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horse rehabilitation lessonI first met Scotty in 1994. He came to board at a stable where I kept my horse, Rio. He was a beautiful palomino, so rich in a golden color that his hips were dappled. His mane was nearly white and his tail, also nearly white, drug the ground. He was ten years old and an adolescent girl was showing him western pleasure.

He wasn’t very tall, maybe 14 ˝ hands, but his manners were impeccable. He was a very friendly horse who loved people and wanted nothing more than to do whatever he was asked to do. He was so loving that he acted more like a big dog than a horse.

As time went on, the adolescent girl became a teenager and she rode Scotty less and less until we never saw her. Her parents would run out to the barn to pay their board and that was it. The other boarders and I would bring him up to the barn and brush and groom him, but that was the only attention he got.

The parents grew tired of paying board for a horse that they didn’t need and Scotty was sold to a woman, Kim, who lived right around the corner from the barn. Her home was so close to the barn that she rode him home. Kim bought Scotty because she wanted a trustworthy horse so she could learn to ride.

However, Kim was a newlywed and proceeded to have three kids right in a row. So much for Scotty. He was turned out on four acres of grass and had a goat for a roommate. He lived there for four years.

When Scotty was about 17 years old, I got a call from Mary, the woman who owned the barn where Scotty used to board. Mary said Kim had decided to sell Scotty and since I knew the horse so well, would I be interested in buying him for my granddaughters. The price was great! Five hundred dollars. I said yes and I picked Scotty up that Sunday.

He had not been loaded in a trailer in over six years, but he hoped right in. Never mind that my granddaughters were one month old and two years old. I wanted that horse. Even if they were too little to learn to ride just then, I knew he was a safe horse for them to be around and learn from. I also needed a companion for Rio.
horse rehabilitation  horse rehabilitation

horse rehabilitationWhat I hadn’t expected to see was the condition of Scotty. He hadn’t been properly groomed in years, his feet were way long and he had a witches knot in his tail the size of a baseball bat. I asked Kim if she had been riding him and she said, “Oh, yes. I put the kids on him and lead him around in the yard.”

Needless to say, Scotty was way out of shape. My work was cut out for me. I began by giving him a good bath and getting his feet trimmed. I feed him right and lunged him and rode him around in the pasture a little bit. When I bought him he was so dirty, I didn’t even realize that he had three white stockings!

The next step I took was to take him with me when I took Rio to ride at Jones Park. The first time I took him, I could only pony him for about an hour before he was just worn out. But every week we would stay longer and go a little bit further. When he could go the whole three or four hours that we rode, I switched horses. I started riding Scotty and ponying Rio. If Scotty got too tired, I would switch back.

After nine months of this therapy, Scotty was good to go. He was once again a beautiful palomino, golden in color with a white mane and tail.
horse rehabilitation   horse rehabilitation

As a matter of fact, fourteen months after I bought Scotty my daughter rode him from Brookshire, Texas, into Houston to ride in the parade that kicks off the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, a distance of about 75 miles which takes a week. The year after that my other daughter rode him on that same ride.

Scotty made many other trailrides while I owned him. We would laugh because he could walk out faster than any of the tall horses. Even though he was only 14 ˝ hands, we would start him out towards the end of the trailride and by the time the ride was over, he’d be way up towards the front!

Although the grandkids were still too little to ride him by themselves when I had to sell him, they learned many valuable lessons on how to be safe around a horse and what to expect from them. Scotty taught them in an ever so kind way how to conduct themselves properly around an animal that weighs 800 or 900 pounds.

horse rehabilitation

Unfortunately, my situation dictated that I had to find a new home for Scotty. I called a friend of mine and told her the situation. She has a friend, Dian, who loves to ride, but hadn’t been able to for quite some time because she suffers from Lupus. Unless Dian could find a bomb-proof horse, she was afraid that her condition might cause her to fall. She also needed a very patient and gentle horse to safely carry her. Scotty fit the bill to a “T” and Dian became his new owner. He gave her several years of joyful riding and was just a pleasure to be around.

Scotty is now in that big pasture in the sky, but he could teach us all a life lesson. A terrific attitude along with a good diet and steady exercise will pay off, not only for you, but for those who come into your life!

© 2007, Cindy Staudenmaier & UncommonHorseSense.com

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