When we went to collect Grace (see https://honeyspledge.org/2013/05/08/saving-grace-one-year-on/ ) we met her paddock mate, a lovely bay standard bred gelding. He was penned in a yard, frantically running in tight circles, clearly in fear. Grace had moved into a shed to keep away and watched nervously.
After a short time we made contact with the standard bred and held him with a headstall and lead rope. He immediately quietened. We found that he too was for sale. We were told he had been put under saddle by the current owner (the husband). Having a close friend who did a lot of work with standard bred horses we decided to see if we could reduce the asking price., which was way above the market. We were able to do so, but because the float was not suited to the two large horses, we left the gelding, advising we would be back as soon as we could to collect him.
After settling Grace we set about finding a short term foster home for the gelding until such time as we were able to look at further training for him. A home was found and we made a date to collect him.
The day it was wet, cold and windy and we nearly postponed. However we decided to go ahead and thank goodness we did.
We found the gelding in the paddock, not just shivering but shuddering uncontrollably with the cold. He was drenched and the lack of shelter gave him no protection. He loaded easily onto the float. The lady went to find the horses’ rugs, which her husband had put away, not believing in their use. We threw the old rug over the horse to try to give him some protection on the journey.
Fortunately we did not have far to drive and on arrival we took him straight into a stable, rubbed him down and put a warm, dry combo rug on him. He closed his eyes, clearly relieved to be given some respite from the cold.
The foster home suggested we name him Jake. He stayed around two months gaining condition and confidence. However he developed a weeping and inflamed eye. We were aware he had an old injury but it became apparent that there e were serious issues with his eye and he received vet treatment.
In the week he was due to travel to us his eye worsened, and so we took him direct to our own vet hospital for further assessment.
They diagnosed a seriously ulcerated eye. Jake was given pain relief and admitted to the hospital. The next day his eye was removed as the damage was too great and the risk of further ulceration and pain was too high.
Jake quickly recovered and came back to us for paddock rest. We traced his history and he was a successful harness racer. We ge the sense though, that Jake has had to submit all of his life. We made the decision not to retrain him under saddle. We felt Jake just needed to live out his life in total freedom.
We found hm a fantastic home with an experienced horse person. His first paddock mate was to be another gelding with one eye, Jack.
So Jake again loaded onto the float and made the journey west. He immediately settled in and was sharing Jack’s hay.
He now relishes his freedom, making his own choices. He is Jake the independent and we love him dearly for that.