breed: 2004 dark bay Quarter Horse type gelding
type of rescue: Animal Control seizure
intake date: 3/3/2018
adoption date: 5/2/2019
length of time with SAFE: 1 year, 2 months
ADOPTED by Kim!
Justin and his herdmates were seized by Animal Control after being starved and neglected by their owner. Justin and two fillies, Fancy and Glory, were signed over to SAFE on March 13, 2018. They came from the same place as Roscoe and Teddi, who were also taken away from their owner by animal control.
Justin bounced back well from his neglect. He was reunited with his good friend Roscoe, and the two spent happy days in the pasture together, side by side. While he was with SAFE, he completed 60 days professional training and was an uncomplicated, easy-to-handle partner under saddle.
Justin found his home with Kim! She fell in love with him right away–hard not to, since he’s is big sweetheart who loves a little head snuggle and has a heart of gold. Justin’s settled in with his new brother, Linus, and is stretching his legs in ample pasture. We wish them the best of luck and many happy years together!
Justin has found an outstanding home with Kim! They are a great pair and Justin has a new brother named Linus. They are all doing well and loving the pasture together! Kim had many OTTB and when she met Justin, she saw in him characteristics of her old partners. His gentle ground manner and thoughtful nature were a big part of why she fell in love with him. She took her time getting to know him at SAFE before taking him home and we are thrilled that everything has gone well since the move.
Kim is a very thoughtful and responsible horse owner. She fell in love with Justin I think at first sight but she was careful to make sure he was the right match for her. Kim and her husband Kerry have a beautiful home. It is a perfect place for the horses to enjoy pasture time and stretch their legs. Kim had this to say about her new partner: “He is so very very good and I love him so much…I watch him in the field and just know he was meant to be mine.”
We are all so grateful that Kim came to SAFE looking for her next riding partner. Justin is an extremely lucky boy to have such a great family to call his own. We wish them the best of luck and many happy years together!
Joel was kind enough to make Justin one of his projects for the clinic. He rode him every day and helped us understand a bit more of what Justin needs to work out his braces. I had the chance to work with him the days following the clinic and all I can say is WOW he feels like a different horse! With Joel’s help Justin is well on his way to meeting potential adopters and showing them his sweet and gentle personality.
I have been riding him since he came back from training and he has steadily been getting better. At first there was no bend or flexion, especially to the right. He felt like a stiff motorcycle trying to circle at the trot and lope to the right. Joel explained that to help Justin soften out of this brace, we need to help him shape up around the inside and engage his inside hind under himself in transitions. We need to do this repeatedly to help him strengthen and power in balanced, soft gaits. As with a green horse, we need to be cautious to not use two reins too quickly, but it is also time for him to start to feel both reins when we ask for a soft feel and releasing quickly when he gives.
By Sunday’s ride, Joel had Justin moving out very soft balanced. You could see the peace and relaxation in Justin’s body and mind. Over all this was a breakthrough clinic for Justin and the transformation tells us he’s going to make it! For a few weeks now, volunteer Scott has been getting to know Justin. He has been helping him get more balance and strength through the groundwork and is beginning now to ride him. They had a great time in the morning groundwork sessions with Joel and we all saw the growth in this pair! Scott’s dedication to SAFE and the horses he works with is very much appreciated. He cares about communicating with the horses in a clear and understanding way and his kind approach is well received by the horses. Here is what Scott had to tell us about working with Justin and Scott in the clinic:
Justin did great during the groundwork segment of the clinic and was super calm and relaxed. We worked on the hind quarter and front quarter yielding. Because of how forward Justin is, I focused on getting him back more as I asked him to yield his front quarters and that seemed to help him pivot and cross over. Justin and I are both learning on that move. Joel and I also worked together on getting Justin to bend a bit more when he yielded his hind quarter. That helped. At times Justin “leaves” me when he is on a unified circle getting to straight with his neck. So, I worked on bending him a lot. By Sunday I felt like Justin was much better bending during a unified circle. We still have a lot of work to do but he got a lot better.
Justin is very responsive and always looking to do the right thing when asked. The thing I like so much about Justin is how kind and willing he is. Never seems to have a reaction out of anger. He never gets mad at me. Never gets “pissy.” At times he may brace a bit, but he always goes. He always responds. He backs up nicely from a distance and when I am under his chin. I’ll be working on getting him to back up with a bit more effort as he mostly drags his feet when he backs up.
I’m really looking forward to riding him and earning his trust. During groundwork one of the things I focus on is rubbing his forehead when he does what I ask correctly. As a result, I notice he is starting to come into me a bit, lower his head and release as I give him a forehead and neck rub. He seems to really like it. I find it helps him to relax. We are having a great time working together.
Justin has been a joy to work with these last few months at SAFE. He has steadily improved with each ride and is more and more comfortable with a rider. We are working on loosening him up and helping him work without getting tight or braced. He’s had the most difficulty shaping up to the left but even that has had some big changes.
Volunteer Alessia has been helping us create new videos of the SAFE horses. She just completed this beautiful video presentation on Justin. We have been transitioning him to work with other volunteers in our horsemanship program and he’s very close to having others ride him. We are also excited for spring to be just around the corner with more light and warmer days for trail rides. He has been a gentleman all around and ready to meet adopters interested in giving him a home and family!
Justin did very well while in training for 60 days with our friend Ben Hannan. He has a good personality and is easy to work with, both on the ground and in the saddle. His only issue is around cinching. Nothing too difficult but he will look back and try to nip at the person cinching up. He will also move around a bit while the cinch is being tightened. It is something pretty ingrained in him so whoever adopts him will need to continue the good work we have started and it will continue to improve. You can see this a bit in the video below. This is a good boy who will make a wonderful addition to a family. He has a good amount of life but is uncomplicated to work.
