On May 22, 2014, my lovable old gelding broke his femur in his left leg. He was fine at breakfast, […]
Charlie and Me
Charlie needed some reminders about his ground manners and to blow off some steam so our trainer, Anee, worked with him a bit and then let him play. Charlie is so relaxed with her and always seems to enjoy his time with her. He had a lot of fun playing and bucking around just getting to act like a horse. I had a lot of fun watching them together!
The lessons to be learned here are pretty simple. We can inadvertently teach horses all sorts of undesirable behaviors without even realizing it. The methods I used to get him to trust me after his abusers (he was beaten, starved, and well, he went through hell) were those that came naturally to me — the same methods I would use to help a human. And that is the key here — Charlie is not a human, he is a horse.
Charlie, You Are Such A Spaz Charlie has been watching and learning from the other horses how to be more […]
If it were not for a Facebook page run by some amazing “invisible” do-gooders, Charlie would be dead. They photographed him at an auction and put out a plea to help him. Now, I suppose I could ask Auction Horse Rescue’s for permission to use their two photos of Charlie on my website, but I am not going to post them here because I want people to go to their Facebook page and see the amazing work they are doing. And while you are there, please “like” and “share” their page. Last I checked, they had about 4,000 “like” fans. Me and Charlie are one — so join us by joining them and let’s get them more LIKES!
These are a few of the key people who made Charlie’s rescue and rehabilitation possible. Thank you, to each and every one who played a part in getting him to safety, and in his rehab.
Charlie had been used the summer of 2012 by a rental barn in Burbank, CA. Even little kids could ride him because he was so docile. I can tell you, however, now that I know Charlie and saw him in the state he was being ridden, he was so compliance because he was weak as hell and scared to death. The reason he did not buck little kids off was because he barely had the strength to walk by the end of summer. And, he was in more than a little pain. His front shoes were old and his hooves were overgrown. He was unshod on the back, and he had suffered a leg injury that cracked his hoof from the tip all the way to the coronet that needed work. All his hooves were sharp, chipping, and overgrown. He also had numerous bite marks and cuts from being attacked by other horses, most likely because he was old, run down, and so little food was available. He had a terrible crush injury on his neck, some unknown front leg injury, cancer on his face, and if all this was not bad enough, someone had carved the initials “TX” into his hide with a knife. Yes, a knife. Bastards.
At first I just felt it when I was running my hands down his neck. An odd, decent sized indentation, below it a massive lump of scar tissue. I gently flipped his long scraggly mane to the other side. His neck had clearly suffered some sort of blunt force trauma. It looked like he had been beaten with a large stick or bat and for the next several weeks Charlie refused to let me groom him on his left side.
If I approached him at all, Charlie would move himself even further away. I think he wanted to become invisible, and he clearly wanted me to leave him alone. After attempting to move closer several times I decided it was best to meet Charlie on his own terms.
I stood for minutes on end just standing, talking to him, and reassuring him. I really cannot tell you if it took five minutes or thirty, but I stood there until Charlie finally turned and slowly moved towards me. He put his head down cautiously sniffing the halter, then moved away if I tried to put it on him.
“What do you want me to call you?” Gramps responded as he usually did when I talked to him by studying my face trying to understand. A lot of horses will look you in the eye and hold your gaze, and it is a wonderful feeling of connection when they do. But Gramps did more than that, he studied my facial expressions in a way similar to how people study each other’s faces searching for meaning and hidden emotions. He was trying to read me; that much was clear.
I had only seen Gramps once before, several weeks earlier, just as he was being led off a trailer by my daughter. Two women literally gasped at the site of him. Not in disgust, in shock. I had never seen such a thin horse, or any such a thin thing before, that could still stand. But as the horse walked with his head high, eyes wide and whites showing his fear, there was something about him that was insanely beautiful to me. So frail on the outside — yet so strong in the inside. This was a horse with a heart and will to live despite his obvious past and the clear odds against him.