Tuesday 15 May 2012

3 of the best

This past weekend was one of THOSE weekends -  there was nothing mediocre about it - it plunged from highs to lows, the rehab roller-coaster in full swing(!). One minute at the mercy of cyber-bitching and feeling as if I never wanted to take on another rehab horse and the next minute awed and overwhelmed by the incredible support from owners and the amazing performance of the Rockley "old boys". 

This post is dedicated to 3 horses (and their owners!) who have confounded every attempt to write them off and who spent the weekend flying the flag in the best possible way, as I found out from updates which came in on Monday morning.

First up, Ginger, who came here in 2010 and is now aged 19.  He not only had a navicular diagnosis but was also quite stiff and arthritic and his vet had been very gloomy about him ever competing again.  

However, he went from strength to strength and I posted photos of him looking a million dollars and cleaning up when he went showing last summer, winning a double first prize.  Of course, he is now doing it again - and still looking a fraction of his true age!
I had an email over the weekend from Danielle confirming that the old boy hasn't lost his touch - in these photos, he is winning both his show hunter and riding horse classes.
Danielle said he wiped the floor with the opposition and no horse or owner could be more deserving (plus, as you can see, he LOVES an audience!).  Its very special when older horses get a chance to come back.
Next up, and equally gorgeous, are the beautiful Bailey W and Lainey, who were at Pontispool for camp in the most incredible weather.
Bailey W was here almost exactly 2 years ago and arrived following a collateral ligament injury diagnosis and months of box rest and remedial farriery.

Like Ginger, since the conventional treatments had been tried and had failed, the expectation from his vets was that he could no longer work (even though he was only 8 years old at the time). Lainey bravely made the decision to send him to us and Bailey is a credit to all the hard work that Lainey (like Danielle) has put in - as you all know, its far from easy being the owner responsible for keeping a horse sound and working barefoot!

Bailey has spent the last 2 years hunting, competing in dressage and is putting in some XC training - preparation for next season's hunting, perhaps?
Last but certainly not least, Kate and Storm, who also came here 2 years ago.  Storm had been diagnosed with severe DDFT damage and like Bailey was only a young horse and had had so many issues that he had never really been in full work.  His rehab not only involved hoof repair but a whole programme of re-education for him, both mentally and physically, and Kate has worked incredibly hard to make him into the horse he is today.

Kate has also worked incredibly hard to keep her veterinary practice updated on Storm's progress and its entirely to her credit that the same practice actually recommended rehab here for one of the scholarship applicants, purely on the basis of what she had reported back about Storm.

Every single rehab horse who leaves here depends absolutely on their owners to keep them sound and in work. When horses are as good as these three you can bet your bottom dollar that the owners have devoted blood, sweat and tears - not to mention hundreds of hours of work - getting them to this point.

There is nothing better than seeing these horses back doing the jobs they love but there was nothing smooth or easy in the journey these horse and their owners had to travel; we all had crashing ups and downs on the way, moments of jubilation and moments of despair.

But I hope this post is an encouragement to all the owners who aren't 2 years in and who have most of the roller-coaster ride still ahead of them.  It doesn't always turn out like a Disney movie, but sometimes it does - and its without doubt an incredible journey.


M's mum said...

Fantastic success stories. Its cases like this that make what you do worth while. The cyber bitches can go ****. If they find anything to bitch about, about what it is you do and what you achieve with these horses, they are sad and sorry individuals who ought to take a long hard look at themselves.

I am hoping for my own Disney movie, but I know that if it doesn;t happen, it won;t be for lack of trying, and I am confident that M coming to you will give him the best possible chance of a happy ending. xxx

Jassy Mackenzie said...

What a wonderful post, and fantastic to hear that these three are doing so well - could you possibly ask Ginger's owner what she uses for hoof polish and is it barefoot-friendly? (well, obviously, so I'd love to know what it is!)

Also, WHO has been cyber-bullying you and honestly what grounds could anyone possibly have to do that? Bring me my machine gun! (as we like to say here in South Africa).

dreams579 said...

Hows that Ferrari working out for your Nic? ;) Some people really are sad individuals with nothing better to do with their time than make up ridiculous stories! But the important people, and even more importantly, the important horses know the truth! Though Nico had a thorough sulk at me last night when i schooled him; not sure he approves of this working milarky ;) but i think the massage afterwards might have changed his mind slightly.

