Leo and Beau

I wrote the following on August 2 about two horses at the end of my road.  My FB friends know the outcome.  Below is the background.

There’s the pasture at the end of our road that’s cursed.  That’s my explanation for it anyway, since every horse that goes in there ends up dying or abused or “in a bad way” as the saying goes. 

Currently there are 3 horses in there. 

One is a bad ass miniature stud.  He’s one of the tiniest minis I’ve ever seen, I don’t think he comes up to my knee but he’s viciously evil.  I don’t know who he belongs too, but I’ve never seen anyone out messing with him at all.

Another one is a Mustang gelding… or at least I’m fairly certain he’s a gelding.  He’s lovely but seriously abused.  I heard from one of the neighbors that he was sent for “training” which evidently consisted of bagging (basically tying a plastic grocery bag to a whip and shaking it at him until he quit freaking out… only in his case it just made him scared of the sound) and beatings.  He has scarring on his face and his teeth/mouth look very suspicious to me.

The remaining horse is by far the worst case.  He’s a 2 or 3 year old Palomino colt that is considerably under weight.  With a little effort I’m fairly certain Jim and I could pick him up.  He has a possible stifle injury (his leg can rotate around to a surprising angle) and he has a horrendous bruise on his near hind hoof.  His condition is, quite simply, appalling.

And the worst part?  Animal Control/the Humane Society has been called.  They said there’s “nothing we can do about it” because the horses are on what initially looks like lush pasture.  They are indeed on a very green pasture, but it’s weeds, grown up higher than my head even! And they have access to a creek so they are getting water. 

But they’re getting no feed, no minerals, no worming.  And obviously the Palomino is desperately unwell and being abused by the miniature stud.  And yet nothing can be done according to the authorities.

So… we made contact with the owner in an attempt to have something done for the horses, particularly the colt.  He was sympathetic to a degree, and allowed us to go handle the horses to assess them, but when we stated that the Palomino was in desperate condition he blew us off. M asked him to state a price and instead of giving us a quote he headed over to craigslist and placed an ad… which is laughable… oh so laughable.  No truth in advertising I tell you!

So I’m in a quandary.  Part of me is hoping someone will come, buy them and get them the medical treatment they need… I know from the neighbors that there have been visits to look at the horses. 

But part of me wants to bring them here.

Jim bonded with the Palomino right off the bat.  The poor thing just took a shine to him and they were inseparable.  Eventually, with proper nutrition and medical care I think the Palomino will grow into a nice tall horse, although I think he’ll always be thin… but that sort of horse would suit Jim.

And the mustang… oh how my heart breaks.  He would look at me with deep soulful eyes, asking if he could trust me… daring to believe that I wouldn’t hit him… bracing himself for the blow he thought was coming and then slowly relaxing as he realized I just wanted to rub his face.  Most all horses come running at the sound of feed rattling in a bucket.  The mustang ran away, cringing at the rattling sound, so similar to the plastic bag he’d learned to fear. 

I don’t know what to do.  The price the owner is asking for the Palomino is ludicrous… the horse has better odds of dying than living and is very probably unsound.  The bruised hoof will most likely, in my experience, turn into an abscess… that will prolong his unsoundness and will require a great deal of effort to heal.  The price the owner is asking for the mustang is fair to frickin cheap.  But how do I get a terrified horse from that pasture to mine without destroying trust or getting somebody seriously hurt in the process and furthermore… these guys can’t go into the pastures with my girls.  They’ll have to be quarantined at least until they’re wormed and assessed fully, and in the colt’s case gelded.

And then there’s the horribly selfish part of me that’s upset that these horses are totally NOT what I want in a new horse.  The Palomino will be great for Jim, but the Mustang is maybe 14hh and while stocky and broad… not exactly my size of horse (remember Aimee was a Percheron) probably a good size for Xander eventually… but I’m the one that’s been actively searching for a new mount and if these horses come here the odds are very good that my possible riding horse will no longer be an option since at that point we’ll be up to 6 horses (not counting Skye and the donkeys).

