2014 Yakima Reservation gelding
Suitability: For Advanced Rider (green horse)
Markings: small star
Height: 14 hh
Weight: 904 lbs
Adoption Fee: $3,000
Online Adoption Application
Edward, along with Jacob and Esme, were obtained through a now defunct rescue organization by a family that moved to Washington state hoping to keep horses on a rented property near their home. They soon discovered that the property flooded rather badly during the fall and winter months. With no other options available to them, these horses just had to live in the wet, muddy conditions. Thankfully, they were able to survive. Edward has been suffering from equine asthma for quite some time, resulting in severe weight loss that has left him quite emaciated. Untreated equine asthma can cause massive weight loss very quickly for two reasons: one, because overuse of respiratory muscles can burn a great number of calories and two, because they don’t eat or drink as much as they should because it’s hard to breathe and eat at the same time. Jacob and Esme looked better, but that was somewhat deceptive because they had large parasite loads, making their bellies look big. Their owner turned to SAFE for help after coming to the realization that caring for these three horses was more than they could handle.
Edward learned quite quickly to be patient as we administered an inhaler twice a day for weeks and then moved onto a daily nebulizer. After a couple of months on the nebulizer Edward was cleared to come off of it and now we just keep an eye on his breathing and dunk his hay in water to remove dust that might make it more difficult to breathe. Edward has already been saddled is ready to be adopted!
Loadin’ & Tyin’
In preparation for an off-site clinic (and just in general for adoption), Edward spent some time practicing trailer loading and standing tied recently. These are important skills for any horse to learn, ones that set them up for success in their future home (a home they cannot reach if not by trailer!)
Edward proved a quick study, hopping on and off the trailer like an old pro. But trailering isn’t just getting on and coming off, but standing for the ride without being in a panic. This we achieve by spending lots of relaxing time in the trailer, showing that it can be a place of calm. There will inevitably be unexpected elements of a horse’s journey on a trailer — bumps and jolts and stops that vary with each ride — but to help show them that overall the trailer is not a scary place can be a huge help when the going does get rough.
Tying was also not a problem for Ed, who if anything just seemed a bit confused as to why he was being asked to stand in the arena by himself. We flagged him along the wall for a while after first tying him, showing him that he was free to move laterally if he felt the need to go somewhere, and he performed this exercise smoothly and without panic. Then, he sat for a bit tied and watched as his friend Rae practiced trailering. When we walked by, he would greet us with his typical low nicker, as if to say ‘hey, come over here and untie me!’ but without any hullabaloo whatsoever.
These two exercises help to sculpt Edward into a great horse citizen, and set him up for success in his future endeavors.
Training Update: Edward
In addition to his work under saddle, we have been spending some time sending Edward over trot poles to aid with strength and conditioning. It is always a treat to watch the floaty way horses move over poles, and this handsome boy is certainly no exception! Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/embed/GHTajUXXruQ
Edward has, as all horses do, an almost preternatural ability to read humans. When I think about a horse like Edward — really, when I give thought to horses in general — I am filled with amazement that they allow us to do even a quarter of the things that they do. So when they test their boundaries with us, I should really be more surprised it doesn’t happen more often.
Edward arrived at SAFE quite skeletal, a result of poor nutrition and poor luck — his respiration was so bad that he required daily nebulizing. Most times, when horses first get to SAFE, they are quite subdued. It takes some time for them to come into themselves, aided by calories and vet care and clean, stable environments. So for the first little while, Edward was to us a sweet, if not somewhat sickly, boy, who stood calmly for his medications and nickered when you approached his gate. Ventipulmin syrup, a medication administered to help with his breathing, was a particular favorite of his, and he practically couldn’t get enough of the syringe.
But as his health improved, his personality began to truly blossom. In his past life, he had been poorly halter started, and had experiences with people where he had learned that he was in control of their feet, not the other way around. So when people began working with him, he was pulling from the box of tricks that he had known his entire life — he knew nothing else. One of his trademarks was being difficult to halter. Half-way through haltering, he decided that he was actually not interested in the proceedings, and would make a quick getaway. Then it became a matter of approaching him again — easier said than done — once he chose fleeing as the move of the hour. There was a period of his life where only Terry had success catching him. Everyone else, he learned he could get away from, and would exploit that with frequency.
Reader, I have to admit, at one time, haltering Edward weighed heavily on me. My initial unsuccessful attempts to catch him had the deck stacked against me, and he absolutely had my number. I’m sure he could hear the nervous beating of my heart as I approached, and he could certainly sense the trepidation in my approach. I knew what he was capable of, and he knew that I knew. Catching horses is a funny thing — in most instances, it’s a mindless task, but in some cases, it is a challenge that overtakes your thoughts. Or, my thoughts. To get Edward more comfortable with being caught, he first had to get caught, and if the latter couldn’t happen, then the former wouldn’t.
