Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How could I?

How could I forget to update you on Woodrow's progress?  As you may recall, we had an unfortunate incident awhile back when crossing a creek.  Woody slipped, got stuck in a boggy portion, and then slowly...slowly...slipped down into the creek with his hind legs stuck out behind him.  I was able to just step off as quickly as possible and let him figure out how to get up.
This is a picture after we walked the trail for about 10 minutes after he fell.  You can see that he's muddy, and tired, and probably hurts.  I walked him a bit more, then got on and let him choose his pace back to the trailhead.  The next day he was unable to put weight on the right hind.

He has recovered to about 95% so far and I have to remind myself to slow him down.  He is, after all, almost 21 years old, which is far older than me in horse years.  (We were the same age for a short time).  I also need to remind myself that while he is a fantastic companion, and a fun horse to ride, he has an unknown history from birth to age 12.  Here is what he looked like when I bought him.


Those readers who keep horses will recognize lots of problems, the first being...this horse is skinny!  You can't see it well because his hair coat is sticking out and hiding ribs.  Look at the shoulder and hip, and neck.  Then his coat and tail are dry, breaking off and not oily and shiny.  Ears back, mouth pursed, feet incorrectly shod.  Oh, and did I mention all the knots, bumps, and sore places?  I could not touch the top of his head or ears for about a year.  To journey from that picture to the one on the right here is truly a love story. 

I bought Woody without a vet check and paid more than he was worth, probably.  I then shelled out more than his purchase price in the first year to pay for worming, vet care, chiropractic care, feed, shoeing, training, boarding, and more vet care...He had so many health problems and was so green (that means untrained but broke to ride, barely) that I did very little actual riding with him at first.  Groundwork, grooming, and good attention. 

See the big bumps in his neck?  Those are vertebrae which are "out".  He was tolerating those, along with a hip and shoulder problem. 

After lots of care and basic training, I started riding him in the arena.  For most of the time, he would race around with his head straight up (we call that stargazing), which was unnerving as I couldn't steer or really control him much.  This picture is one I am proud of as it shows a relatively clam horse and not so nervous rider!  Usually we looked like this:

This photo is from year 1 also, and we had been taking a lesson.  Woodrow had been working for over an hour at this time, and this was a great improvement!  In fact, the ride was no longer so exciting for the spectators, and those cowboys had moved off the rail to look for something else to comment on. :-)  I'm sure those guys would have picked me up had I gotten dumped, but they did sure enjoy smiling about this green horse. 

Woodrow is helping Annika learn to ride, and doing a terrific job.  Last week Annika learned to control the size of a circle, and to trot!  That's huge!!  He is very patient with her and she is a very good student.  As time goes on, I think Annika and Woodrow will become fast friends. 


  1. I am so glad to hear all is getting better with Woodrow. I love seeing pics of peoples animals on their blogs.

  2. What a great story. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Nice.I just got a rescue saddlebred that was in much worse condition than your horse.Has improved greatly but he is well trained and was just worked to death by an amish man.Now he is doing a great job with me !

  4. sa, I'd love to hear more and see pictures. I cannot contact you as your profile is not activated. Please stay in touch via the blog if possible.

    Regards, Mary


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