Well if anyone was paying attention back when I came home from Hawaii I kept talking about having to move my horses. Which I did so rather quickly on February 6th. I moved them not too far from where they were and to a place that I know they will be well taken care of and I'm comfortable knowing that a stallion will be handled the way he should be (not to mention she knows both horses from when they were babies). It alarmed me that when I would walk into Bailey's stall he would fly into the corner, shake, and throw his head in the air. I couldn't even so much as pet him on his forehead without him having a fit. Not only was that an issue, but he would race into his stall like he was in some big hurry to go no where but hide in the corner. It had kind of been in the works that I knew I had to move them both. But, it was a matter of finding a place who had people I could trust to properly handle a stallion. Well that place actually came to me and I couldn't be happier that it did.
It has been just over a month since they have both been moved and Lily adjusted quickly. She doesn't kick the walls when you feed her like at the other place and she now can hang her head out of her stall if she so wants. Which makes her happy, ears are always up and she is always happy. Bailey, on the other hand needed a lot of lovin. He had to regain the trust of people again. You could definitely tell that he was being beat on. He would hide in the corner of his stall and his only defense was to bite at you... which he is still doing, just not as bad. After all, he is a stallion and stallions do nip and bite. The second night he was at the new place I took him out of his stall in an attempt to brush him. Needless to say I was only able to brush his mane and get the manure soaked blankets off him to put nice clean ones on. Any where else I tried to brush him he would jump all over in the aisle and was trying to kick me. So I felt it would be better if I put him in his stall and let him settle down a little more. Yeah, manure soaked.. did I mention the old place only "sprinkled" dust on their stall floors.. it wasn't even enough to soak up urine which of course the entire stall was rubber mat lined so it had no where to go but picked up on his blanket when he would lay down. I've kept my mouth shut, trying not to burn any bridges with the previous place's owner... but I can't keep my mouth shut any longer about this, because here I have a almost 16 year old stallion that I have to go back to the basics with again. This should NOT have happened... no one should be beating on my horse or any horse if you can't handle a stallion you simply say I don't feel comfortable, end of story... but instead the resolution was to beat on my horse.. which in turn put a fear in him and made him even fearful of me which put me in danger. Bailey could hurt me in an instant and thank god he didn't do so and I believe he never will now that he is getting back on the track to trusting people again.
The first week at the new place I think everyone showered him with treats, just trying to gain his trust. The one lady said she'd go in his stall and pet him... of course the second you opened his door he'd go flying into a back corner like he did something wrong. Getting him to come to the door I bet took a good few weeks. He was quickly put onto a schedule... he goes out then comes back in and is tied to the wall. Tying him to the wall teaches him patience and manners. He needed to be tied to a wall every day, it also gives him a schedule and some what of a structure of a job. But he also has to come in and take his 1pm nap too (which he has resumed doing now).
The other day I went up to take care of the two big babies and immediately noticed how much more happier Bailey was and how much better he looks. I was paying for my own feed at the old place and truly believe he wasn't even getting fed, he had dropped about 300lbs and it was crystal clear that he did. Well now he's gained some weight and he looks so much better. He patiently and quietly stood in cross ties for almost an hour while I brushed him. Not once did he give me a hard time, jump around in the aisle while tied, or try to kick me other than the occasional head turn to try and grab at my shirt. My gosh is he a beautiful horse and you can see his confidence coming back, yet his manners are there. You can feed him treats and he is gentle as can be taking them.. no more trying to eat your fingers too, just gentle as can be. All the grooming went well.. he even tolerated me tugging a knot out of his mane. Previously I'd show up to take care of him and arrive to a mane full of dreadlocks that would take over an hour to get out. Now just one little knot! I watched him in his stall while grooming Lily and he wasn't doing the be-bop back and forth, he was just standing there all nice and calm quietly like OK MOM you going to brush me too?
He almost trusts me again. Trusts me enough he'll put his nose on my shoulder, he'll let me pet his cheeks and hold his head, but the issue still remains with getting close to his ears. I don't even want to think his ears were being twisted, but that is the only think I can thing would happen. How could I let my big gentle stallion be handled the way he was... because I was paying someone whom I thought knew what they were doing to care for Bailey, when in turn they couldn't even handle their own horses.. how would they handle mine?
There remains one major issue at hand.. walking into his stall. He still insists on bolting by you and almost knocking you over to get into his stall. This is an issue and it is being worked on getting fixed. With yet again some more lovin and showing him he can trust you walking into his stall. I can't have him doing this bolt move going into his stall.. due to conditions of my own I don't want to mention just yet, I can't even take the chance of him knocking me over or into a wall. It took me three times to finally get him to "wait" for me to walk in first and then he can follow along. Granted I had to change from a normal lead line to a chain under his chin, which was there more for control and not to harm him. But this issue is being worked on and getting fixed.
Again, I'm sure some are thinking how could you not know what was going on. Again I said.. I put my trust into someone that betrayed me (which I tend to do a lot of times in life - it's a hard lesson to learn). I noticed the weight loss and some mild manners getting out of wack, but I honestly had no idea how bad it was until he was at the new place. So again today the lessons will continue.. I will go up there and lead him in and out of his stall hoping to fix this issue. Soon enough I will have my mild mannered gentle stallion back to normal with his shiny coat! I'll try to post updates along the way of this process.. it's not something going to get fixed over night, but it's been a month and there isn't just a change in him, but a HUGE drastic change. A change I much embrace! I will take pictures later on.. perhaps I should have taken them at the old place to do a comparison, but I didn't...
Thanks go out to those that have showered him with love, treats, and kindness... god knows the boy needs to know we aren't going to harm him!