Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fly mask

I am the first to admit that being able to put a fly mask on ones horse should not be that big of a deal. Until you've met Chavez, you wouldn't know that EVERYTHING with him is a big deal. Kali and Les have made him much better about many things, but his ears remain a sensitive subject.

I like fly masks with ears. I mean, what's the point if the bugs now get in their ears instead of their eyes? Probably won't go to the grave with that opinion, but the little no-see-ums ick me out.

So, Chavez needed me to go up and over his ears and then have something remain on his ears. I cut a little hole for his forelock. If that forelock was inside the fly mask, he'd never see anything. It wasn't an issue. He didn't like me flipping his ears around, but mentally calmed himself and let me do it. Wow. I fly sprayed him. Same thing. A bit wiggly then the realization dawned that it was okay.

He rubbed the fly mask off later that day, but he wasn't crazy to get it off immediately and left it on for quite some time.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Chavez update with pictures

Chavez has been ridden a few times by our trainer, Kali. All sessions are kept easy and calm, but these photos were taken near a rushing canal, which Chavez spooks at anyway.

These photos were taken by Les Freeman and Kali Vanagas and are property of PonyPros. I am borrowing them with permission.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Training or lack therof

Some people may see me occasionally wearing a t-shirt with Columbia Basin Equine Rescue on it. aka CBER. I have adopted several horses from them and at the time when I was seeking a trainer for Chavez, I was processing adoption applications for them. The requirements are quite stringent, requiring photos of ones property and other animals, filling out an application and receiving favorable recommendations from several references.
A gal who was approved through them heralded herself as a trainer, specializing in drafts and mustangs. She lived near Salem and I trucked Chavez over there for some groundwork training as he was incredibly hard to load and work with.

Looking back, I knew it was a bad place. You know that gut feeling when you can tell something isn't right, but you can't quite place what it is? That is the feeling I got. The gal said all the right things, showed me her horses. I was feeling at the end of my rope with Chavez and needed a trainer NOW.

Ignoring that feeling that should have had me hightailing it out of there, I left him, along with my draft mare, June and a friend's horse.

I received frequent updates via email. He was doing this and that. Haltering and loading. She said everything that made me think he was doing well.

Then the stuff hit the large cooling device. A CBER person said that this woman was starving all the horses. Insiders went to check it out and people were pulling their horses out of there as fast as they could. I couldn't get over that day, but the next day, Adam and I went with the trailer.

What we saw, was shocking. Absolutely horrific. Chavez was in the same panel stall that I had left him in when I dropped him off. He had wasted away to nothing but dry, dull skin stretched over a skeletal frame. Ironically, June, who eats more than twice as much as Chavez was in great shape. Apparently, they liked June.

We loaded my friends horse first, as we knew he would go right in. Then, I went to get Chavez. He was fearful, but allowed me to halter and lead him out. Normally, he took about half an hour to load. Everything took a long time with Chavez. That day, he saw the trailer and leapt in. He wanted to leave that place behind.

I also took my mare, June, home. They had clearly never worked with him at all. The updates and emails had been a sham. We took him right to the vet. He was a 2 on a body condition score. 10 is an obese horse. 5 is perfect. 0 is dead. We documented everything and the faux trainer got 4 days in jail and had to pay back a small amount of his rehabilitation. But, I think she had to do that with all the horses, so it was probably quite a large amount in the end.

Still, it set Chavez back so much. Our trainer now is extremely patient and he likes her a lot. Hopefully, he'll be ridable soon.

These photos helped to document the case that got the "trainer" sent to jail for a brief period of time.

Yes, that's infection under his mandible. Strangles, a highly contagious disease that he did not have prior to going there. Gross, but not life-threatening, thank goodness. He was there less than 2 months. He had lost approximately 200 pounds in that length of time. The vet thinks he probably wasn't fed AT ALL during his stay in Hell. Mustangs are notoriously easy keepers, which means they stay at a healthy weight on minimal feed. Imagine the horror...

Blast from the past

Chavez's story. When I notice an advertisement of someone trying to give away a horse or sell very cheaply, I often call or email with suggestions or thoughts on checking references before giving their horse away. Chavez came to me that way. I called on an ad for a yearling, greenbroke Kiger Mustang for $500. This was back when a person could still sell a horse. Now, he'd be given to anyone who drove by with a trailer. Just the economy.

Anyway, we went to see him and he was in deplorable conditions. Mud past his fetlocks. Wire and crap tangled in his mane and tail. A halter with attached leadrope dangling while loose in his little area. He was in a "corral" about the size of a king sized bed. His water was muck and they were feeding him something that looked suspiciously like straw. Nasty.

I offered something way less than $500. They guy said "no" he is worth more, blah, blah, blah. I told him it would cost me more than that to rehabilitate him. Guy stood firm on his price and I started to walk away. Rescue is a tricky line between helping and enabling.

My husband didn't follow. This was the first time I'd brought him along and he was appalled at the thought of leaving the poor little colt there. He was not gelded and was not greenbroke. Guy thought that the ability to get the halter on occasionally constituted greenbroke.

Guy (real name Jose...) was very proud of the fact that a big time Kiger breeder had given Chavez to him. The had him for almost a year and had never bothered to give him a name. Turns out I know big time Kiger breeder and have since gotten more info about Chavez.

Below is his first day home. Not finding photos of the wire and yuck and the nearly embedded halter.

Ahh, here we go.

A raw spot on his neck. Probably rubbing to try to remove halter or mud or...

You can see the wear marks of the halter here. Luckily it hadn't worn through the skin to become embedded. Just wore off the hair.

Dreadlocks. Lovely.

Ribby and hips poking out

So that is when we got Chavez. I had to cut the halter off, it had been tied on so long (rope halter) that I couldn't get the knot undone. He took off and we couldn't catch him for quite awhile. He came around slowly though.
Chavez, the name, came from Young Guns. Adam is a fan and kept calling him "the Mexican Greaser" (no offense intended) and it stuck.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Self portraits, with Chavez

When I let him approach me, I am quite successful with him. When I go up to him with intent...not so much.