Equine Enrichment

Judy and Nancy

Judy and Nancy
The Not a Wasted Horse project is to celebrate horses who are valued for being themselves. To salute those owners who have kept their horses when under pressure to get rid of them because they cannot be ridden or competed. We applaud these equestrians.

My story is that having retired now aged 63, I have wanted to complete my long-held dream of living with my horses behind my house, where I can see them daily and be totally responsible for their care.

I bought a large roan draft horse who I felt safe riding, but he felt anxious to me, and was reluctant to be mounted or bridled.  I was then given an elderly pony mare as a companion, and she arrived lame, and shortly afterwards was immobilised by laminitis….it turned out that Nancy had PPID equine cushings, which made her prone to laminitis.  The vet said she was not an ideal companion and recommended PTS.  I couldn’t bring myself to do that; not without trying to save her.

My big lad at this point was turned away in the adjoining field, going out without Nancy would stress her out and he needed to settle into his new home.  We needed time for he and I to learn to feel safe and relaxed around each other.  I had no stabling available as building work was still going on, so Nancy had a corner of the field which we had originally fenced off as a tying up and grooming area…..now coming in very handy as a grass free enclosure.  At the vet’s suggestion, a specialist farrier fitted rubber clogs, with dental imprint material inside to support the front hooves.  This worked well, she was off the Bute within a week, and 3 months later, is sound.  She is on Prascend daily to treat her cushings, and on soaked hay, with limited turnout when sugar levels are low.

The big lad gets a little jealous of the attention she is getting, so I try to spend time with him, grooming, tail washing and doing in-hand work in a bitless bridle which he likes.  I am more or less at the stage when I should ride him again, once the weather is calm.  I shall wait for the right time when we both feel confident.  Ideally, I will be able to ride and lead so Nancy gets some exercise too.  That anyhow is the plan…not sure when it will happen, but in the meantime, we are just enjoying settling into a routine, and the two horses, who have both changed hands several times,….are finally feeling at home here.


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