Montana

SEX:
gelding
BREED:
Quarter Horse Paint
REGISTERED NAME:
unknown
INTAKE DATE:
9/24/21
COLOR: Dark Bay & White Pinto MARKINGS: bald face, blue eyes    
YOB: 2016 AGE: 6 yrs old HEIGHT: 14.3 HH WEIGHT: 
LOCATION: Redmond, WA ADOPTION FEE: TBD    
Montana and Darla were surrendered to SAFE by their owner, an elderly man who suffered a stroke and could no longer care for them. His family was able to successfully rehome his other horses, but Darla and Montana are both untrained and were at a greater risk of falling into bad situations. So SAFE agreed to take them on so they can benefit from our horsemanship program.
 
Montana is a striking dark bay and white pinto, who was originally purchased as a yearling to be a riding horse, but they were unsuccessful at halter starting him. Now at 5, he is still quite unhandled, and very tentative about being approached. He will need a lot of patient work to be gentled and started under saddle, but fortunately he is quite good looking so we’ll be able to enjoy his beauty as we work with him. 
 
Being the beautiful horse that he is, we have received a lot of interest in Montana. SAFE makes a commitment to each horse to train and rehabilitate so when they pass through our gates they can go on to lead a bright future. We do not know a lot about Montana’s previous experiences with people and will be starting him from the very beginning and going at a pace that meets his needs. To confirm him as a riding horse and then match him with his perfect home could take anywhere from 6 months to a year. We need to ensure he is a safe and sound riding partner before asking someone else to take over his care. At this time we are not taking applications for Montana, but we hope people follow his story through our website and visit him during our Open Houses.
Montana’s Mountains and Valleys

Montana’s Mountains and Valleys

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same applies to the education (or re-education) of some horses. Montana’s arrival at SAFE coincided with the end of summer last year, where we were spending lots of time picking up fallen apples from our trees and starting to think about stall assignments for when our herd started coming into the barn at night. Montana then was a nervous, snake-necked gelding who spent his days in the back corner of his paddock doing all he could to avoid the people who came to clean his pen.

It was apparent from the time we first got hands on him (honestly, even before) that his journey to being gentle would take a little longer than some. And that has proven true — nearly a year later and he still struggles with some of the more basic things like letting just anyone halter or brush him. But here SAFE, we are patient — good things take time, and that’s okay. Here for 6 months or 6 years, we will give the horse the time they need to grow in the ways they need to and find the situation that is best suited to them.

This is not to discount his forward progress. Thanks to a lot of hard work and the partnerships between himself, Terry, Joel, and Lexee, Montana has made some major strides over the past few months — he’s seen the vet for potentially his first ever dental float and vaccinations, he’s stood for the farrier and had all four feet trimmed, he’s come into a stall, been on a few trail walks, and, most recently, has begun getting saddled regularly.

The past few months Lexee has been working with him on closing the literal gap between the two of them, as well as preparing him to be saddled. Then when Joel came a few weeks ago, the pair finally cinched him up and have now continued his work with the saddle on. As Montana learns to turn loose to his handler, you can see the physical peace that washes over him as his feet get under him and he learns to move with balance. His poll area, once a spot that nearly sent him skyrocketing at the even suggestion of being touched, is now barely an issue. He even leans in on occasion to be being brushed on the face, another incredible display of his growth. Lexee says that she “loves watching his confidence grow and how he’s able to find the releases sooner in every session.”

It may be true that this special guy still has a journey ahead of him here at SAFE, but we will travel the road alongside him for as long as he needs.

Two Men and A Baby

Two Men and A Baby

I’ll admit, the title is a bit misleading. But to see new herd-mates Nyx, Montana, and Otto out together, I think it would quickly become apparent to anyone who are the men and who is the baby. A brief description of the herd has –

Nyx starring as the benevolent leader of the pack, a gentle giant not only in appearance but also in mannerisms. His signature display of dominance involves floating a hind leg up in warning, rarely if ever following through with a half-hearted kick that never lands. 

Montana cast as a (mostly) stoic member of the band who often spends his time sidled up to the fence line that adjoins the filly’s paddock. He has been known to participate in a romp or two with Otto, but is just as comfortable lounging around with Nyx. 

and

Otto, rising star. It is hard not to look at Otto and not be reminded of your little brother or mischievous younger cousin. Most of the time, Otto would rather run and play than eat breakfast – often he can be found nipping at Nyx’s heels or tail in an attempt to draw his large friend away from the food (it has not worked yet). When Nyx won’t play, Otto tries his luck with Montana, and often is able to rouse a bit more interest from his paint companion. 

These three boys were fast friends, and it’s clear that they really enjoy each other’s company. Often, all three can be spotted eating from the same hay net (Nyx and Montana usually work on the net itself, while Otto finds vacuuming up the fallen scraps to be more his speed), and they have been known to take communal naps together on occasion. It is truly a pleasure to watch the three of them, as their personalities mesh so well together despite being so different, and it’s clear that they all have something to learn from each other.

