i was the only one there, and he waned to go towards them. Was it the best thing to get off, no, but i didn't want to risk getting him really frustrated and upset that he did something. I will be working on that though.
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