After a cold spring, our horses are finally able to graze green grass (and Annie’s svelte figure is soon to be replaced by the Michelin Man look). With Annie and Pepperoni both well set in their training, most of my energy has been focused on my new foster horse, Truth.
Looking at her now, after two months at our ranch, it’s hard to believe she’s the same horse. She has put on weight and is becoming more fit, reclaiming her incredibly athletic physique after a decade as a broodmare.
In six weeks of training, this gorgeous 18-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred (OTTB) has gone from burying her head in the far corner of her pen whenever anyone approached, to meeting us eagerly at the gate. She has progressed from kicking and biting defensively any time you touched her chest, belly or hind legs, to standing quietly tied and enjoying a full-body grooming.
When Truth arrived at my ranch on March 31st, her coat was shaggy, her ribs were too visible, her back lacked the fat and muscling needed to support the weight of a rider, and her belly was huge after having five babies. She needed an abundance of highly palatable, high protein hay, along with some concentrated feed to put some meat on those bones as we started reconditioning her.
After two careers (racing and broodmare), I knew she would also need some joint support as we eased her back into fitness. In just six weeks of 10-minute long-trots, six days a week, I’ve seen her trot go from stiff and reluctant to free-flowing with floating extension. The first week she could barely hold a trot longer than 6-7 minutes and now she’s racing around, cantering freely, with a spring in her step.
Truth is typical of an OTTB in so many ways, not the least of which is her thin and brittle hooves and sensitive skin. She came with an unsightly quarter crack in her right front foot. Knowing it would take a full year to grow that crack out, I wanted her on a supplement to promote hoof growth, and she needed the extra vitamins to help her coat glow. After all, getting her ready for adoption means she has to look fabulous to melt hearts at first sight. Cosequin® ASU Joint & Hoof Pellets were the obvious choice for Truth, and after only eight weeks on her new nutritional plan, we can see a huge difference.
Underneath her rough exterior, I could see Truth’s beauty when I first met her, and I knew she was an athlete, too. After researching her online records, we found that she raced for three years, which means she’s been ridden a lot in her past. So what if it’s been over a decade since she’s been ridden? At least no one has screwed up her training in the meantime!
After six weeks of handling, grooming, and a ton of desensitizing, the defensive behaviors we saw initially have almost gone away. Now we are working on reintroducing Truth to a saddle and bridle as we continue to increase her strength and fitness with daily workouts.
Join us each week on my Facebook page at Facebook.com/JulieGoodnight at 12:00 pm ET (10:00 am MT) for live and real-time training updates to see her progress for yourself.
Truth is an amazing mare, and I know when she is ready for adoption we will find her perfect forever home as a family riding horse. But did you know that tens of thousands of amazing horses are at risk of inhumane treatment or worse each year?
If everyone that could help a horse would step up—whether through adoption, foster training or supporting a local horse rescue—no horses would be at risk. You can find great horses available for adoption today at MyRightHorse.org or find a local rescue to connect with at TheRightHorse.org/Adoption-Partners.