But there are always solutions. Until he learned to be caught by others, he would have to wear a nylon halter, something that you could clip a lead onto without having to fiddle with the production of haltering from scratch. This provided a quick and easy way to catch him, and then practice with the rope halter. ‘Caught’ with the nylon halter, even if (and when) he tried to make a break for it, you could reel him back in and try again. Soon enough, he learned that his quick escape no longer worked the way it once did, and at the same time, learned with each knot tied that being caught by others was really not that big a deal. Soon enough, the nylon halter was retired, and good old Eddie was getting caught just like any other.
On occasion, with a new person, Eddie will reach back into that box of tricks and pull out one of his old moves, but the foundation we have laid for him during his months here at SAFE makes it so he comes back to his current self rather than living in the past. Each time we work with Edward, we help to empower him with a new set of tools so that he no longer has to resort back to his old box of tricks, and these days Eddie is quite a wonderful citizen.
Jacob and Edward, BFF
Although they took their names from the rival love interest’s in Stephanie Meyer’s ‘Twilight,’ our equine Jacob and Edward could not be any closer to the definition of two peas in a pod. If they are together, they appear as one creature, joined at the hip (or cheek)! One could spend hours outside their paddock, just watching the way they interact with one another. But although they are inseparable, when one goes off to work, the other is perfectly content to be left alone — there is not an element of herd bound-ness that attaches them. Though they have both been started as riding horses and will most likely one day go their separate ways, here at SAFE we fantasize about the two getting adopted out as a pair so they can truly continue to be best friends, forever.
Riding Horse Edward
This past week, Eddie had his first few rides — uneventful, just the way we like them. It took him a bit of time to give to the bend Joel was asking him for, but with the patience and great releases of a well-practiced teacher, he got there. He was also uncertain about what Joel’s leg meant when asking for hindquarters, but again, figured it out soon enough under Joel’s tutelage.
Times like these remind how important it is to hang in there and wait for the correct action from the horse before granting a release. Had he thrown in the towel before Edward had moved his hind over, or bent appropriately, it would have sent Eddie the message that a release could come for doing the ‘wrong’ thing. It is inevitable that not every release will be perfect, but we try our best to make the ratio of correct releases to incorrect ones skewed in the favor of the former. Especially with young horses who are just learning, these positive experiences can provide a great baseline of knowledge from which they can draw from. Clearly communicating with the horse starting with the very first ride helps to teach them expectations for subsequent rides.
And proof is in the pudding — on Edward’s second ride, he was more understanding than his first, and on his third, even better. Because he is still so green, this understanding between himself and his rider is somewhat tenuous — it would be easy at this point for him to get confused about what was being asked of him. However, with each ride he will continue to grow a bit more sure, and one day it will be difficult to imagine he was ever an un-started gelding with a bit of a wild streak.
Edward All Cinched Up
Edward, the skinny, asthmatic horse who arrived at SAFE last fall has been started under saddle. It has been a while since he looked like the gelding we first met – he has seen such dramatic improvement in both his health and his ground manners – and to see him with a saddle on, it is difficult to imagine his origins.
Out of his two companions, he fell right in the middle of the pack in terms of ease of saddling. Jacob acted as though he’d been wearing a saddle all his life, and Esme.. well, Esme is still getting used to it. Edward had his moments, but overall took to saddled life with relative ease. In preparation for a rider, Edward has been doing all of his groundwork under saddle, progressing through Buck Brannaman’s ‘Red Book,’ learning to give to pressure by way of a rope, and working on moving up and down softly through the gaits off a feel.
So far, our Eddie doesn’t seem to mind the ropes touching him too much. When they tighten up, particularly around his hind, he does get a little bothered (bunny hopping, a baby version of a buck), but he stands with a curious contemplation as Terry coils and swings and throws her rope — even when he is the target. There are a few wiggles in there, but for the most part he is quite stoic. All of this work on the ground will directly translate to when he has a rider on his back, something he is now well prepared for.
Edward, along with the herd mates he arrived at SAFE with, Esme and Jacob, were all named after characters from a certain mid-2000s book series you may be familiar with, featuring vampires and werewolves and rain, oh my! Edward, the horse, was named after Edward, the vampire, and it turns out that the two share more similarities than just sparkling in the sun; now at a healthy weight, on those rare winter days when the sun does appear, Edward’s coat is positively lustrous liver chestnut.
At his most recent dental exam, it was discovered that Edward was hiding some serious sharp points. These points are typically caused by uneven wear on the teeth, and for domesticated horses who tend to chew far less each day than their wild counterparts, routine dental visits are required to check for and remedy such situations. After a bit of filing from our vet, Edward was back to being fangless – a much healthier and more comfortable situation for him.
