Category Archives: Bucky B Lucky

Lucky in Love

Obviously, adoptions are special to us…nothing makes us happier than being able to announce that one of the SAFE horses has found a home. But every so often, an adoption will fall into place that just reaches into our hearts and gives a little squeeze. An adoption that makes us pinch ourselves to be sure we’re not dreaming. On Saturday afternoon, over birthday cake and carrots, we celebrated one of those adoptions…and today, we congratulate Bucky B Lucky and Ruth J for finding each other and making this dream a reality.

Ruth, Lucky, and Pete
Ruth, Lucky, and Pete

I would describe this match as love at first sight, but it’s important to recognize that Ruth’s decision to adopt Lucky was made extremely carefully and deliberately, with careful consideration of Lucky’s needs and Ruth’s ability to provide for him. Many questions were asked, much research done. But the spark was there right from the start. In terms of what Ruth was looking for, Lucky fit the bill in just about every way: young, athletic, lovely gaits, and the talent to perform at the lower levels of dressage. He’s not an easy ride, and he has the ability to be a handful under saddle, but as a professional dressage trainer, Ruth is more than capable of dealing with the hijinks of a young Thoroughbred.

But for those of us at SAFE who stuck with Lucky through thick and thin, gave him the benefit of the doubt when things were tough, and always believed in him, we are celebrating what Ruth means to Lucky. See, Ruth is someone who doesn’t give up, who would never turn her back on a friend, and who does not expect that the things in life worth having should necessarily come easy. As she herself puts it, she’s German, she doesn’t quit. Lucky is Ruth’s second horse — her first horse is an enormous handsome Percheron named Jack. To say that Ruth and Jack have been a lot together would be a bit of an understatement, as anyone who knows them will attest. Ruth’s loyalty and devotion to Jack over the years has been incredible. Ruth has never let her own goals or ambitions get in the way of what was best for Jack, even in the face of medical and lameness issues that would have caused most of us to give up.

Lucky, on the other hand, is a horse that has been given up on before…several times before in fact. And like many Thoroughbreds, Lucky has a pretty clear understanding of how the people around him feel about him. If every horse is a mirror, Lucky is a full-length three way department story changing room mirror! If you’re ambivalent about Lucky, don’t expect much from him. If you dislike him, you’d better keep your distance. But if you treat him with kindness, respect, and love, he is the sweetest horse in the world.

So when Ruth told me that she was very interested in Lucky, all I could think about was what it would be like for this horse to spend the rest of his life with someone who would not give up on him, who would show him loyalty and devotion and unconditional love. I pictured a Bucky B Lucky who knows he is home, who knows who his person is…and all I could imagine was that he would absolutely blossom with someone who would give him that kind of surety and security.

SAFE BoD members at Lucky's Party
SAFE BoD members at Lucky’s Party

I saw that horse on Saturday. He’s been on trial with Ruth for about three weeks now, and already he looks like a better, shinier, calmer, and happier horse. He radiated happiness. He even looked taller! It was really something to see. Saturday was Lucky’s 10th birthday and Ruth threw him a party and gave him the best gift she could think of: the gift of a permanent home. Lucky’s trial is over, his adoption is official, and we can share this news with all of you today. At the party, in between photo opportunities with the Man of the Hour, Ruth told me that Lucky — now christened Lorenzo — was not perfect, and already he’d tried bucking under saddle to see what she would do. She just laughed. That’s what unconditional love is…a love that is there when you’re good, and a love that is there when you’re not so good. Knowing this, there is nothing that will stop Lorenzo and Ruth on their journey together. We could not be happier for them!

 

Unusually warm weather in January? Bath day!

thanks to Jessica F for these photos!

Video: Lucky Under Saddle

Lucky is going beautifully under saddle! He has strengthened over his top line and built up a good amount of muscle over his back. He is holding a nice self carriage and has an easy walk, trot, and canter. Lucky is ready to show First Level dressage this year and and with the right rider could begin schooling Second Level movements. He still needs some strengthening to hold himself through the trot canter transitions but other than that he is ready.