Bikerchickone said...

Just bear in mind that you won't have Dom much longer to tow your Ferrari out of the mud! You've done such a fabulous job with him that although we're a while away from the Disney ending I can't wait to have him home and keep on going.

Forget the green eyed monsters and the ignorance of those who like to bitch. The rest of us know how hard you work and appreciate all that you do for our horses and the many more who will need you in the future. Stopping now is definitely not an option, we need more data to shut up the ignorant!!

Finally, massive thanks for all you have done and are doing for all our horses. :) x

Nic Barker said...

I am totally spoiled by you lot - you are the best :-) And thanks so much again for all your support - it means a great deal.

Jassy, its already in the past and forgotten - much more fun to concentrate on the positives :-) I've asked Danielle what goes on Ginger's feet, though - will get back to you!

Amy Hughes said...

Wow - great to see happy horses and owners! I guessed immediately which forum the cyber-bitching was on (not one I have ever dared contribute to!) and had a look. Very sad to see the farrier I have used and trusted for 2 years (and had hoped would continue to support Eva and I in the future - we discussed this before she came) agreeing with the most vicious detractor. I just hope that eventually Eva will join the growing band of rehab graduates who are proving the worth of what you do!

Well done to these three, their owners, and you :-)

Danielle said...

Hi, i'm Gingers Mum - Danielle! The hoof stuff Ginger has on is Absorbine supershine - http://www.absorbine.com/products/grooming/supershine-hoof-polish-sealer.

Its great stuff and doesn't penetrate beyond the surface. Its easy to put on, its like a little sponge on a stick and it stays on for days! They do it in both black and clear but i always used the black as it looks great on Chestnuts. Its about £10 per bottle but it lasts. I'd highly recommend it!

Flynn said...

I'm not sure I'd describe it as a Disney story, life with FB it's more like a Hammer Horror film sometimes. Nevertheless, one year in and I do find myself bucking and farting more than I have done for several years. It seems to make FB smile (except when I tear off around the field at a rate of knots as he approaches with the head collar...ha ha). I'll get FB to write you a 1-year-in update soon as it too, is inspiring. As for the bitching..Keep calm and carry on!

Jassy Mackenzie said...

Thanks so much, Danielle - it sounds brilliant! Will be on the shopping list next time I go to the UK, or for someone to bring out here when they come, together with Equest wormer without the tape, which is not available here!

amandap said...

Fab updates and those horses are a credit to their hard working committed owners. A
huge well done to all of you. x

Nic said.
"as you all know, its far from easy being the owner responsible for keeping a horse sound and working barefoot!"

This is the heart of the matter imo. Once owners take responsibility as opposed to thinking of hooves as something not their responsibility and leaving it to the 'professionals' they come to realize hooves are actually part of the horse and are affected by the horses health and also mirror the health of the horse.

Way to go Nic. There are many of us behind you and grateful for the chance, even as in my case, to read and learn from the blog.

ps. How did I guess one comment in support on that thread was a farrier. lol Rockley may not be the answer for all horses and owners but it is a first class start in the rehab process for many imo.

Solar said...

I think these 3 horses are the perfect retort to the thread on HHO - really well done to them, their owners and to you Nic.

You give horses the very best possible start for recovery and if things do go wrong you are there with never-ending support to help us owners get them back on track again.

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

You give us hope back in the US to keep trying, keep asking ourselves questions, etc etc. It's so complex vs simple and what works for one vs another and I try to take all your work and compare to what could help us out. So, thanks!

Lainey said...

Hi, it's Lainey Bailey's mum. Thank you all so much for the lovely comments. Barefoot is an amazing journey of discovery, be it a rehab or other. Bailey coming sound was a total dream come true as I had had him since a yearling. He is my dream horse and has taught me so much, and the biggest lesson is that sometimes nature is best. But the biggest thank you is to Nic and the magical Rockley. The care Bailey got from both herself and Andy was second to none and we are proud to fly the Rockley flag.


Linni said...

I find it hard to believe that you have any criticism ! I read with avid interest regularly and find these posts , case studies and clear evidence of success tremendously inspirational for my own horses.
I am convinced that one day nearly all owners who thirst for optimum, humane horse health, will choose these methods of husbandry as a benchmark for equine health.