Two years ago I bought the flashiest little Arabian three-year-old named Legend, and I had everything planned out: I was going to get to know him, halter break him a bit more, and then I was going to train him with the help of a more experienced trainer in my area. I was so excited, and when I actually started working with him I was so giddy and glad that I was actually going to DO this.
And then winter came. (dramatic music)
I don't mean to sound dramatic in this segment of the fairytale, but it would be difficult to try not to. *dun dun dun* Well, I took a break working with him because winters where I live are incredibly harsh and I had no access to an indoor. Legend wintered very poorly, and lost most likely 100 pounds at least. There was snow and ice up until March, and he was still being chased off of his food and tormented by the other horses. I wanted to put him on supplements to help him gain weight, but the barn owner insisted that he would gain all of the weight back once the snow started to melt, and refused to feed him all of the mash and supplements while I wasn't there. So I waited.
The snow did melt a bit, but he wasn't looking any better. To make matters worse the BO turned Legend, as well as a couple of other horses, out into the lower pastures. It was extremely thick and wooded and full of brush, and the ticks came out early. They nearly killed my horse, and practically destroyed his immune system. I was horrified, and I didn't know where to go from there. I had the vet look at him, and he told me that just minimal turnout and plenty of feed and supplements would work miracles on him.
That's what I did, but it took ages for him to actually look any better. It was then that I decided to give him a year off to let him get back on his feed. He had a horrible topline, and absolutely no muscle and was just starting to gain a bit of meat on him. I lunged him as often as possible to build muscle, and continued to feed him reccomended supplements.
And now, this year, he is starting to look like he did when I first got him. He's still a bit scrawny, but he looks and acts much healthier. This weekend I decided to start working with him again. He is so sweet and quiet, and practically bomb-proof already. I even managed to lay on him bareback, and even swung my leg over and sat on him more than once! I am so proud of him for making it through all of that, and I can't wait to see what his future looks like. I may consider selling him to a smaller rider, though, as I worry that I may be too tall for him (he's only 14hh and lightly-built, I'm 5'7).
I hope that he turns into as great of a riding horse as he was a "pet" horse, and I'm sure he will.
I just wanted so share his little survival story with everyone. He's such a brilliant horse, I love him so much.