Rescue Report

Pasture Injury

December 20, 2013

Banjo making new pasture friends. Photo by Allison Meyer


Bailey, the rescue horse who was saved from an auction, deemed a killer horse, and who was scared of everything, no longer exists. He has been transformed into Banjo, show name Percussion.

Banjo is nothing like the scared, dangerous horse I?d brought home three years before. He?s fit, healthy, and happy. He?s a beginning competitor and trusted companion.

Over those first years together, we overcame obstacles. One setback that stands out in my mind began with a little playtime in the pasture.

Banjo is a gregarious horse and loves to play. He?s always near the top in any herd?s pecking order, but he gets along well with all his pasturemates.

He enjoys spending hours running, rearing, spinning, play biting, and pawing.

At the time if this incident, Banjo?s favorite pasturemate was a tall, dark-bay 16.3-hand Warmblood. They loved to rear up on their hind legs, then take off at full speed to gallop down the pasture.

So, when Banjo came in from the pasture lame one day, I was pretty sure he?d played too rough.

Have you ever experienced that feeling that something isn?t right with your horse? That's how I felt with Banjo that day. His pain wasn?t obvious at the walk, but I could feel it when I got on.

It felt like he was painful on his right hind leg. I got off. Then I longed him at the trot so I could better observe him in motion. I was right?he was favoring his right hind leg.

I like to use equine chiropractors for issues that aren?t acute or traumatic. I?ve found chiropractic and acupuncture extremely beneficial to treat mild to moderate lameness issues. These modalities can also be very helpful in supporting more serious lameness problems.

So, I called in a trusted equine veterinarian, chiropractor, and acupuncturist Pam Mahonen.

Dr. Mahonen is a skilled diagnostician. She discovered a soft-tissue injury to the muscles in Banjo?s right hip. Also, his sacral region was tight and sore. She gave him a chiropractic adjustment to improve mobility in the vertebral joints. She also applied acupuncture, which involves stimulating points on the body with small needles to correct the flow of energy.

At first, Banjo was unsure of the needles. But he relaxed as they worked their magic. After the treatment, he moved almost normally. Still, Dr. Mahonen recommended phenylbutazone for pain, as well as stall rest. Banjo would stay in his run, with no turnout, for six weeks.

Six weeks sounded like an eternity! But I was so glad to hear that he?d make a full recovery, I didn't care.

It was hard to watch Banjo when his friends left him to frolic in the pasture. But he quickly made new friends with the other horses that stayed in during the day. He relaxed into his new schedule and enjoyed napping in the sun.

After six weeks of stall rest and a few more visits from the Banjo was allowed to go back to work. For the first two weeks, he was allowed only to walk. Then I slowly moved him back into a full work schedule, including the faster gaits.

Our patience and vigilant care paid off. Within a few months Banjo returned to his healthy, happy self.

For more information about equine chiropractors, check out this article at Equisearch: http://www.equisearch.com/horses_care/health/alternative_therapies/alternative-therapies-for-horses-2/.


A-Home-For-Every-HorseIf you want more information on rescue horses or you want to locate a rescue near you, please check out?AHomeForEveryHorse.com. Equine.com and the Active Interest Media Equine Network have joined forces with the American Horse Council?s Unwanted Horse Coalition to launch A Home for Every Horse Project.

This project helps find homes for America?s 170,000 to 200,000 horses in need of care and shelter.
Here's how it works:
? Begin the search for your next equine partner atAHomeForEveryHorse.com. You can search horses waiting for homes at nonprofit shelters across the country. Browse by rescue horse, or find rescue organizations in your area.

? Visit the site?s ?Services? section to learn about your local rescue organizations. Find out how you can volunteer, donate, or simply spread the word.

? Look for upcoming stories on?EquiSearch.com related to horse rescue.

If your 501(c)(3) rescue organization would like to join the Home For Every Horse Project, call (866) 467-7323, ext. 100. Equine.com is a part of Active Interest Media Equine Network.

Horse Rescue Report: Through the Water

December 09, 2013

Banjo and I race through the water! Photo by Shara Rutberg


In my last blog entry (?On the Course?Again?), I explained how three-day eventing competition had interfered with my relationship with Banjo, my rescue horse.

