|SEX: Gelding||BREED: Thoroughbred||REGISTERED NAME: MG’s Firedancer|
|COLOR: Black Bay||MARKINGS: Star|
|DOB: March 21, 2012
||AGE: 7||HEIGHT: 15 hh
||WEIGHT: 1080 lbs
|LOCATION: Redmond||ADOPTION FEE:TBD||Online Adoption Application|
Remy, a young Thoroughbred stallion, was surrendered to SAFE in 2018 at the age of 6 after Animal Control discovered him living in a field with no fresh water in the height of summer. Having been unhandled most of his life, he was difficult to catch, but with the help of horseman Ben Hannan, Remy was haltered and loaded into our trailer. He was transported to Cedarbrook Vet Care where he was gelded.
Remy blossomed into a sweet, strikingly handsome horse with a rich black coat. He went into training with Nick Donohue in early 2019. Nick reported that Remy has a good mind and is gentle to handle–he’s just uneducated. Now that he’s no longer a stud living alone, he’s also learned to co‐exist with other geldings.
Unfortunately, Remy showed signs of something being not quite right when under saddle, and he has returned to SAFE. He is currently available as a companion horse while we assess his health.
After months of chiropractic adjustments and careful rehabbing, Remy seemed as recovered as he could be from his back issues and went back to training with Nick Donohue. Nick brought him along slowly and mindfully, being sure to pay close attention to the situations that brought out the trouble in him in the past. We were hopeful that we had gotten to the source of his pain and fixed it.
But it was not to be. Even with Nick taking all the necessary precautions and bringing him back to ridden work methodically, Remy’s trouble reared its ugly head again. Literally. He went back to the same behaviors that he was exhibiting last time, and it’s been decided that he is no longer safe to ride. Remy will be retired from ridden work and available for adoption as a companion horse.
We plan on speaking with our vet about possible further diagnostics once Remy gets home from training. Kissing spines or some other musculoskeletal or neurologic disorder remain possibilities that might provide us with a solution. At the same time, we are realistic about the possibility that he may never again be a riding horse.
The nice part about “companion” status is that, even though horses like Remy can’t be ridden, they still have plenty to offer their owners. Many non-ridden horses find second careers with liberty training, trick training, horse agility, and more. They don’t have to just be pasture ornaments. Remy is a smart guy with a great personality who could likely excel at any of these other activities.
We’ll be bringing Remy home next week. We’re sure his buddies will be happy to have him back in the pasture, and it’ll be good to see his handsome face again. We had hoped the next time we saw him it would be under saddle, but we’ll just embrace this new chapter for him instead.
Remy has been working his way back to health slowly but surely. Dr. Meyer of Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital has been seeing him for chiropractic adjustments on a regular schedule, and each time he gets adjusted we see improvement. We are hopeful that this setback is now a thing of the past.
When Dr. Meyer first saw Remy, he was incredibly reactive to palpation in his back and sacroiliac (SI) regions. He was clearly in a lot of pain, and he was very protective and on guard when he thought someone was going to touch his back. We’ll never know exactly what caused this in him. He could have tweaked his back while working under saddle, slipped while playing with other horses in turnout, or even just twisted wrong one day. But with some time, patience, and bodywork, Remy seems to be on the mend. His chiropractic adjustments are pretty quick these days. In the beginning he needed many spots adjusted, but these days he just has a couple of pretty standard things out of alignment when he sees Dr. Meyer.
Remy is now back to doing groundwork and wearing a saddle. He’ll be going back to training in the near future where we will be able to fully assess his rehab progress once he gets a rider on his back again.
After a few weeks of assessing Remy’s behavior under saddle, he has stopped making improvement. He isn’t regressing anymore, but it’s clear to trainer Nick Donohue that something isn’t right. Nick has stopped riding him now and we have been discussing the next steps to take.
Dr. Salewski of Hindsight Veterinary Care has been out to see Remy for chiropractic work twice now. He is still finding an area of concern in his back, an area that he said he sees problems with if the horse is compensating for pain in the hocks. It was recommended that, if the performance issue did not improve, getting hock radiographs would be a logical next step. Dr. Salewski also mentioned the possibility of kissing spines, but suggests we rule out an underlying hock pain first.
