DESERT HORSE EQUESTRIAN SERVICES


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Diary of a Rehab/Reschooling Project
Prince Charming

Prince Charming, an 8-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, left his life as a racehorse abruptly in 2006 when he was siezed as an "asset" from an owner involved in a narcotics case. Taken from an athlete's diet and exercise program and left standing around in a tiny dirt pen and eating grass hay, he foundered badly enough that his coffin bones rotated through the soles of both forefeet. He was one of 12 "asset" horses who were lucky enough to find boarding accommodations at Grand Adventures Ranch in Sonoita.

When I met Prince, he was probably 100 pounds underweight and could barely walk. We became acquainted when I was hired to do bodywork and basic therapeutic care for him in September while the ranch owner was away. He began to endear himself to me at once, standing like a gentleman for his daily foot soaking routine and clearly enjoying his massages, after he figured out what I was doing felt good. He was so tight in the glutes and hamstrings that he would twist around and nearly pin me against the post of the crossties to get me to work deeper and deeper there.

After several months of good feed and supplements, diligent therapeutic care and regular hoof trimming, Prince began to look and feel better. He and several of the impounded horses were sold, but when the new owner found out Prince had been foundered and saw him on one of his bad days, she gave him to a very caring woman whose primary goal is to see him have a happy life, whatever that means for him.

Although she is a novice horse owner, Prince's rescuer was able to learn to handle the sweet but energetic horse very competently and diligently did hours of basic groundwork to help loosen muscles tight from months of pain. She applied her past knowledge of clicker training to help him learn to be caught in turnout and I helped her learn the basics of teaching a horse to longe. In June, she sent Prince to my rehab/reschooling program to continue his education and find out what the next phase of his life and work will be. The photo above is Prince on his first day with me. Below are Prince's "before" pictures:

   
Left:  Prince in July 2006 when he arrived, underweight and foundered in both front feet. See the telltale "point" of the left fore and the tightness evident across his entire topline. Center and Right:  Prince in January 2007, getting some relief as part of a workshop to teach horse owners basic bodywork techniques for their horses.
Photos courtesy Kay Aubrey-Chimene

 

Use the links below to track Prince's progress through his rehab and reschooling program:

Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Week 19
Week 20
   

 

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