Lucky has been maintaining a great weight on his low bulk diet— he’s filled out and has a nice shiny coat. He has been colic free since going on the low bulk diet and we are all very happy this is working out! He is more than ready for his forever home. The perfect home for Lucky would be one where he could live outside and graze all day long, all year round. He would need to continue to be fed grains in order to maintain his weight. Our vet has told us that we can try adding hay back into his diet at some point, but for right now we are holding off since his current diet is working so well!

Ringing in the New Year at Safe Harbor

Just some photos of the SAFE horses welcoming a foggy, rainy (with occasional sun bursts) new year:

Lucky’s Low Bulk Diet

Who's a handsome boy?
Who’s a handsome boy?

The past few months have included some health challenges for our dear friend Lucky. He had a mild colic episode, requiring the vet to come out and administer Banamine and fluids. He responded well, but about a week later he had another colic episode. When the third episode in a month struck, we knew we needed to get to the bottom of the problem. Working with Dr. Megan McCracken from Rainland Farm, we opted to try treating him for ulcers. We were hopeful this would put an end to the random bouts of colic.

Unfortunately, about 2 weeks into the treatment, Lucky coliced again. Thinking that it could be a gut motility issue, Dr. McCracken advised us to try a Low Bulk diet — in other words, no hay — to see if that would help. Lucky was started on a carefully formulated mash suggested by the veterinarian. He now gets mash 3 times per day, and so far he is holding his weight nicely. We can tell he misses his hay, as he anticipates the mash enthusiastically. He was able to have grass turnout through the end of the pasture season, which helped keep him happy. With the pastures now closed for the season, we are providing stall enrichment options for him.

We are now over one month into the Low Bulk diet, and happy to report no more signs of colic for our boy! If this proves to be the answer to eliminating the recurring colic, we will continue this course for a few months and then the vet believes we can try adding hay back in slowly.

On other fronts, Lucky was the recipient of a course of Pentosan injections, and in spite of the tummy issues, the quality of his work has improved significantly. He continues to be sound, comfortable in work, and an all around sweetheart of a horse.

August Training Notes

Phoenix: Going well under saddle with strengthening exercises in the walk including: shoulder fore, hauls, halt rein backs, and collected walk. He’s up to 7 minutes at the trot and continues to look sound. We’ve been working in some trot poles during the rides.

Skittles: Skittles is doing well with riding. She will have good days but others she is stiff and unhappy to use her back if I don’t give her a long warm-up

Jewel: Doing well at foster and looks to have filled out quite a bit this summer. She been turned out with Ruby and everything seems to be fine, the two are “cohabiting” well.

Lola: Lola continues to do well with both ground manners and riding. The canter has been our main focus this month and she is now consistently picking it up when asked and is learning to keep the gait for longer amounts of time. She is a bit grumpy about this at first but it is getting better. Some nice long canter moments have been happening. The key to improving this is achieving a true inside bend. This will take a bit of strength building but she is getting some lovely forward and soft canters now.

Kai: He does still have his moments of exuberant energy so I am continuing to work him in hand only. He is doing well over the trot poles and is stretching nicely. I have raised them up to keep them challenging and added polls to both sides of the arena. When he isn’t showing his nutty side, he is very lovely.

Sapphire: I saw Sapphire 3 weeks ago at Kim’s. She is looking happy and was sweet when I came to talk to her. Kim is lunging her and has some very loose side reins on her and she is doing well.

Oscar: He’s has three months off work, and he’ll have another three before we trot him again to evaluate soundness. Helga said she can trot him on the lunge for us to see if he is sound when the time is up.

Finn: While he remains sound with the work there is still a slight “offness” when traking to the left. I have to think this may always slightly be there but it is dramatically better than it was before the shoe package.