 

Montana’s Progress

Montana’s Progress

We have made some progress with gentling Montana to the halter. He is still very shy about the first touch and had learned from his previous life that he can keep his head just out of reach from the halter by holding it far to the other side. He will allow us to walk up and pet his shoulders and at time his head. To continue to make progress and change the behavior, we easily can throw and rope over his neck (he stands and has no worry about this) then work on him giving his head to the halter. 

We’ve done a lot of work getting him comfortable with things coming under his jaw and to the opposite side. We also had to work some on getting his feet free. When he feels free and not braced, he is more comfortable and willing to stand to be haltered. Otherwise he is like a ticking time bomb and if he felt stuck enough, he may out of fear bite or kick out. Luckily, we have been successful in helping him release his braces and have kept both him and those working with him safe.  

During the last Horsemanship clinic with Joel Conner, we were able to quietly walk Montana with his friend Darla to the indoor arena. There we were able to spend more time on groundwork. He has carried over change with new things such as introduction of the flag or moving his hind and front quarters. However, the evasions to the first touch and haltering still persist. It is pretty cute when — once the halter is around his neck now and we are practicing taking it on and off — he will stick his nose down into the halter. He knows what we want him to do, but is just cheeky about accepting it at the beginning. On a good note, he is a bright and willing horse, everything new he experiences will be with a good foundation so it is our hope that the work to saddle will be fairly straight forward. However, we are aware that as a young horse he was ridden for a short time. Maybe 30 days of training, so we hope we don’t uncover old trouble due to any bad experiences long ago. 

Montana Progress Report

Montana Progress Report

We have started the gentling process with Montana. He is friendly but gets very worried about hands coming near the top of his neck where we need to tie off the halter. He has obviously had interactions with people in his past that did not go well. He is very stuck in his feet so his fear is exhibited in a “bottled up” expression, ready to blow at any moment. He was good to be roped and not spooked or afraid to be caught by the rope. Surprisingly he is also easily led forward which considering hiw troubled as he is, is a little bright spot. We hope that he is going to make it and change quickly. 

It’s frustrating to see the problems left behind by poor halter starting in a horse like Montana. This has caused him to be very afraid and dangerous for people to be around him. As we help him free up his feet, he may even get a bit more expressive and appear to be a bit more troubled as he goes from stuck to unstuck. But once his feet are free and he knows he is not trapped and can move, his comfort with people will increase. We’re already seeing some small changes each time we work with him. 

We are appreciative of the outpouring of interest in this handsome fellow. SAFE is committed to helping Montana learn to be a good citizen and then helping him find his ideal home. It will take time but that is our responsibility. We will not send him “down the road” to be at risk of not making it. We promise that when he is ready to meet adopters, we will shout it from the roof tops, but until then, please consider adopting one of the horses that are ready now. They have a lot to offer, and we promise that the training they’ve received here at SAFE is worth far more than just a pretty face. 

Montana Will Need Time

Montana Will Need Time

Montana has a long path ahead of him before he will be available for adoption. We don’t know if he has been haltered before, but given his current reluctance at being approached, we suspect he either hasn’t been haltered or had a less than optimal introduction to haltering. Right now, we’re estimating his age at 5 years but until he is gentled enough for a dental examination, we won’t be able to have his teeth examined by our vet for a better age determination. Volunteers have noticed that he keeps a respectful distance and moves away quietly as people move around cleaning or doing work in his paddock.

It’s likely to take 6 months to a year until Montana will be available for adoption.

Meet Montana and Darla

Meet Montana and Darla

Say hello to our two newest arrivals, Darla and Montana! Darla is about 10 years old, and Montana is a 5 year old gelding. Both were surrendered to SAFE by their owner, an elderly man who suffered a stroke and could no longer care for them. His family was able to successfully rehome his other horses, but Darla and Montana are both untrained and were at a greater risk of falling into bad situations. So SAFE agreed to take them on so they can benefit from our horsemanship program.

Montana is a striking dark bay and white pinto, who was originally purchased as a yearling to be a riding horse, but they were unsuccessful at halter starting him. Now at 5, he is still quite unhandled, and very tentative about being approached. He will need a lot of patient work to be gentled and started under saddle, but fortunately he is quite good looking so we’ll be able to enjoy his beauty as we work with him.

Darla is a bit more gentle, and while it’s clear she’s still quite nervous about being touched, she can be caught. She even stood for a bit of light brushing upon arrival. We expect her to make an easier transition into a horse that enjoys the company of humans. We hope she will become a nice riding horse too.

Thank you to Jackie for driving the trailer, and Candi and Kaya for assisting with pickup!

 

 

 

safekeepers

 

 

Montana’s Friends:

1. Sean C.

2. Cyndi M.

3. Lucy P.

4. Barb & Jon B.

5. Barbara B.

6. Renee W.

7. Christine M.

8. _____________________

9. _____________________

10._____________________

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!

Click here to sponsor Montana!