2017 brown & white pinto BLM Mustang mare
Type of Rescue: Owner Surrender
Intake Date: 6/16/21
Date of Passing: 12/30/2021
Length of Time with SAFE: 6 months
Arigato, or Ari for short, was a pretty brown & white BLM Mustang. Her previous owners got her through the Mustang Adoption Incentive Program in September 2020, but were never able to handle or gentle her. Arigato lived there untouched, standing in mud without proper care until her feet were long and cracked. When she was surrendered to SAFE, we had to teach her that human touch was not a bad thing so we could then take care of her feet and medical needs. Fortunately, Ari was willing to try and within two days, we could touch her face. From there, Ari made steady progress. She was curious and willing to learn, and she was brave enough to overcome her fear when handled gently and fairly.
Sadly, Ari’s hoof issues went beyond just lack of trimming. X‑rays revealed severe degeneration in her right hind coffin joint and navicular bone. The disease was likely the result of an untreated infection or trauma she suffered before being rescued. The work we did to gentle her never seemed to cause her too much discomfort. She was always slight lame but she seemed happy living at SAFE and getting more and more peaceful around humans.
But after an episode of colic in late December 2021, Ari became tender on her right hind and soon stopped bearing weight on that limb. The pain she was suffering left us no choice but to humanely euthanize her. Ari left us a much different horse than who she was when she arrived. She was no longer afraid or frightened, and she took comfort in human touch and love. She was surrounded by love and friendship when she was peacefully laid to rest and like all things, she did this with grace.
Some of these are just harder to talk about than others. I’m so sorry to let you all know we had to let Arigato go. She was diagnosed with severe degeneration of her right hind coffin joint and navicular bone resulting in ongoing lameness issues. She was euthanized due to a grave prognosis for life without significant pain. The disease was likely the result of a previous infection before she arrived at SAFE.
We are unclear when the trauma to her hind foot occurred but evidences of this were present from the day she arrived at SAFE. However not being gentle, we could not safely sedate her and x‑ray. She managed well and the work we did to gentle her never seemed to cause too much discomfort. She was always slight lame but happily living and getting more and more peaceful around humans.
Last week she presented with signs of colic, within a few days started to become tender on her hind and the last 2 days not bearing weigh. Her pain was severe the last 2 days and we greatly appreciate our vets getting to her as soon as possible. She was not afraid or frightened, she took comfort in human touch and love, and was peaceful about everything we needed to do to help her this past week. She found a forever home with SAFE and had found love with our family. She was surrounded by love and friendship when she was peacefully laid to rest and like all things she did this with grace.
You will be dearly missed sweet teddy bear mare. Thank you for trusting and loving us as much as we loved you.
What great changes we have seen in this young mare over the last weeks. She is easily haltered now and able to safely walk out of her paddock and into the arena to work. Changing eyes remains a challenge for her so it is very important we keep working to help her free up and move across the front without panicking as she changes eyes.
Ari is now fully vaccinated and has had a number of very successful farrier trims. We still see a mild lameness in her right hind and we have to continue her gentling so we can have her fully evaluated by our vets in the coming months. Luckily the work only seems to improve her movement and she does not become sore or more uncomfortable after being worked. It’s still a mystery why she had the bulge on her hoof…it may be a very traumatic injury that resulted in a big abscess that took a long time to surface? The crack and bulge are moving down the hoof as new foot grows and the crack is now practically gone. There are still some visual differences in the size and shape of the coronet band on that right hind but overall, she appears fairly comfortable weighting it now. Once the vets can x‑ray and we can have a few more answers, we will feel a whole lot more secure about her future. She is a very sweet mare and has soulful expressions. She loves to cuddle and her eyes are soft and sweet when we are working with her.
Arigato came to SAFE with very overgrown hooves and some apparent lameness in her right hind. We have been working with her to gentle her enough to safely sedate her for X‑rays. She has a bulge about one inch below the coronet band. There is a possibility that this is a benign tumor known as a keratoma, but this will need to be confirmed through the X‑rays. The only way to treat a keratoma is by surgically removing a section of the outer hoof wall to access the keratoma. Depending on the size of the area sectioned off, it can take up to a year for the hoof hard layer to regrow. This would be a year on limited movement and stall rest. That length of confinement is particularly difficult for a horse to endure. A decision on whether or not it is in Arigato’s best interest to do the surgery is pending results of further diagnostics. In the meantime, she had her first farrier visit in early August to trim her hooves.
In the last month, Ari has made major steps in groundwork training. During the September Joel Conner clinic at SAFE, Terry spent about 45 minutes on the first day of the clinic convincing Ari that she could just get through the door to the arena. By the third day, Ari walked right into the arena to join the groundwork class. Another challenge that Arigato conquered was having the vet get up close to her. By taking the time needed to overcome Ari’s fears, the vet was able to give Ari’s first vaccinations and booster shots. Ari has had two visits from the farrier for hoof trims, and her lameness seems to have evened out. She has good days and bad days, but seems comfortable enough to continue the gentling work with her. We’re careful that working with her to improve her balance does not make her lameness worse.
Arigato came to SAFE having never been touched by a person. The staff got right to work getting her used to all sorts of new experiences. From haltering, leading, flagging, picking up feet and fly spray, check out the videos Terry, our Operations Director, has been sharing along the way.
Arigato, Ari for short, arrived on a busy Wednesday last week with matted hair, muddy and in desperate need of a hoof trim. Ari is a 4 year old, BLM Mustang from a herd in Salt River, Wyoming. Her previous owners got her from the Adoption Incentive Program in September 2020, but were never able to handle or gentle her. Ari lived at their home, standing in mud without proper care until her feet were long and cracked. They hired a trainer to help them, but they were never able to touch her.
Our plan is to focus on teaching her that human touch is not a bad thing, and that she can always move her feet. Learning that we aren’t going to hurt her and we will give her all the time and space she needs to earn our trust. Once we establish that relationship, then we can take care of her feet and other medical needs that require us to be able to handle her.
We immediately got to work, and she has already let Candi, one of our volunteer riders, pet her on the face after only being at SAFE for two days! Ari seems to be a curious mare, watching our volunteers come in each day to clean her paddock, keeping distance between them, but then slowly inching her way over to check out what’s going on. We are excited to see this gal bloom into a horse with a bright future.