1997 Quarter Horse type mare
Suitability: Companion, For Novice Handler
Height: 14.2 hh
Weight: 988 lbs
Adoption Fee: $300
Bandit is a Quarter Horse type mare who arrived at SAFE with two other herd mates, Brandy and Topper. Sadly, their owner was in hospice and needed for a place for their horses. Bandit is a friendly and sweet mare, who is up for adoption as a companion. Ideally, she and Brandy would be adopted together, as they are quite close having spent most of their lives together.
All SAFE horses are adopted with a no-breeding clause, no exceptions.
Kirsten AL worked alongside Bandit in the November Joel Conner clinic, and said the following about this smart lady:
“This sweet 26 year old has never heard the saying, ‘ you can’t teach an old dog…’ because she continues to not only learn but enjoys the groundwork lessons together. Bending at a stop and starting again has become a favorite that we started in September. Bandit not only bends her head freely around to her barrel but does so with mostly level eyes and ears. While turning and bending, she wiggles her nose and has even stopped with her tongue sticking out from the side of her mouth. She completes this piece with the rope draped over her opposite side. Flag work has also become much easier for Bandit since September too. When we started, I could barely hold the flag and her at the same time. Now the flag can touch her all over her body and on her hind quarters and down her back legs. We are working forward on having the flag above her back and on the opposite side. The lessons that we are working on aren’t tricks as you might teach a dog, but are pieces to help Bandit to feel more confident, capable and balanced as she moves through her days. She is an absolute joy to work with!”
“Day 1 question – How to decrease cranky ears? My thought was to slowly and with small gentle steps reward the slightest improvement of cranky ears with a big release. I was seeing that there was a slight improvement and she was incrementally and very slowly getting better and showing me at least 1 pleasant ear if not 2. I also saw that when I increased pressure she got crankier. Then I saw Joel work Tanis with the same issue. He got right in there and got a change, and her expression changed and he released. Then her expression stayed good. It was like a light bulb turned on and my mind changed to a different gear. I KNEW I could do this and it would make a difference for Bandit. And it did!
Day 2 question – The biggest surprise for me was when Bandit walked up to the trailer and just hopped in! Then turned around calmly and stood there until Joel asked her to step out calmly and she did! I was very proud of Bandit!
Day 3 question – Terry had encouraged me to work with Bandit on all of the ‘Red Book’ items prior to saddling. Prior to the clinic, Lexee was a great help with the tarp and stepping up to the panels when I was working Declan. Who better to start learning to use the coils than to ask Joel? Joel demonstrated on Bandit and it was a great first lesson. I’m excited to learn more rope skills going forward.
Joel listed all of the things a horse needs to do before its first ride. Another first at this clinic was learning to bend to a stop. After many, many, many circles – Bandit accomplished this lesson as well! Next, work forward on keeping her bent and then starting and stopping with a bend. Finally, we were left with the second half of this class to work on skills so back to the trailer we went. Bandit loaded and unloaded again several times. At one point Joel noticed and asked the class to watch Bandit unload. He mentioned that she was able to place her front feet at the edge of the trailer then gather her back end forward and calmly walk off (and not jump). He mentioned that because of the work with hind quarters, she had the muscles and skills to do this properly. Going forward, learning a proper hind quarter is a 2 beat gait will be needed before she is able to back out of the trailer.”
Trypanophobia is the fear of needles — and while I’ve yet to meet anyone who is fond of getting poked, some have more of an issue with it than others. The same goes for horses. Some hardly blink. Be it IM or IV, you’d be hard pressed to get a reaction out of our more stoic residents. But with others, you’d swear they could smell a needle they way they react.
As is standard, the anticipation of the thing is typically worse than the thing itself. Based on my own experience, the way the horses play with one another (e.g., rough), and the size of the needle, I really can’t imagine that a shot is very bad at all. But for those who cannot be talked out their fear, however irrational, a little rewiring is in order.
Exposure therapy may have different names and applications in the horse world, but the idea is similar. For Bandit, perhaps our most needle-adverse horse at the moment, she was in need of a little help ahead of an upcoming vet appointment. Lucky for Bandit, we learned a trick from our vets to help our horses overcome their fear.
A simple pen, the clicky kind. A crude replica of the sudden prick of a needle. Even the pen tip itself is enough, when the horse is reactive enough, to send them flying. Bandit is one such example. The very idea of a poke on the neck sent her snaking around, and with the vet on the other end of the line, forget it. So we have been practicing, helping Bandit to overcome her fear by writing little love notes on her neck — not actually, of course, but in theory. We might never be able to help Bandit love needles, but our goal is to make them far less terrifying for her than they started out.