The owner never did contact us.  We had to resort to some creative subterfuge to even speak with him about them, but in the end we purchased both horses and moved them to our farm on August 5. 

As with most all my horses these two had a bit of a “rebirth” upon moving in.  Chesney, the Palomino colt, became Leonidas, or Leo for short (Leonidas being the King that lead the Spartans against the Persians at Thermopylae.  His name means “spirit of a lion” which I felt was appropriate for a horse with a golden coat).  While Thumper (ugh!), the bay Mustang gelding, became Bucephalus, or Beau (Bucephalus was Alexander the Great’s famous warhorse.  Since Beau will most likely become Xander’s horse I thought the name was appropriate… Xander being short for Alexander and all).

Leonidas "Leo" right after we brought him home
This was taken just after we brought Leo home.

Bucephalus "Beau" right after we brought him home
Beau just after we turned him into the paddock with Leo.

I’m happy to report that Leo is gaining weight and my initial concerns seem to be unfounded… I’m not saying he doesn’t have some issues, but his hoof seems to be healing nicely and I’m no longer seeing the freaky stifle issue. We did have an issue with him laying down to sun and either he fell asleep and became overheated or was too weak to stand and became overheated… but either way I made a near frantic phone call to the vet for some advice and happily it all turned out well. We’re starting to seem some coltish behavior now that he’s getting enough nutrition to have the energy to be coltish… but on the plus side he seems to have a naturally mellow personality so the coltishness is quite rare. We found out that he is a TWH/QH cross… but honestly I’m not seeing the QH anywhere… this afternoon I watched him do the TWH running walk thing across the paddock… so he’s definitely TWH. I also think his age is way off. I think he’s barely 2 years old. And also I discovered that he’s not exactly a palomino! He’s actually a palomino roan. When I was grooming him I noticed that his golden coat was not purely golden. He has white hairs all throughout his coat and his mane is more of a strawberry blond than flaxen, although his tail is much lighter. Since he’s been having daily grooming his scruffy nasty coat has been shedding out and a shinier, healthier, more golden coat is appearing… but he still has the evenly distributed white hairs that continue to mark him as a palomino roan. I kinda like that he’s a bit unusual 🙂

I’m also happy to report that Beau is settling in nicely. He’s still very skittish but he’s making huge strides every day! He’s now allowing me to pet his face without being lured in by a treat and this is HUGE progress for him! He’s allowed me to touch his neck and back and even girth-line while he’s eating, but it was with a great deal of apprehension on his part. Someone has beaten him, thinking they were training him and it’s going to take a lot of time to undo what was done to him. He’s got scars on his girth-line where he was incorrectly saddled and scars from spurs where he was “busted” I’m sure and he has scars on his chest where I assume he was hit with a whip or belt. He also looks as though he has been punched in the face and twitched on his bottom lip which wouldn’t surprise me considering the level of abuse that he obviously suffered. And even after suffering through all of that, he’s still willing to try to trust a human again.

I did do a little research on his BLM tattoo and discovered that he’s from a herd captured in New Mexico and the BLM estimated that he was born in 2002, which makes sense I guess now that I think about it. He won’t be growing any taller, but he’s very stocky for his size. I think conformationally he’s pretty good. He carries himself beautifully and completely in balance. I didn’t see it, but when we were attempting to catch him in his cursed paddock he jumped what he thought was a low fence and his form, I’ve been told, was perfect. He’s well muscled and very alert and very eager. I’ve been very impressed with him and I still have faith that with consistent handling he’ll come around.

So anyway, my days are now filled with forays out to the side paddock to talk to the boys and see how they’re doing 🙂 So far I’ve taught them a couple whistle commands and they both know their new names. Leo is working on ground manners and leading and Beau is content just now to watch. All in all life is good and I really don’t regret anything at all 🙂

Happy grazing

One thought on “Leo and Beau

  1. Pingback: The Horse Update «

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