If Annabelle could tell us all the stories of her life, I think we would all have a good long cry and then gather ourselves up and look to the future. She is a tough girl who has spent a good part of her life fighting for her safety. Annabelle has a deep soul and we can tell that she desperately wants to be with a herd and comforted by their peaceful community.
After being rescued, SAFE has taken some time to let this mare settle into her new life. She has steadily been getting easier to handle both for the volunteers and farrier. We can tell that a long time ago she was handled and may have even been ridden. We have been helping her lose some weight by light exercise, turnout on a dry lot, and soaking her hay to reduce the sugar content.
She is for the most part easy to lead and accepts what we ask of her. There are times, however, that the desire to leave the human handling her and connect with the herd overwhelms her completely. This strong herd bound behavior is something that we have been working with her on since she arrived. It is dangerous for her to get into this stressful state and lose sight of the person at the end of the lead. She has an underlining go to reaction for self preservation that can be unaware of the people around her who are trying to help. She is slowly learning to trust and look to the human for guidance but this is a long process and her past may never be completely erased.
One of the biggest roadblocks ahead for her training is a bi-lateral swelling and light lameness in her right front and left hind. Before putting her into any work we had our veterinarian take a look at her to determine if it was safe for us to ask her to work. The vet concluded that she is mildly lame on both those legs but that we can begin to work her lightly and never ask too much of her. Ideally we could X‑ray her hind left and ultrasound her right front but it is important be responsible with our medical funds. Due to her age and level of training we determined not to do any diagnostics on her and to only ask a little bit from her. The swelling in her left hind has gone down some over the last few months, probably since she is not defending herself from the stallion she was kept with before being rescued. However the right swelling remains and can became more inflamed at times. We continue to only ask a little bit from her and monitor her comfort.
We have put a saddle and bridle on her, which she kindly accepted. We do not feel that she will be a suitable for heavy riding but she maybe able to have riders at the walk as long as it is not too demanding. We will continue to work with her on trusting people and being good for things like the farrier, trailering and general handling. She really has changed a ton since her intake. She is currently available as a companion horse and we are looking to place her in the right home as soon as possible.