We’ve decided to bring Remy home from training and have radiographs done here at SAFE. Depending on what is found on the X-rays, our next step might be to turn him out in a pasture for a few months and let time heal whatever hurts before we assess him under saddle again.
We’ll have to wait for our current snow to melt a little before bringing him home, but we’ll soon see Remy’s handsome face around the barn again. It’s not the kind of homecoming that we were hoping for, but we’ll get it figured out and hopefully have him pain free and back to work soon.
Reports on Remy’s recovery from his sore back have been good but unfortunately not great. He’s greatly improved with time off and with a trial of Bute and then Equioxx but he’s still not at 100%. Nick said that he would start the week off ok but the day after every ride, Remy would seem less and less willing to work. He continued to be well behaved and a gentle fellow to work around.
With the riding trouble not completely resolved, we have decided to bring him back to Redmond and have our vets look at him. We will at least have them do flexion tests and possibly x-ray his hocks since hocks and back pain can sometimes go together. We will make plans after we consult with our vets but if the findings are inconclusive, we will give him the rest of the winter off and bring him back either late spring or early summer.
Remy is a very handsome and well-behaved boy. Here’s hoping we can figure this out and make him available as a riding horse. For now, he is available only as a companion until he gets medical clearance for riding. He is sound on the ground and shows no discomfort in turnout or during ground work. Remy will be back at SAFE mid-February.
Just before Thanksgiving, Remy had a bit of a setback in his work. Everything had been going smoothly and progressing well. His trainer, Nick Donohue, had reported that he was coming along nicely, was a good citizen in turnout with the herd, and very sweet and gentle on the ground. He might do a bit of ear pinning when asking for the lope but was fine once he was in the gait. That too was improving and nothing Nick was worried about. He thought that Remy was pretty uncomplicated and was turning out to be another good riding partner. Then in the middle of a ride, something changed. Suddenly Remy refused to move forward while Nick was sitting on him. He got off to check him out and he moved fine on the ground. So he got back on and immediately Remy swung his head left and right and didn’t want to go forward. The only way he did want to move was backwards. They worked to see if it was a behavioral issue but it was clear pretty quickly something more was going on.
After talking to Nick on the phone, we agreed that we wanted the vet to take a look. The exam gave us a few answers. He was sore to palpation in the lumbar area. A fecal sample showed no trace of blood in the stool which ruled out a bleeding ulcer. It was suggested to see if he improved on an anti-inflammatory so Nick gave him Bute the night before work and the morning of his next ride. Remy could move a little better but still showed signs of discomfort but now was freer and with some motion he did some bucking which he had not done at all before.
Again after some thought and discussion with Nick we decided to have him looked at by Dr. Michael Salewski. He found a very clear points along his spine that were stuck. From the his notes: Adjustments: c2-4 twisted left, T11-13 shifted right and very uncomfortable, T14-17 hollow, low back and sacroiliac joints moving well. We opted to give him a few extra days off. Five days from the adjustment Remy is showing great improvement. Nick is taking it slow and steady and helping Remy to build strength and recover from the pain he felt. Dr. Salewski suggested that he may need a follow up in a few weeks. Since the first treatment seemed to help, we are having him looked at again this Friday after 5 days of work. Our goal is to support the healing process as much as possible.
It is unclear what happened to cause this issue. It could be something he came in with, something that came from a slip in turnout, or a weakness from not being asked to work before going into training. SAFE is dedicated to not only giving him the best medical care and training but also giving him the time he needs to be ready for his forever home. It’s all part of the process to preparing horses for success. We have no agenda for Remy and we have the patience to go through the process and see where it leads. Remy is a great boy and worth the wait and effort!
We visited with Remy recently in Oregon where he’s been in training with Nick Donohue. The big dark beauty was about 2 weeks into his work with Nick. We got to see him go through the colt starting groundwork process as Nick checked off things needed before riding. Nick talked about the good changes he’s been already seeing in the big guy. We really enjoyed listening to Nick speak about his horsemanship philosophy.