I wish I could say things changed as soon as I realized this, but they didn't. We continued to push on for a few more months. We had many ups and downs.
One of our ?up? moments, was at a small, local cross-country competition. It was our first time we?d competed since we had a problem crossing the water obstacle at Rocky Mountain Horse Trails. (See Blog?).
I really wanted to conquer the water issue before the end of the season. I chose this event specifically because of its big, deep water obstacle.
The day of the event, I decided to focus on having fun with my horse instead of the competition.
The course was beautiful?a mix of tall green trees and open grassy fields. The sun shone, and the mountains in the distance had a bit of snow on the tops. It was a cool, fall day in Colorado.
When it was our turn to enter the flagged starting box, Banjo was relaxed, but eager. When it was our time to go, we took off into a nice forward canter toward the first fence. Banjo cleared it easily. The course began to fly by.
It was fun going in and out of the trees, and over the wide variety of jumps.
When we came around a bend to face the water, our pace was perfect. I took a deep breath and relaxed. I knew I couldn?t push Banjo. I just waited and supported him with my legs.
He went right through the water! In fact, he flew through it! Water was flying everywhere as we barreled across.
As we came down the home stretch, I let Banjo really open up. I wasn?t worried about our time or where we placed. I just thrilled with the feeling of my big horse charging happily toward home.
It was our best cross-country round ever. We?d completed the course closest to the ideal time. That meant we took home a blue ribbon!
I had finally learned to relax and enjoy the present moment. That was the best reward.

A-Home-For-Every-HorseIf you want more information on rescue horses or you want to locate a rescue near you, please check out?AHomeForEveryHorse.com. Equine.com and the Active Interest Media Equine Network have joined forces with the American Horse Council?s Unwanted Horse Coalition to launch A Home for Every Horse Project.

This project helps find homes for America?s 170,000 to 200,000 horses in need of care and shelter.
Here's how it works:
? Begin the search for your next equine partner atAHomeForEveryHorse.com. You can search horses waiting for homes at nonprofit shelters across the country. Browse by rescue horse, or find rescue organizations in your area.

? Visit the site?s ?Services? section to learn about your local rescue organizations. Find out how you can volunteer, donate, or simply spread the word.

? Look for upcoming stories on?EquiSearch.com related to horse rescue.

If your 501(c)(3) rescue organization would like to join the Home For Every Horse Project, call (866) 467-7323, ext. 100. Equine.com is a part of Active Interest Media Equine Network.

On the Course?Again

November 27, 2013
BANJO_CCAs told in my last blog,?Cross-Country Adventure Banjo and I competed at Rocky Mountain Horse Trials, a three-day eventing competition. Three-day eventing includes dressage, stadium jumping, and cross-country jumping classes.

We?d done well in dressage and stadium jumping, and were flying around the cross-country course when I was told that I was off course. I was confused, as I knew I stayed on course.

As it turned out, I was on course, but there had been a miscommunication among the event?s staff members that led to a miscue at the start gate. I started early, which technically put me ?off course,? and I was forced to walk back to the staging area in embarrassment.

As Banjo and I started our second attempt, I was so shaken up that I couldn?t relax and focus. The experience hit all my personal buttons. I felt like a little kid who?d been scolded, but I hadn?t done anything wrong.

Perhaps a more seasoned competitor could?ve pushed her emotions aside and just focused on the task at hand. However, I wasn?t able to pull it together.

We started with a fast gallop. Banjo, affected by my emotional state, was nervous. I did all I could to slow him down, but he didn't listen.

We made it through the first jumps. But Banjo hesitated when we arrived at the spot where we had been stopped in the previous round. I should?ve been patient and let him look at the obstacle, so he could see it was safe. Instead, I urged him forward with my legs and seat.

When I did so, Banjo pushed back and refused to enter the water. This made me more upset. I decided to make him go into the water. The more I pushed, the more Banjo said no. And after a short fight, we were eliminated.

As we walked back toward the trailer, I cried. I felt like a complete failure. My trainer and friends said it wasn?t my fault. Banjo and I had been fine on the first round. But I knew the truth.

