Artie’s start to life was different than most horses, even compared to most horses that arrive at SAFE. He was a stallion before his arrival and spent his time in a fairly small space having to protect his little herd of mares and foals. He was most likely constantly defending himself from other stallions. It is no wonder that Artie struggles with having things come from behind him and above his head. This is a conundrum because how will we get Artie used to having a person on top of him, riding when he is used to predators and danger coming down on him. Looking at this through Artie’s eyes, he’s not a bad horse, he has his reasons for his actions and we continue to try and show him he doesn’t need to be protective of himself of those who are not trying to hurt him.
At this time, we continue to help him advance his abilities to possibly be a riding horse through our training program. We have no expectations that he must become a riding horse and will constantly evaluate what is best for him. At some point SAFE may consider discontinuing our attempts to saddle and ride him if the level of risk for those involved is too great or the time, energy and resources to start one horse no longer makes sense.
Artie has come very far in his other areas of training. He now has good ground manners, holds still for the farrier and has worked through his fear of being vaccinated. He has come to a level where he could have a
perfectly happy and healthy life as a companion horse. If we decided to have keep Artie as a companion, that would mean he would not be allowed to be riding horse for the rest of his life, however there are many opportunities to further his abilities through hand lead obstacle trails and groundwork. He is extremely smart and as a gelding he is very gentle with other horses and people. Every horse we add to Artie’s paddock, he welcomes in as a new friend. He truly is an easy-going, gets along with everyone, guy.