Monday, May 17, 2010

A Fantastic Maark Update

I've had a few wonderful emails recently from Maark's owner. She tells me that Maark is doing fantastic. It's so wonderful to hear that this very nice horse is being given the opportunity to be all he can be by a wonderful horseperson. The following are the emails updating me about Maark:

We are a grooving down the trail!!!! Did a ride at Whiskeytown 15 miles very hilly and rocky/tough ride. He did fantastic only 2 things he didn't like out of that whole ride a bicycle and a dark mud sucky puddle. Not bad I thought. W rode with me on my other guy. C H thought I was nuts as she rode with me too but after wards thought he was a great horse for only going out on the trail the 3 time now. Having fun with him. Husband may start riding him after about 20 rides or so he is a great big boy! He is looking really good will get pictures when his hair is off so you can see what he really looks like. Had his teeth floated/sheath cleaned a couple days ago he did really good with that too. He is coming around to others too, he is fearful of new people at first, taking him to a class at Shasta college to get him used to going places in the trailer etc and doing very well. Anyway will quit talking your ear off. Will have to ride soon too at Oroville or Tevis trail. Really want to do the latter!!!

Here are some pics of Maarks ride on Tues 3/16. He did so good! Very brave, most of the time. Easy to work through things though. White rocks are a little disturbing. Had a great day and got a little burnt.

Hey CMK, We are off to our first ride at Cache Creek today and just wanted to send you a couple of cool training pics of him doing so good! He is such an awesome horse, brave and trusting what a gem!
Who would have thought that morbidly obese gelding who got off the trailer last Sept would turn into this awesome trail horse? He's come such a long way thanks to the people in his life who were willing to give him a chance. There IS life after obesity! Ride on Maark & Mom.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Maark's New Journey

I recently received an update on Maarks' progress. He & his new mom have started their journey as trail partners. She said he LOVES going on the trail & wants to keep moving forward. He's curious & excited about all the new things he's seeing. Of course they're only walking right now, but how great is it that a horse who was once in danger of losing his life to obesity is now enjoying all the new things life has to offer him? While getting a horse through the rough times of founder, laminitis, IR, cushings, or obesity can be daunting, it's not impossible. Better still is that with education, horses never had to suffer the consequences of these diseases. Maark is a poster child for how successful an outcome can be if given a chance.

Lady is also doing well. She's living on a drylot pasture with another senior lady. Every now & then they can been seeing flying across the pasture with tails flying. At those times you would never know that Lady is in her 20s & has suffered founder for years. What a gorgeous mover. You can definitely see where Maark gets his awesome trot, like mother like son.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Sad End

I first saw Sugar almost 20 years ago as a 3-4 year old filly. Back then she was dark grey, sassy, & full of life. I can still see her running across the pasture that day. Of unknown heritage, she stood just under 14 hands but had the trot of a big horse. She belonged to a friend who would sell her & later buy her back. For a number of months about 5 years ago Sugar stayed with me while her owner moved & settled in. It was during this time that I came to appreciate the stoic, tough little mare.

Her life hadn't always been easy & she had no use for people other than at feeding time, but who could blame her? Over the years Sugar was a horse of many trades, from trail riding; broodmare; working cattle; cowboy's horse; to lesson horse; forgotten horse, Sugar did it all. At some point in time she experienced an episode of founder. I was told it was post foaling but no other details were ever available to me. Over the next 10-15 years Sugar would have founder flare-ups, but she never missed many days of work. As long as her hooves were kept trimmed & shod, she would continue working with a minimum of pain. We all know that horses can be very stoic creatures, but I think Sugar was more stoic than most. I'm sure she was in a lot more pain than she ever showed. Under saddle she was a fireball who never missed a step, but watch her casually roaming the pasture & it was evident her feet hurt. As time went on she became more sore & could be seen in the classical "saw-horse" stance of founder.

It'd been a couple years since I'd seen Sugar, but her owner would occasionally tell me that she was slowly getting worse. Why she was allowed to worsen without treatment was always upsetting & many times I suggested euthanasia. Her owner just wasn't ready. A very selfish sentiment! Sugar had gone from an obese, obviously IR, horse to a thin horse with the haircoat of a cushing horse. Her owner would never spend the money to test for IR & cushings, but the symptoms were hard to miss. Every now & then Sugar's owner would say she really needed to be euthanized but there just wasn't the money for the vet. Finally the day came when Sugar was taken to a low-cost/free euthanasia clinic. I was glad to hear that the stoic little mare's years of pain were over. But even more than being glad, I was so saddened to see what Sugar had been allowed to become. The pictures of her last hours show a horse emaciated by pain, trying to stand & walk on feet that had obviously been long neglected.
There's no excuse for allowing a horse's feet to get in this condition. Just because a horse is being fed (I know for a fact that Sugar never missed a meal these last 15 years, she was often overfed) doesn't mean they aren't being neglected. Allowing a foundered horse to suffer is a horrible form of neglect, one that doesn't have to happen. This x-ray shows Sugar's deformed & deteriorating coffin bone that's on it's way to dropping through the sole. I'll never understand how anyone can let a horse get in this condition. How can someone stand by & watch the daily pain & suffering without trying to do something to correct it? Ignorance to the care of a foundered horse is what sent Sugar into her downward spiral of repeated founder episodes. Ignorance & lack of proper hoof care caused a nice mare to suffer years of pain. I tried to talk to her owner many times but old "cowboy" ways are hard to overcome. I hope sharing Sugar's story here will open at least one pair of eyes to the terrible outcome of founder untreated. Founder isn't something hopeless, it isn't something to accept & "learn to live with it". It can be treated &, more importantly, IT CAN BE PREVENTED! Rest in peace & run free Sugar.