Since I work at my barn every-so-often fun little projects come up. And last week I was given the most adorable little project that I have ever seen.
I was asked if I would be willing to rehab a Welsh Cob, 18 yo gelding named Victor. He is literally the cutest thing that I've ever seen. He may even trump adorable Willow in terms of sheer cuddleness! He is very small and also very, very fat. Like so fat that every time my trainer sees him she says that she thinks he will founder. And that is probably true, although I do think that the chubby factor makes him even more stuffed-animal-like.
|He's pretty cute, right?|
As cute as Victor is, he has had many health issues that would drive me insane as an owner. He has been lame for the past 6 years. You heard me right... 6... years... And his owner is a saint and kept him even though he was totally unrideable. My understanding of Victor's health issues is that nobody really knew what was wrong with him for a few years, and then the vet found out that he had ringbone (basically bony arthritis in the pastern or coffin joint). It is Victor's left hind that is most impacted, but I don't know if the ringbone is in other legs as well (and I also don't know if it is high or low ringbone). The vet recently evaluated Victor and said that the ringbone has fused 95% of the way and that for the last 5% to fuse/heal he needs exercise and weight put on him. I don't really understand this whole fusing business, but I was asked if I would be the one to exercise him as I am small and light, and since he is adorable and sweet of course I said that I would.
The vet-approved exercise plan for Victor right now is 10 minutes of walking, then 5 minutes of trotting, and then 10 more minutes of walking and then stop. Repeat this 3-4 times a week. Basically, we don't want to break him so we have to slowly work him towards doing more exercise. In a month or so the vet will come back out and re-evaluate to see where Victor is at. I'll basically work with Victor until his owner or my trainer decide to take over or if I get too busy with my new job.
|I have to carry a crop with him, because he is so lazy|
So far I am really liking working with Victor. He is a total doll and cuddle-bug. He comes up to me when I go to fetch him from the pasture, he loves to cuddle and hang out with me, and he is really well-behaved under saddle. He's tried a few mischievous things, like pretending that he doesn't know how to walk along the rail, but with a slight correction from me, he does what he should be doing. His owner says that he has tried bucking and taking off with her, but I see none of those behaviors and really he is a push-button pony with me. In fact, he can be downright lazy. He is very out-of-shape and so that doesn't help, but I have to carry a crop with him (which I usually never do) and constantly keep asking him to keep moving.
I've been working with Victor for two weeks now and he's made a lot of progress. I think that he is becoming less stiff and unbalanced and that this exercise is doing good things for him. He also is getting a lot more fit. The other day he didn't start slowing down until the 5th minute of trotting, which is significant improvement, as the first time I rode him he was dying after one minute. Mostly though he's worked his way into my heart. I love Casey, but I will always have room in my heart for other horses too, and Victor's sweet personality is really endearing.
|So much trotting|
|Cute horse bum|