|BREED: Draft Cross
|COLOR: bay||MARKINGS: star, snip, RH pastern, LH sock|
|YOB: 2014||AGE: 8||HEIGHT:||WEIGHT:|
|LOCATION: Redmond, WA||ADOPTION FEE: TBD||Online Adoption Application|
Cramer is a HUGE boy who arrived at SAFE in rough shape. He is believed to have been a bucking horse in rodeos and at 8 years old was still unhandled. The staff got right to work getting him used to people by finding his favorite spot to be scratched. Cramer was part of a 3 horse seizure from Snohomish Animal Control. Another young 3‑year-old horse, Otto came to SAFE a few days after Cramer, while the third horse went to our friends at Skagit Animals In Need (SAIN). Both horses needed to be brought up to a healthy weight and were infested with lice. Now lice free and looking better, we look forward to getting to know this gentle giant.
Cramer has made some huge strides (but with legs his length, maybe it’s just a normal stride for him) the last several months here at SAFE. It wasn’t all that long ago that he was first learning to walk from paddock to round pen, a relatively short distance that once felt like miles. Now, his resume includes participating in a Joel Conner clinic alongside Lexee N, being turned out in a herd setting, and being so easy to catch that he gets to enjoy grass turnout.
The work that Lexee did with Cramer has made it so this sensitive guy is a model student when it comes to being roped and moved around loose in the round pen. He’s a sensitive fellow which makes him a great study on how soft one can be when asking him to move up or down through the gaits. He’s always ready to draw in when you ask, and really seems to enjoy the face pets he receives when he meets you in the middle.
It’s difficult to imagine this gentle giant was ever a bucking horse — his sweet personality and goofy gelding energy is more akin to a giant teddy bear come to life. But this is not to discount his past and the way it affects him still. It is probable that Cramer will be adopted out as a companion because of his past experiences being saddled as a bucking horse, but this is not to say that we will treat him any differently — companion or not, we will instill him with all the tools he needs to be successful going forward. Who Cramer is now is not who he once was, and we are excited to see just how much further this sweet guy will come.
Lexee N, who has been spending time working with Cramer, had the following to say about her time with him:
Cramer is such a Handsome Man & is Making Progress!
How can you not fall in love with that face? Cramer is a very sweet gentle giant and working with him has been an extreme pleasure.
I don’t often work with a sensitive horse like Cramer and I will not lie, it’s a big change for myself. He shows you how little you need to do to affect his movement and it’s quite incredible to have him learn how to feel for you and understand pressure in a way he hasn’t before. I’ve also been able to work with the rope and flag a lot more and am getting better at petting and working with each. Which is a plus for both him and me!
Changing eyes is arguably Cramer’s biggest issue. He would much rather me be on his left side at all times, and as he follows me around, he always puts me on his left. I’ve been just trying to have him adjust himself by backing up and putting myself in positions he is comfortable with me in, so as he approaches me hopefully he can do it from either eye. The other day we were so close, he at least brought his face straight with me instead of veering past me so I’m on his left only. And I will continue to try this so hopefully he won’t always try to block me as I go from one side to the other.
I’m hoping to start taking Cramer out to his grass turn out and practice leading so hopefully we can get ready to move him around the property and eventually to a new paddock. Big things are coming for this smart boy and I’m so excited!
Cramer’s trouble is that he was improperly halter started in the past or never was taught to come with the handler. He was likely pulled on in an attempt to lead. Evidence of this is in his confusion and “stuck feet” especially when outside energy is raised. You can manage fairly well around him when it is all his idea, but when we add any element that he is unsure about, his initial reaction is to turn and run. While that clearly worked in the past, Cramer is now learning to keep his mind with the handlers and not to “cut and run.” This is a hard habit to break, but when it is worked out he will be leading correctly, respectful of the lead and choosing to stay with the handler.
Goals for Cramer in the weeks to come:
- Working on less overreaction to outside energy. Less confusion about things like the rope or the flag that don’t “mean anything” unless the handler’s feel says they have meaning.