Cameo: Working on a nice balanced trot and feeling much stronger. Her left shoulder is still much more developed than the right due to the club foot. I have to use a pad with buildup of the right side so that the saddle sits level and on the middle of her, otherwise it will slide crooked the entire time.

Skye: Skye has been a really great girl this last month. So much that I used her as my riding demo for the Chamber of Commerce evening. She was great with the crowd and did a nice walk, trot, and canter for them. She is a beautiful girl and a lot of fun to ride! We continue to work on trailer loading and things are going well, all 4 feet into the trailer and quietly coming out.

Ruby: Doing well at foster. We’ve been talking about her growth and whether we should wait to start her until she has more time to grow. I think not putting too much weight and heavy rides on her are a good idea. If this is SAFE’s choice, I suggest since her personality can be a bit young, big and head strong, would be a great idea to start getting the basics on her and working towards saddling well before she has a rider.

Misty: (From Kellie:) Bottom line is that Misty has improved, but, not as much as I hoped.  She is better at bending left and taking weight on the left hind than she was before the stifle injections. Fewer missteps as well. However, she is still very stiff to start out, for about 15 minutes, and this is in addition to the lunging time.  Sometimes she gets a short lunge if she is not too silly and other times, she might be lunging 15 minutes. She has also improved from the donated chiro and the muscle relaxants.

As the chiro vet said, it is best to bring them back to full work/strength slowly with the stifles. My goal is to get Misty out 4–5 times a week again, like she was before her May “stiffnesses and swollen legs”, but still low key work.  Some riding, some lunging, and to start some trot poles.

I guess it was too much to hope that the stifle issue was going to be a “ quick fix.”  Since, it has probably been going on for awhile– just like a person with a similar problem—it is probably going to be a longer rehab period for her.

Lucky: Doing well WTC. The 7 doses of Pentosan have helped him look less stiff in the hind end. He shows no more hesitations going into the trot. He does fuss a little when first asked for the canter but the next transitions up are usually better. He still looks a little stiff when tracking to the right. Also he is pretty tender on his front feet so we’re looking at putting front shoes on.

A Long Overdue Update for Bucky B Lucky…

Lucky at the 2014 SAFE Show
Lucky at the 2014 SAFE Show

Lucky has been on medical hold for a while now, while we worked to sort through a couple of issues. We now have more information to share regarding this handsome gentleman.

First and foremost, Lucky’s behavior has been fabulous during his time in foster at White Birch Farm. Melonie reports that he is a joy to work with. In fact, he caught the eye of one of Melonie’s clients who applied to adopt him.

During the course of the Pre-Purchase Exam, Lucky flexed and moved sound on all four legs. It looked like he was headed for a forever home. But we were all shocked when an X-Ray of the fetlock joint (where surgery was performed in 2011 to remove bone chips) revealed a new chip. It is impossible to say if this is a new chip from the fetlock joint, or if it is a calcification that formed due to the prior injury/surgery. Either way, there is currently a chip present in the fetlock joint. We consulted with Dr. Bryant, who did the initial surgery, regarding prognosis and treatment. He indicated that since he was moving sound, it was fine to continue Lucky in light work (W/T/C). Continued light work will help him stay sound as long as possible. If at some point in the future, the joint becomes symptomatic his working-life may be extended by surgery to remove the chip.

A separate question was raised at the Pre-Purchase Exam regarding the cloudiness in Lucky’s eyes. Although this cloudiness has been present since Lucky’s intake and has not gotten worse, the examining veterinarian was concerned that it might indicate he was at increased risk for possible future loss of vision. Based on these two issues, the potential adopter decided not to move forward with the adoption, and Lucky was placed on medical hold to give us time to investigate further.

Eye Exam
Eye Exam

A few weeks ago, Lucky underwent a thorough eye examination, performed by an Equine Ophthalmologist, Dr. Victoria Jones of Northwest Animal Eye Specialists. Dr. Jones’ report brought good news for Lucky’s current and future vision status. The exam and diagnostics confirmed that Lucky’s cloudiness is scar tissue from two separate previous injuries. It is not currently affecting his vision, and there is no reason to think that he’s at increased risk for future vision loss. This was a huge relief!