We might brag a little about how proud we are of this young gelding. A lot has changed for him over the last months since coming into SAFE and he has hit a good stride in his training and preparation for adoption. He had very little to no issue with our vet, getting sedated or having his first ever dental examination. Very proud of the good citizen he is becoming!
Training Update: Edward Bumping up to the Rail
Check out this video of Edward bumping up to the rail — it was only the third time we did this exercise with him, and as you can see, he is a very fast learner and an incredibly smart boy!
Edward Making Strides
Edward is a silly monkey! He is both a joy and a troublemaker all wrapped up in a handsome package. We’re approaching 60 days of nebulizing treatments for Edward. He manages these exceptionally well, given how green and untrained he was just a few months ago. We have slowly decreased the amount of medication and now do treatments a few times a week. If all goes well, he will be able to maintain effective respiration on a few times a week or just for “flare-ups”. This will be a big relief for our staff who have been standing with him for these 45-minute sessions daily. Edward is hesitant about anyone other than his primary trainer, Terry, haltering or handling him, and he can be intimidating and quick moving. However, we are introducing him to being haltered by others so that he can be safely handled by more people. Edward has a trouble spot when asked to do things he doesn’t want to do or is unsure about. In his life before SAFE, he likely was able to either bully his way to get people to leave him alone or they simply never asked him to do anything that wasn’t his idea. He is the more herd bound member of the trio that all came to SAFE together. He is fine leaving the other horses as long as he is with Terry but if he is left alone in his paddock he will call and run around until his paddock buddies return, particularly little Esme.
Terry was able to saddle Edward three times prior to his first colt starting clinic at SAFE and only in the very first saddling did he feel the need to buck. Terry was able to keep him on the halter during the bucking and helped talk him through the bucking without letting him sort it out on his own. Once Edward settled, he remained in the round pen and found the walk, trot, and canter without much issue. By the time the clinic days came he was pretty easy to saddle and move out. During the colt starting clinic at SAFE we were able to work every day with saddling and moving out wearing the saddle. However, given his touchiness, the winter months ahead, and a three-month period until our next clinic with Joel Conner, we decided not to put the first rides on him. There is a great deal of helpful groundwork that can happen between now and the clinic that will make the first ride experience easy and successful for everyone. A set-back on a sensitive horse isn’t worth experiencing. Time and more groundwork can help mitigate any trouble in those important first rides.
A few weeks ago Edward had a little head bobbing and tender steps when weighting his right front. Much to our surprise, he allowed us to soak his foot in warm water and Epson salts then dry and cover the bottom of his hoof in an Epson salt paste with duct tape boot wrap. Amazing! Luckily the next day the abscess popped and he was back to moving without any pain. He even let us cut off the boot without TOO much trouble.
Edward, Esme, and Jacob Updates
We are moving at a fairly good pace with Edward despite his continued breathing issues. He is still very wary about people approaching him to be caught but each time he is quickly haltered and doesn’t have the opportunity to get away, he finds the event less and less stressful. Part of the problem with horses that have had some halter work in the past is that they have learned where the “outs” are from getting caught. They have been rewarded time and time again, for evasion when people have tried to halter them and failed. That is a learned behavior and a very hard foundation to change.
At this time, I am building trust with Edward and he understands that my patience will outlast his maneuvers to get around the issue of getting caught. Sadly, the poor haltering in the past also taught him to pull a bit of a nasty expression and he has tried a few times to take control and move my feet. Luckily when he charged me, I was able to get a change that has carried over in the days that have followed. Simply put, I rewarded the smallest of tries, made the wrong thing difficult (not impossible) and the right thing easy. Horses naturally are going to move away and don’t try to aggressively come towards a person’s space unless they feel trapped and are given no other options. Those who have learned that pushing into a person makes person back off will try this as a way to get people to leave them alone. Edward is at a crossroads in his life, and we are thankful he made it to SAFE. Here can help him bring about the changes needed so he can have a safe and happier life with people.
He still needs a lot of work. We are helping him search for the right things by making them always the easiest and rewarding his try. He is rewarded when his feet are free and he finds balance with all four feet reaching equally. He tends to push and become heavy on his inside shoulder. Once he finds balance he will be move more comfortably and won’t be heavy or stuck in his feet. Right now, we continue with clear short amounts of work that help to “get life”, energy and freedom in his feet.
Health-wise, he is now at a great weight. He’s seen the farrier for trims on all four hooves. He’s also been vaccinated and is scheduled for a dental next month. We have introduced him to a nebulizer to administer medication to help with his breathing. Training for that has gone well and he has begun a course of twelve days of medication. If that improves his breathing, we will wean him off the prednisolone we’re currently giving him. If all goes well we will be able to lower the nebulizer treatments to a few times a week as maintenance, which he may or may not need for the rest of his life.