- Continued work on Cramer’s attention to the handler. Helping set up ways for him to search out more connections with her while she works with him. This too will help with his “overreactions.”
- Not plateauing: working to get more exposure to things that will help bring “the trouble to the surface.” Just helping bring him to acceptance by closing the bind (place he feels uncomfortable) just slightly and giving as he turns loose. As a domestic horse, he will be asked for the rest of his life to be ok with things that might not all the way feel comfortable to him. We are helping him feel free in his feet to know that he is not stuck and when given this freedom of his feet he can choose to stay with us without being braced and anxious. It is a beautiful thing to watch: a horse who comes into SAFE so stuck in their feet, finding freedom. Their bodies turning loose, and in turn losing the anxiety they were holding in all interactions with humans before coming to us.
One of our volunteers, Lise A. has spent some time recently with Cramer, and had the following to say about her experience:
I have had the good fortune of getting to start grooming Cramer in early February (with Terry’s guidance of course). He and I have gotten to hang out two to three times a week. He is a big, furry and funny guy. I sure wish we knew what is going on inside that large head with the matching fuzzy cheek whorls.
As you may have noticed Cramer tends to roll in the mud of his turn out. And with Otto gone he had gotten to stretch out a bit more between both paddock areas. (now that Tiva has arrived it will be fun to see how they do together).
Wherever Cramer is he manages (if you haven’t noticed) to deposit his massive pile of poops from one end to the other of his turnout. Only those that know horses and muck will appreciate their size and the fact that there is no way you can fit it in one pitch fork scoop!
He was quite a stinker until a bath last month. And after a day or two, well yes, it is hard to tell. He is well loved in-spite of himself. And though I groom him, he is very hard to get clean so no one would ever know I was there!
He halters easily and loves to be curried almost everywhere though he is a little shy around his head and feet at times but is getting better with more loving! He will usually get his “seal nose” on with licking and chewing in the front and swing his butt back and forth in the back. As his tail swings back and forth I am left wondering what music Cramer is hearing.
There have been a few days when he can be a bit impatient with grooming and can’t be bothered with standing around for too long. But, when I release him he will always follow me wondering why I would leave him behind — “didn’t I know that he was just kidding and wasn’t quite done yet”.
Cramer is a big guy and seems to have a big heart and there is likely a big story to tell that none of us will ever know. However, we can all hope that he will unwind and learn to trust in each of us as we stop by to say “hi”. With each loving contact, my wish is that he will learn that he has landed at a great stopping place …. on his way to finding a forever home.
We are happy to report that Cramer has successfully had all four hooves trimmed. He was a gem for the farrier and stayed connected to the handler without trouble. He has a kind and thoughtful nature. When he had issues with the hind it was less from being “naughty” than him figuring out how to balance his weight to keep that big body up. I won’t say that he is 100% without a little bit of testing the handlers but quickly and with thoughtfulness remained composed and relaxed about the event. His eyes remained soft and when he had a minor anxiety, he quickly melted back into the lovable gentle giant we are quickly falling in love with here at SAFE!
Check out the video of Cramer’s first trim:
Cramer was a very good boy for his first bath at SAFE. He has come a long way from the timid giant that arrived just a short time ago. He is coming along nicely in the halter work, and we have been able to complete his first dental, vaccines and worming treatments. Over the next weeks we hope to have his first farrier visit and begin walking him around the property. We were surprised to find out during his dental exam that he only 8 years old! More to come as this kind soul continues to get changes through SAFE’s horsemanship program. Cramer will be available for adoption after he is assessed and if all goes well, started as a riding horse.
1. Sean C.
2. Amy Q.
3. Jean E.
4. Jennifer M.
5. Susan C.
6. L. Devin M.
Every horse deserves at least ten friends! Even a small monthly donation can make a difference. Plus, SAFE horse sponsors receive discounts at local businesses through the SAFEkeepers program!