Lucky has been removed from medical hold and is once again available for adoption. Currently, he continues to be worked lightly and is moving sound. He does exhibit some occasional stiffness behind, and a generous donor has offered to fund a trial of Pentosan injections.

Lucky has been discarded by his owners twice in his short life. But since his return to SAFE, he has proven himself to be a solid citizen who is happy to work for a living. He put in a very solid performance at the 2014 SAFE show, where his behavior was exemplary and he earned ribbons in halter, under saddle, and dressage classes. Everyone who works with Lucky has nothing but glowing things to say about his behavior and his work ethic, not to mention his stunning good looks! He deserves a loyal adopter of his own, and a forever home. His ideal adopter is a confident rider who is willing to keep him in steady work and training, and monitor his comfort and soundness as time goes on. Are you ready to get Lucky?

Training Update for Bucky B Lucky!

Lucky has had a recent change of scenery, moving from Dutch Mills Farm up to White Birch Farm, where he will continue his under saddle work with trainer Melonie Rainey. We would like to thank Helga Roberts at Dutch Mills for everything she’s done for Lucky during his stay there. She’s been his trainer, his advocate, and his friend, and we know that she will miss him a lot. We’re also grateful to Melonie for once again offering to help a SAFE horse and we hope that he will find a permanent home soon.

Helga gave us this update on Lucky after his recent move:
Lucky is continuing his education as a dressage horse. He is a wonderful mover who has gaits that will definitely get you noticed in the dressage ring. At this stage in his training, he is definitely ready for a confident rider who is looking for a super fun horse to take to shows, clinics and maybe a trail or two! He is a perfect gentleman in the barn and outside, easy to handle, bathe, clip and groom. Walk/trot/canter both directions, leg yields and has started some lateral movements. 

Lucky enjoys daily turn-out and I think this is very important for any horse to have the ability to spend several hours a day outside. Like many other OTTBs I have worked with, Lucky is a breeze to deal with, as long as he is worked regularly and fairly. Truthfully even when he had several weeks off (through no fault of his own!) he didn’t change one bit as far as handling goes. I lunged him one day and got back on the next day, without having lost any training. He is really a joy to be around!

If you like them tall dark and handsome, this might be your man!

Bucky B Lucky day at the races

Emerald Downs invited members of SAFE to come down to the track today and set up a table. We asked and were granted permission to bring Sunny and Shasta along for the day as well. It was the mini’s first visit to a race track, but they decided to try their luck at handicapping the races and even printed up their Hot-To-Trot pick sheet to share with other racegoers. I ponied up $10 for them to use to place their bets, and after a slow start, they managed to pick 2 winners out of 9 races and end the day with $9.20, which they promptly donated to SAFE.

Sunny, in particular, was fascinated by the race horses, and watched them closely as they came down the stretch. He even nickered and whinnied at them as they went by. Jet captured this adorable moment on video where he actually tried to take off and follow them to the finish line!

Jeannette and I were interviewed by Comcast SportNet in the paddock between races, giving us the opportunity to fill people in on Bucky B Lucky’s current training status, and also to tell everyone about Portland and the other Thoroughbreds that SAFE has helped along the way. The interview was broadcast live between race 3 and 4, and we hope to have a tape of it that we can share with those of you who weren’t watching.

A big thank you to Shelby, Anna, and Denise for helping deliver and take care of the mini horses today. The girls braided and brushed the minis and then led them around to meet their new fans. Thank you also to Lynn Mazer for spending the day with us talking about horses and taking photos for us! The visit was cut short by thunder, lightening, and a downpour of cold rain, but we enjoyed our time at the track nonetheless. Thank you to Emerald Downs for inviting us out and for supporting Bucky B Lucky!