And it seems to be working! With every click of the pen, Bandit gets less and less anxious about something touching her on the neck. We work at both IM shots and IV, both poking at that nice V of muscle and squeezing her neck and poking at where the vein lives. When we started, even just your hand on her could be enough to elicit a reaction, but now she stands quite well, perhaps not loving the ordeal, but certainly much more tolerant than she ever was in the past. The true test will be to see how her next vet visit goes, but I would bet money her fear levels will be reduced. Stay tuned!
If you were to stay at the Brandy and Bandit Bed and Breakfast (only fun to say because of all the alliteration, and goodness me, try saying ‘Brandy and Bandit’ ten times fast), you would find that grass is newly on the menu. These two ladies have been spending a bit of time separate as of late, in paddocks that neighbor one another but are not connected. This slight separation has been good for the two of them, as they have been quite herd bound since their arrival at SAFE, and being in sight of one another but not attached at the hip has meant a bit more emotional stability for the both of them. Recently, the volunteers who work with them have even been able to separate them quite a distance without a complete meltdown occurring — that’s a huge change from where they started! But I digress, I mention this separation only because now that the ground is drying up and our grass fields are opening again, these two ladies get to enjoy their shared backyard together. During this time, they nose around the yucky buttercups (a plague upon our pastures at the start of every grass season) and graze alongside each other happily. But once the timer rings, they are quite content to mosey on back to their individual rooms and return to their individual interests, promising to meet same time, same place the next day.
As though returning from a long holiday, these two noble ladies have come back to SAFE. For many months we watched their experiences at their foster home from afar – frolicking alongside their foster siblings, enjoying a summer of grass, making friends with neighboring alpacas and dogs.
But circumstances change, and as we slid into fall, we welcomed the girls back home through the gates of SAFE. It had been a while since we’d seen them in person, and the careful care their lovely foster took of them was apparent from the moment they stepped off the trailer.
These girls may be on the older end of the spectrum, but they are so full of life and personality! There’s nothing about them — well, ok, maybe Brandy’s poor teeth and Bandit’s stiff legs – that scream ‘senior citizen,’ and something tells me if they could speak English they would firmly reject the term.
The ladies are quite attached, and therefore their stall accommodations include a half wall so they can see each other all through the night, which works out well for Brandy, who can beg Bandit for hay. Given the poor state of her teeth, Brandy is on a mash-only diet, but still tries her best to finagle some hay snacks once in a while.
Since their return to SAFE, these two have stepped a bit more firmly into our horsemanship program, and volunteers have been able to both learn from and teach these gals a few new tricks. They were participants in November’s Joel clinic, where they worked on being a bit less pushy and finding comfort in their human handlers when the physical distance between their horse counterpart grew.
While we are enjoying having the girls back at SAFE, we are holding space in our hearts and minds that they might find a permanent foster situation. While all horses need time and attention, there are some – these two included – who would really benefit from being an ‘only child.’ With up to 30 horses under our care here at SAFE and only 24 hours in the day, logistically we cannot dote on all of them to the degree they deserve. To place them in a foster situation where they can be given the lion’s share of attentiveness would be an amazing gift to them. If you are interested in fostering these two, shoot an email to email@example.com to start up a conversation.
In the meantime, we continue to delight in feeding these two their daily pill-pocket stud muffins and watching the funny way Bandit’s lips corkscrew when you find juuuust the right spot to itch on her withers.
Kirsten AL worked with Bandit at the November Joel Conner clinic, and had the following to say about her time spent with this nice old gal:
“Lessons learned … Ms. Bandit Bay can be both a student and a teacher.
In haltering and working with this 25-year-old quarter horse mare, I was quickly schooled in the fact that this gal prefers not to be in tight quarters with other horses as she turned several times to assess who was around her which left me dodging her possibly threatening back legs. Paired with the knowledge of prior back feet farrier challenges and that Bandit and Brandy were heard bound and not to be separated, a quick brushing and refuge in the more open space in the outdoor arena helped Bandit to quickly return to baseline. Lesson 1; ask for other potential challenges or preferences when working with a horse for the first time.
Lesson 2. In the more open space of the outdoor arena, Bandit continued to be distracted by other horses around her and kept her eye on her buddy, Brandy. With Joel’s suggestion, Bandit was moved further and further away from Brandy and, with permission, to the outside of the outdoor arena. Bandit and Brandy had less of a tether than previously believed; a lesson learned. Bandit and Brandy could be worked quite successfully separated from each other.
