|COLOR: chestnut||MARKINGS: star, snipe, LF and RH pastern|
|YOB: 2014||AGE: 8 yrs old||HEIGHT:||WEIGHT:|
|LOCATION: Redmond, WA||ADOPTION FEE: TBD|
Jacob, along with Edward 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 had been suffering from equine asthma for quite some time, resulting in severe weight loss that left him quite emaciated. 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.
All three have been halter trained and have started learning to carry a saddle. Jacob spends his time sharing a paddock with his best friend Edward and the two enjoy daily grass turnout during the summer.
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.
People may not realize all the little things our horses need to learn before they can be considered ready for adoption. Some come in with little to no domestic life skills while others have troubles due to frustration and misunderstanding that humans created. These are things that the general horse owner may take for granted. These are simple things horses need to be willing to do for just day to day life as a domestic horse. Three major check offs that Jacob recently marked off his list were: standing tied, getting a bath and loading safely into a trailer.
It may sound very basic, however these are huge accomplishments that Jacob and his handler should be congratulated on achieving. The funny thing about all three… only about 10% of the effort was needed to accomplish the event itself. Why is that you ask? Because all the work was done in the preparation. It is the groundwork foundation that Jacob has been receiving at SAFE that made all three of these happen easily and without trouble.
These three are major milestones and very important for horses to accomplish before they are adopted. It is small things like this that can make the difference in how successful a horse is in their adoption placement. Skills like these follow them their entire lives and can play an important role in keeping them safe. People don’t want “problem” horses and those that lack basic skills can be sold and given up on time and time again by humans. It may take a bit more effort and time at SAFE while they get this key foundation but without these skills horses would be vulnerable to losing their homes in the future if they can’t get along with simple domestic norms.
People forget to work on the whole horse and prepare them for any challenges in the future. Some are in such a rush to ride them and send them out in the world that they miss things and leave big holes in the horse’s foundation. They might even get by with “surface working” the horse and leaving trouble in them. When they have issues with the farrier or trailer loading they think the horse is acting up but they never dealt with the core basics.
Lessons learned the hard way: A very sad call came into SAFE not that long ago. A person had gotten a horse about 6 or so months ago and hadn’t been able to ride it all winter. They decided out of the blue to take the horse out for a trail ride. They had done no work with the horse since buying it and thought it would be a good idea to just load up all the gear and go. Well the horse was loaded and completely had a melt down panic in the trailer. They told us it was a miracle they were able to get the horse out of there alive. Sadly, they were calling to ask us to take the horse. Zero time or effort had gone into building a relationship with the horse and preparing them to handle things as simple as trailering. And now the horse is losing a home and yet again being sent down the road as someone else’s “problem horse”.
We know the foundation stuff isn’t exciting or maybe even the “fun” part of owning horses, although we know a barn full of volunteers at SAFE that would beg to differ, but it is vital to the long term safety of the horse’s life. It doesn’t take that much effort or time to chip away at it but don’t leave issues under the surface. You might just find that a few minutes spent on proper leading, and things like trailer loading become a piece of cake!
For some, going to the dentist is no big deal. Jacob, whose human persona would, for the most part, be something akin to a laid back surfer dude, is one such fellow. He recently had his first dental visit since arriving at SAFE, and took it all in stride. He was a very good boy for his sedation shot, and once under the influence, was a perfect patient.
Jacob had some sharp points that Dr. Renner filed down, but other than that, had an entirely unremarkable mouth. Dr. Renner also estimated that Jacob is around 8 years old, which is in keeping with the information we had on him. After his visit, a very sleepy Jacob stumbled down the aisle way to a stall that was prepped for his recovery from sedation – most likely to dream of sharing a flake of hay with his good buddy, Edward.
Terry had this to say about Jacob:
Jacob is a good gelding with a fair amount of try. His biggest issues stem from years prior to SAFE when he learned to evade any pressure put on him. Like any young horse he has at times tested the leadership of his handlers. Most likely, as a young horse, he found that he could intimidate or pressure people to move out of his way. He had a bit of a wake-up call during SAFE’s colt starting clinic when he discovered that he can no longer use this method to control the situation. The hard part as a horseman is taking on the trouble others have put into the horses that come into SAFE. At times, in order to help them get to the other side of trouble, one must be courageous and firm with boundaries. You simply can’t kiss and hug them into acting safely around people. An understanding has to be found that peace is available when they accept the “good deal” presented to them by the handler.
Jacob is one of those horses with “hidden troubles”. On the surface, as long as nothing is asked of him that requires him to give to more pressure that he feels is okay, he is fairly easy to get along with on the ground. Leaving trouble spots like this in a horse can quickly become a very dangerous situation. Working around them or “surface” working them, can leave this danger inside and will eventually come out in an unpleasant experience. This happens all the time when you go to a show or a clinic and you have a horse that is acting “naughty”. Often you may hear the handler say things such as, “He is never like this at home.” Unfortunately, that is not the case. There are things at that at home are not being addressed and are coming to the surface in environments that add a level of stress different than at home. At a clinic years ago, I asked Buck Brannaman for activities that can be done at home to help this issue. One of his suggestions was to make sure the horse knows how to go up and down through the gaits off of “feel” and learns to connect more to the handler’s “feel” than other distractions. The more they are asked to be with you, the more you can support them when external stress adds energy. The more they think you are the “most interesting thing in the room,” the more likely they will look to you for how to respond in situations that worry them.
It did not take much for Jacob to choose the good deal presented but it is essential that anyone handling him have consistency about this acceptance of pressure. Over the next months it is important that he always hears and feels the same level of support from people around him. As the winter progresses we will get him less dull and more responsive than reactive. He should make a lovely recreational riding horse. We plan on starting him as a riding horse in the spring of this year.
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.
Jacob is such a sweet horse! He seems very comfortable with people and is very easy to halter and groom. Jacob even got his front feet trimmed by Joel and is starting to allow his back feet to be picked up. Jacob is also starting to understand a flag and sort out the difference between meaningful pressure and non-meaningful stimulus. Hopefully we will be able to walk to the round pen soon so we can continue his training in that space!
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. Julia P.
2. Carrie S.
3. Ruth K.
4. C.C. Schott
5. Sundee R.
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!