One key thing he described was having the mentality for “excellence in the ordinary.” Nick explained that to be successful with starting horses, you need to strive for a little everyday. And not to ask for 100% all at once. This is so important when teaching new things to horses. Laying a foundation one brick at a time. It’s also good to remember what Buck said about “going through the good to get to the bad.” As people, we tend to push for too much and this gets our horses into trouble. Nick said that he could have ridden Remy sooner but then there would have been holes in his training. If you take the time and don’t skip things, you’ll end up getting where you want to go so much more quickly. Close the foundation holes first, and you’ll soon be farther along, even if it took longer to get the first ride.
One issue Remy has is submission of personal space. He crowds you with his shoulders and pushes into your space instead of maintaining a respectful distance. Nick described this as more of a mental than a physical push. Nick is teaching him how to respect human space but this is also something that Remy will need to figure out in order to be accepted by other horses in the herd. Turning him out with the other geldings will help him learn. Nick talked about the importance of the herd. “He needs to get out with the herd. They will teach him how to be a horse. Help him to join up with the group in an emotionally stable way.”
Overall it was a pretty uneventful groundwork and saddling session. Nick feels like Remy has a nice mind and isn’t troubled. He is simply uneducated. Happily, it shouldn’t take too much time to help him catch up. The week after we visited, Nick successfully and without incident put the first ride on. He said he thinks Remy could be “another diamond in the rough” like Orion. Remy will complete 90 days of training with Nick. We are taking applications now for his adoption and will be setting appointments to meet him while in Oregon for the middle of November. Put your application in now before this gifted boy finds another home!
Remy is a 6yr old TB who was found on a property without any other horses so we are unsure how long its been since he’s had other horses as companions. He is currently in training and the two other horses in the video are personal horses of the trainers.
Tapadero, the roan gelding, is the “peacemaker/good cop” of the herd. He allows Remy to approach him, he is not aggressive towards him and while he doesn’t stand down, he is not instigating any fighting when Remy challenges. He pretty much is saying: “hey there young fellow…that’s not how horses act. Relax and calm down.”
The second horse that approaches is the black gelding, Levi. Levi is the herd leader. He is more vocal with Remy and will not allow Remy to approach him in a pushy or disrespectful manner. Levi also will not act or follow Remy into a fight. If Remy approaches in a healthy manner, Levi does not correct him. This video maybe hard for some people to watch. It is important to not put human emotions or personalities onto their horse behavior. This is a natural way for them to communicate and find healthy emotionally stable interactions. You can see the change in the final minutes of this video.
Today Remy is out with the herd of more than 25 geldings. He and Levi are buddies and always stay near each other in the pasture. These are possibly the most important lessons Remy will learn in his training. Not only has it made him a better citizen in the herd, it’s also brought changes to his interactions with people and in his work under saddle. The future is bright for this young boy!
Remy is just beginning his work with Nick Donohue and thing are progressing well. He is a very intelligent, willing gelding. He is progressing a little every day and his kind personality is coming through. The biggest challenge for Remy has been that he was an isolated stallion until SAFE picked him up. Nick has been working to introduce him to other horses and feels that getting him out with the herd will have the biggest impact on his development. There the other horses will help teach him how to be a horse. They will help him join up with the group in an emotional stable way.
Remy is settling in to a vastly different life at Safe Harbor Stables. He’s no longer a stallion, so he’s feeling the ebbing of his hormones and starting to look at other horses as potential friends. He’s getting accustomed to being waited on hand and foot by SAFE volunteers, having all his needs taken care of, like regular meals and clean, fresh water. He’s had his hooves trimmed by our talented farrier, Daphne Jones, and to our surprise, he accepted this as if he’d been doing it his whole life. All in all, things are really looking up for Remy. Thank you to Jessica Farren for these lovely photos of our handsome new friend:
1. Tracy G.
2. Elizabeth S.
3. Abby S.
4. Amy S.
5. Scott B.
6. Beth G.
7. Allison G.
8. Rosemarie K.
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!