Esme has been great to halter and was well prepared and well behaved for her first farrier visit. Since she has been easy to catch, she has not gotten as much attention in the groundwork as the other more difficult new intakes. Well that stops now! Time for this little one to get busy. She was poorly halter broke coming into SAFE and needs to relearn the foundations of haltering. Like Edward, she had learned through her previous experiences with people where her outs are and that she can run over the top of her handlers. Our first goal is for her to learn that she can move freely without pushing on the halter. Just plain better halter starting work. Learning to back and to freely bring her front across, being consistent with the freedom all four feet while backing and moving them equally will continue to help this cute little mare improve.
Esme has a very sweet personality, but can get a panicked expression since she was never taught to freely move around on the halter. The work we’ve done has already shown us a more relaxed and peaceful mare that should make changes quickly and move towards becoming a riding horse in the next few months.
Overall Jacob has been a gentleman to work with and is very kind-hearted. He is not over reactive and has accepted the work very well. He has been vaccinated, wormed, seen the farrier (was prepared and had absolutely no issues picking up all four feet), and is scheduled for a dental next month. He is a big handsome dude horse and will move through the training program quickly. His main goals currently are to bring up his energy, and give him a big reward for his try. Overall he looks relatively sound but has some muscle atrophy along his left hind side. We will work to help him strengthen his hind quarters and if needed, have his soundness evaluated by our vets. These three horses were living in very poor conditions for many years so the process to full health and recovery will take time. We have a very good feeling he will make a great riding partner and we will give him all the support needed to make that a successful endeavour.
Edward, Esme, and Jacob Update
Introducing Edward, Esme, and Jacob
Edward and Jacob are both seven year old geldings, while Esme is a 6 year old mare. They were obtained through a now defunct rescue organization by a family that moved to Washington state hoping to keep horses on a rented property near their home. They soon discovered that the property flooded rather badly during the fall and winter months. With no other options available to them, these horses just had to live in the wet. Thankfully, they were able to survive under these poor conditions. However, Edward has apparently been suffering from equine asthma for quite some time, resulting in severe weight loss that has left him quite emaciated. The other two horses look better, but that’s somewhat deceptive because they have large parasite loads, making their bellies look big. Their owner turned to SAFE for help after coming to the realization that caring for these three horses was more than they could handle.
As with most of the horses that SAFE takes in, there are lessons we can learn from what these horses have experienced in life up to now. While these three are not nearly as wild and feral as the Fall City 40 were, they are still untrained and fairly shy about being handled. Terry has already been able to get halters on them and even deworm them without a great deal of trouble. But what people need to understand when deciding to take on a wild horse is that Terry has years of experience working with horses like these. She has put in countless hours of practice, and she’s invested a ton in her own education to improve her already considerable skills. When we hear someone say that they want to take on a wild or young horse and figure out how to tame them as they go along, we literally cringe. This is a bad idea that can put the horse at tremendous risk for a difficult and challenging future. So many horses end up in the rescue pipeline because they didn’t get a good foundation in basic handling at the beginning of their life. This is why we strongly encourage people who want to be involved with horses to invest in a well started horse that they can learn from and enjoy. But alas, not everyone is listening, and that is why horses like Edward, Jacob, and Esme need SAFE to rescue them.
As mentioned, Edward is painfully thin, and battling equine asthma which is a lower airway inflammation, formerly known as heaves. Untreated equine asthma can cause massive weight loss very quickly for two reasons: one, because overuse of respiratory muscles can burn a great number of calories and two, because they don’t eat or drink as much as they should because it’s hard to breathe and eat at the same time. Edward was in respiratory distress when he arrived at SAFE. At his initial vet visit, Dr Lewis from Rainland Farm Equine immediately gave him a steroid medication and within 10 minutes, we saw an improvement in his breathing. He’s been prescribed a range of medications to help him, including steroids for the inflammation and bronchodilators to open the airways. He was also given a short course of an antibiotic (naxcel) as his bloodwork showed signs of a secondary infection. We’re wetting down his hay to reduce dust, and he’s been taken off the hay he’d been fed prior to his rescue since we suspect it contains mold. Our hope is that when his asthma is controlled, he will start putting weight on again. Fingers crossed that this young horse and his two friends will make full recoveries, so we can get them into the SAFE horsemanship program and start them on their way to brand new lives.
Vet and feeding expenses for these three horses will be quite costly, so if you’d like to take part in their recovery, we welcome donations to be put toward their care. Thank you so much for your amazing support and please keep your good wishes coming for Edward and his friends, as well as Cameron!
Edward (photos by Kristina Oden)
Esme (photos by Kristina Oden)
Jacob (photos by Kristina Oden)
1. Lori P.
2. Carrie S.
3. Heather C.
4. Patricia A.
5. Michael R.
6. Whitney-Bear B.
7. Samantha P.
8. Patty P.
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!