Some horses just have that sparkle in their eye from the moment they arrive at SAFE. Within the abused or neglected body is a personality that’s just waiting for the energy and life to come back. Since the day he arrived at Safe Harbor, Ben has been one of those great horses. Outwardly he can be quite the goofball / class clown type, playing Catch Me with Sunny D along the fence line.. Other times, he’s the handsome gentleman, giving soft nickers to the mares as the pass his stall. Deep down, he is a sweet boy whose heart has been tossed around from owner to owner, and he seems to long for a person to connect with.
Ben spent three and a half months at Safe Harbor, gaining weight and slowly easing back into work. Using groundwork, We had some nice break-through moments and found some good connection with him. Ben’s a big boy and he requires a handler that is not timid but will still be mindful of his sensitive and playful nature and channel it in a productive way.
We are hopeful that we have found such a home and partner for Ben. He is currently out on trial with Leah and Kim of Cypress Farm! He just finished the first 30-days of his 60-day trial, and we can’t wait to share this great news for a minute longer. Fortunately, everything seems to be going well. Leah and Kim are keeping him on a high calorie diet to gain the last bit of weight he still needed and Leah is taking the training slow to help make sure he is comfortable for the steps back to being a riding horse. The pictures already show some significant weight and muscle gain since leaving SAFE just a few weeks ago.
We have a few glowing reports to share:
From the first day at their farm: “Ben settled in nicely and spent the day kissing with our mini horse, Elmer, his new best friend! Content and sun bathing all day.”
“He is such a character. He and Gunther (the appy) are buddies when they are inside, and outside, Ben and Elmer are always playing through the fence! He’s been doing really well. I’m giving him this week just lunging in gear but will wait until later next week to get on. He is very quiet in gear so I don’t think he will be anything crazy to sit on for the first few times. He won’t “work” under saddle for a few weeks though, just walking at first to make sure he’s comfortable! I had to order a new halter for him because our extras are too small for him but that’s no biggie!”
“Ben has been doing really well! He is settling in much better…eating and dealing with a new routine and barn. I started with just working him in gear on the lunge line and he took to that nicely. Now I am lunging him with his tack and then getting on and walking for about 10 minutes at a time. He gets very nervous under saddle so we are just walking and relaxing mostly. His anxiety under saddle has gone from about an 8 to a 5 this week (1–10 scale, 10 being horrified). Overall everything is getting so content with him, even being brushed is now becoming a calm thing for him haha! His weight is looking very good and his topline and little butt are trying to tone up! He is the type that appreciates baby steps so I have been letting him lead the way, the more calm he is the longer we go but he doesn’t like feeling the pressure of high expectations so I have been super easy on him to keep him happy and content!”
“Yes he is coming along very well! We’re getting past the big hurdles and now that he trusts me under saddle everything will come together for him much easier. So for now I am very happy with him.”
We have high hopes that Ben’s trial will continue in a positive direction and that we will be able to announce his adoption very soon. Leah and Kim tell us he’s a keeper, and that brings us great joy. The purpose of an extended trial, however, is to do our very best to make certain that an adoption is a good fit. Because we sent Ben out on trial as a prospect, rather than a riding horse, we want to allow Leah some extra time before asking her to make a lifetime commitment to this horse. But so far, all signs point to yes, so who knows, we might be seeing Ben in the jumper ring in the future!