Yakama Reservation Horse
|COLOR: chestnut||MARKINGS: small star|
|YOB: 2014||AGE: 8 yrs old||HEIGHT: 14 HH||WEIGHT: 904 lbs|
|LOCATION: Redmond, WA||ADOPTION FEE: TBD|
Edward, along with Jacob and Esme, were obtained by their previous owners 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. 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. Currently he shares a paddock with his best friend Jacob who he enjoys daily grass turnout with in the summer. Edward has already been saddled on his way to learning how to carry a rider.
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 below:
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.
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, 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!
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 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.
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 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.
9. Kathy C.
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!