I?d lost sight of what was really important. I?d chosen competition over my relationship with Banjo. I?d let my desire to prove I could ride, that I did deserve to be there, to cause my horse become stressed and fearful.

Something had to change.

A-Home-For-Every-HorseIf you want more information on rescue horses or you want to locate a rescue near you, please check out?AHomeForEveryHorse.com. Equine.com and the Active Interest Media Equine Network have joined forces with the American Horse Council?s Unwanted Horse Coalition to launch A Home for Every Horse Project.

This project helps find homes for America?s 170,000 to 200,000 horses in need of care and shelter.
Here's how it works:
? Begin the search for your next equine partner atAHomeForEveryHorse.com. You can search horses waiting for homes at nonprofit shelters across the country. Browse by rescue horse, or find rescue organizations in your area.

? Visit the site?s ?Services? section to learn about your local rescue organizations. Find out how you can volunteer, donate, or simply spread the word.

? Look for upcoming stories on?EquiSearch.com related to horse rescue.

If your 501(c)(3) rescue organization would like to join the Home For Every Horse Project, call (866) 467-7323, ext. 100. Equine.com is a part of Active Interest Media Equine Network.

Cross-Country Adventure

November 13, 2013

Banjo and I enjoying an exciting cross-country round.


In my last blog, And he's off..., I described the first day of competition at Rocky Mountain Horse Trails. My rescue horse, Banjo, and I had completed the first day. We'd done well in dressage and stadium jumping.

We'd just started our cross-country round with very little warm up, due to a sudden schedule change. We started quickly out of the gate. Still, I tried to stay positive.

Banjo and I sailed over our first fence with rhythm and control. He was eager and willing. I felt relaxed and ready.

It was a beautiful course, thrilling to ride. This is it, I thought, it's perfect.

I felt like Banjo and I were one as we flew over the next three jumps. If we keep up like this, we'll be in the ribbons, I thought. The sun shone. It seemed like nothing could go wrong.

We came around a bend, sailed over a jump, and headed toward the water obstacle. I saw a flash of color out of the corner of my eye. A jump judge came running, waving a flag, and yelling, "You're off course!"

What? I knew I wasn't off course! I kept going, but then another jump judge ran toward us, waving her flag. Banjo had had enough. He spooked, and we stopped.

The jump judge informed me I was off course and had been eliminated. I couldn't believe it; I knew I wasn't off course.

I as rode back to the starting gate, I felt devastated. How had I screwed up? I also felt embarrassed. I felt like everyone was looking at me and that I didn't belong there.

Back at the starting gate, the starter informed me that there had been a miscommunication by the staff, and I'd been started on course too soon. The jump judges hadn't been informed that the Beginner Novice division had started, so they thought I was off course. This wasn't an error on my part.

There was an apology. I know mistakes are made. But my calm and readiness were gone, replaced with a kind of nervous shaking. The starter told me I'd be allowed ride the course again in 20 minutes.

I was a mess. How could I pull it together in 20 minutes? And what about Banjo? He was still puffing from his first attempt. I'm sad to say I was more worried about myself than my horse?unusual for me.

I tried to focus on the next round, despite my small panic attack. My thoughts raced. I was tight and nervous. Banjo was tense, too, as he sensed my anxiety.

How would I be able ride the course again?


A-Home-For-Every-HorseIf you want more information on rescue horses or you want to locate a rescue near you, please check out?AHomeForEveryHorse.com. Equine.com and the Active Interest Media Equine Network have joined forces with the American Horse Council's Unwanted Horse Coalition to launch A Home for Every Horse Project.

This project helps find homes for America's 170,000 to 200,000 horses in need of care and shelter.
Here's how it works:
? Begin the search for your next equine partner at AHomeForEveryHorse.com. You can search horses waiting for homes at nonprofit shelters across the country. Browse by rescue horse, or find rescue organizations in your area.

? Visit the site's "Services" section to learn about your local rescue organizations. Find out how you can volunteer, donate, or simply spread the word.

? Look for upcoming stories on EquiSearch.com related to horse rescue.

If your 501(c)(3) rescue organization would like to join the Home For Every Horse Project, call (866) 467-7323, ext. 100. Equine.com is a part of Active Interest Media Equine Network.


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