With consistency and noticing quickly when her attention was elsewhere during the clinic, she improved greatly and ended with increased focus, ‘looking for’ direction and gained a completely attentive disposition. Leaving the best lesson, Lesson 3, for last; Bandit’s progression through the clinic is a testament that she is a fabulous learner and has a heart of gold behind those gentle, sweet eyes.
Thank you, Bandit, for giving me the opportunity to gain wisdom in this process and for being a willing learner!”
Brandy and Bandit have arrived at their foster home with long-time SAFE volunteer, Sarah V! A group of SAFE volunteers spent a sunny weekend day putting the finishing touches on the girl’s new home, and then it was time for the pair to arrive. They had a lovely first day at the farm, exploring and grazing in the sunshine alongside their new neighbors – a herd of alpacas. The little herd caused quite the stir with both girls, especially with Brandy, who watched them for hours.
A few days later, the girls were introduced over the fence to Duke, their foster brother, and expressed towards him the same curious, friendly energy. They even got to enjoy some turnout in adjoining grass pastures together.
Another foster brother for them: Hopper the dog, just one letter away from sharing the name with their previous paddock mate, Topper the pony. Hopper provided them with a warm welcome, bringing his rawhide treat as an offering to the girls. According to his mom, this is his seal of approval!
Overall, the girls are settling in very nicely at their new home, and we look forward to continued updates from their foster mom!
We’ve spent quite some time getting to know these two mares since their arrival at SAFE in October, 2021. We’ve observed that both have a “been there, done that” wisdom about them. They seem like two old ladies chuckling to themselves about days gone by and all the mischief they had gotten into together. Brandi is definitely the herd leader and Bandit is completely happy to follow her lead. They are both gentle to groom and handle. After being at SAFE for some time now, Bandit is easy to halter and enjoys her grooming and neck scratching sessions. The two are sweet enough to participate in volunteer grooming sessions and are no trouble when haltered and groomed. Both of them seem to enjoy the human companionship and are becoming favorites among the volunteers.
When Bandit came to SAFE, previous caretakers reported she was difficult for the farrier and needed veterinarian sedation for trims. She has now successfully been trimmed twice with our farrier, without sedation, and each time she became more relaxed. During the most recent trim, our farrier was impressed with Bandit’s progress and commented that Bandit seemed very relaxed and well-mannered. The farrier’s initial concern that it might be difficult for Bandit to get past her anxiety with hind leg trims faded after this session with Bandit’s good behavior.
Both mares’ teeth have been examined by our veterinarian. They have very little tooth available to be filed down and both were stressed by the equipment needed to perform the procedures. Because the exam indicated that not a huge amount of work could be done, we decided best to not cause them too much anxiety and did not do dentals. Going forward we will watch their weights and, due to the lack of grinding surface remaining on their teeth, supplement both with senior complete feed as needed to maintain good weights. Both mares have exhibited reluctance to be separate stalls, particularly Bandit. For the future, they will do best in a living situation that allow them 24-hour access in and out of shelters and where they can keep an eye on each other. They are currently content living as SAFE, sharing a run through shed and large paddock.
We are currently looking for an ideal foster home that will keep both mares living their best lives together. They are advanced in age but not in spirit, and we look forward to giving them a lovely retirement together.
Brandy, Bandit and Topper all arrived at the beginning of October. Sadly, their owner had terminal cancer and was in hospice care. One of their last wishes was to ensure that her horses were safe and taken care of. Their friends helped them locate SAFE, we were able to help so we headed to Port Orchard to pick them up. Brandy is a little shy about being haltered so we set up a little shoot to load her in the trailer. Once Brandy was in, Bandit and Topper quickly followed. They traveled like champs and no one broke a sweat on the way over.
Topper is a fluffy little guy who came in about 100 pounds overweight. We set him up next door to Brandy and Bandit in his own paddock so we could help him lose weight. He now is getting his hay soaked for 30 minutes to help remove the sugars and is already looking better. Brandy seems to be the top dog and Bandit is a very good listener and moves out of her way so she can have first pick over her eating spot. All three horses need a dental and in preparation for coming into the barn we did a trial run. Each one got to practice walking into a stall and as long as they still knew where their friends were, they all walked in like champs. They must be familiar with barn life. The three have settled into the routine at SAFE, looking forward to morning and evening grain time with eager nickers.
1. Jean-Claude A.
2. Kim D.
3. Susanne M.
4. Carrie S.
5. Nancy P.
7. Lisa L.
Every horse deserves at least ten friends! Even a small monthly donation can make a difference.