Justin is now in Redmond at Safe Harbor and and available for adoption. Fill out an application to be considered for this sweet boy.
We are all so excited about the work Justin has been doing at SAFE. Joel saw lots of improvements since his last visit and felt comfortable putting the first rides on him. There really isn’t any way to know what happened in Justin’s past but so far the Horsemanship work is getting him to a peaceful place. It was great to watch him change and develop over the four rides Joel put on him. His neck lengthened and his strides became smooth and untroubled. He walked, trotted, and cantered forward nicely, with good expression and try.
Joel said he thinks he is going to make it, which is a huge improvement from the troubled horse he met just a few month ago. Waiting and getting more groundwork was not a bad thing. With older horses like Justin that come to us with baggage, it takes time and consistency to get changes. Healing his neglected body and repairing the trust lost in people doesn’t happen overnight. He is a sensitive sweet boy and it breaks your heart to think what a frightened life he had before SAFE.
Someone at the clinic asked how we teach them to join up. It’s not something we have to teach them, it’s about us learning to communicate in their language. Each experience with humans at SAFE is helping him gain trust. Being able to sit on him now was a result of many good experiences at SAFE.
After the clinic, Justin went home with our friend and horseman, Ben Hannah. He will spend the next few weeks being ridden by Ben. We are currently taking applications for Justin and scheduling showings early in November. This boy will go fast, so don’t miss your chance to come meet him! Fill out an application today!
Preparing Justin for a rider has been a fun and rewarding process. This gelding’s sweet disposition continues to shine through. He is a willing horse with a lot of try. The more we work him, the more we fall in love with his kind eyes. We hope to ride him in the near future, but we are letting him lead the way. He doesn’t have to prove anything to us. As an older restart with a troubled past, restarting as a riding horse can prove difficult. We are chipping away at his hesitations and he continues to relax. The goal of the ground work is to prepare him for what the rider will ask.
Another part of his training is for us to put him “in a bind” so we can show him that no one will hurt him. It’s not about desensitizing him, but rather teaching him he doesn’t have to overreact in stressful situations. We will never ask him to do anything he is not able to do. This horsemanship work helps troubled horses like Justin realize they can calm down after having been wound up. In the face of future stress he can draw from these good experiences and remember we always take care of him. Justin naturally likes people and will make someone an endearing partner, either as a riding horse or as a companion, that remains for him to tell us.
Justin is doing very well in preparation to become a riding horse. We have spent a great deal of time strengthening him and getting him balanced to hold the weight of a rider. He initially had trouble transferring his weight off of his forehand and over his hocks. He would get stuck with his front feet when asked to yield in the front or when backing up. This “vapor lock” would panic him and cause him to be unsettled and even a bit explosive. But over time and with the use of groundwork Justin has been able to get free in his feet and gain balance and not feel trapped. He knows now that he has options to move and with that freedom he feel relaxed and peaceful with his handlers.
He was very “girthy” when we started saddling him. He would turn and try to bite us or move around trying to escape the saddling. At first we allowed him to have some movement in his feet and went with him as to not make him feel trapped by the experience. Over time this helped relax him, but the biting was still there. To help correct this, we took things very slow. Working with just our hands around the cinch areas, placing the pad off and on, and finally adding the saddle. It took time and patience but things have greatly improved. He still needs some correction not to bite when we start saddling but he’s getting better. This is something that will continue to be watched and worked on. All we can do is to continue to offer good experiences that reward try and are fair and kind to him. The changes we have already seen over the last few months is evidence that Horsemanship works and positive change is possible with time and patience.
We are planning on getting Justin backed in the next month. We have done an extensive amount of groundwork to give him new healthy experiences with people. In order to help him through this trouble, we have “put him in a bind” to expose the points where he may attempt to get stuck and try to flip. Other than being completely stuck in the front end he did not ever take it to the extreme of rearing or flipping. We always had a door open for him to comfortably move into so he has felt safe enough to get through troubled spots. He is very healthy now and you can visibly see him rock his weigh onto his hind and free up his front quarters to turn around. He is relaxed and calm when bumped up to the panels with someone sitting above him. He does not overreact to the flag and is getting better about the rope being swung around him and over his body. We will keep you posted when he heads off to training and how that next chapter unfolds.
Our three newest gentlemen had their first visit from the vet recently. All of them have unknown histories of veterinary care. It’s likely that Justin and Bowie have at least had dental work at some point in their past, but it’s quite possible that Orion has never had his teeth examined by a vet until recently when he had surgery to remove the fractured teeth. All three geldings had very sharp points in their mouths and were overdue for dentals. Sharp points can cause ulceration to a horse’s cheeks and tongue, making for a very painful situation. All horses that come to SAFE have dental work at least annually to prevent this and other dental problems from occurring.
Bowie, Orion, and Justin all got an A+ on their manners with the vet. We had no issues with needles, and the appointment went smoothly. They’re good boys!
Justin, Glory, and Fancy were seized from their owner by Animal Control due to starvation and neglect. A few months earlier, Animal Control seized Roscoe and Teddi from the same person. The three are regaining the weight they lost, and are being treated for rain rot and other skin problems. Justin is 14 years old and may have been started under saddle already, but we’ll be handling him like an unstarted horse and starting his training from scratch. Glory and Fancy are both about two and a half years old. All three horses are in poor condition, but they’re all very cute and we look forward to getting to know them better.