When I first met Legend, then “Remington”, he was a much different horse.
Feral. Dangerous. He was Petrified. And absolutely vicious in close contact with other horses. The latter I did not fully understand until a hundred days after our first meeting. However from the second I saw him, ramming himself into the packed trailer walls, taking hunks out of the other horse in the trailer with him, I would do absolutely what ever it took for him to live the best possible life he could, because in his soul he deserved it.
I have met many many horses and have been blessed enough to help alot of very special horses… none have touched my heart the way Legend has. He has over come so many great obstacles and become an unbelievable partner and friend.
Slowly we tackled every road block in our path.
Until it came time to let him go out with other horses…
I quickly learned that he had a major trigger when turned out with other horses. He viciously attacked several horses in the months following my adopting him. He would snap and charge, grab them by the Crest of the neck and trip them to the ground where he would relentlessly bite and stomp.
How could this be my horse? My sweet Legend who would do anything for a “hug” (a gesture he adopted early in the gentling process where he puts his head on my shoulder and literally “hugs” me) have such a ferocious side to him? This was the horse that nuzzled my son, danced around the arena at liberty with me, carried me to 5th place in the ATFO, not a vicious killer.
But there we were.
I will not lie, it was the only time I was ever actually scared of him. I was devastated. I didn’t know what his future would look like or if this was even something that was so deeply ingrained in him that it was unfixable.
I knew deep down that it wasn’t truly who he was, but a defense mechanism he had formed somewhere in his blurry past. When I adopted him I made him a heart promise that what ever it took for him I would do.
Months went by and he was kept separate from other horses in private turn out. He was happy because I was there. He progressed with his liberty work and lived the life of a king with a private paddock, twice a day feeding and interaction, a cozy stall at night. He traveled with me for clinics and helped educate people on the abilities of not only the rescue horse but the formally feral horse. We developed a very deep bond but something was missing.
I came down the driveway after being away for a week and found him standing in the rain at the corner of his field staring up the driveway, clearly waiting for me. He was sunken in and the farm sitter said he hadn’t moved all week since I left. It broke my heart and I knew what was missing. I came to the conclusion that no matter how perfectly I planned his days, setting extra time aside when feeding in the morning to groom or making sure he had lots of one on one interactive work throughout the day, ample turn out, a stall gate so he could hang out in his stall and watch while I worked with other horses in the barn; it wasn’t enough.
He was happy in his little world, but It was merely a giant and cheap imitation of what a horse needs. To be a HORSE
To this point his only form of enrichment came from me or the casual fence line race with a training horse in an adjoining field. He needed more. But I was at a loss. I loved him dearly but I knew I couldn’t stand the question of “Was this what the next 15+ years looked like for him?”
I wasn’t comfortable dealing with his level of aggression, nor did I know how to start. That is when Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue, INC and their incredible team offered their advice and help.
They had the resources and know-how to help my #RightHorse, stay my right horse.
Nelson Detweiler, who works with alot of HOP’s troubled cases, was up for the job. Or as up for it as anyone can be with a problem like Legend’s. Coincidentally Nelson had been the first to get a halter on Legend when he came into rescue so that he could be gelded.
We arranged for Legend to go home with Nelson after the 2019 Appalachian trainer Face-off to start his work on getting him able to be in a herd.
After 45 days I am absolutely in awe and Eternally grateful for this moment that I never knew to be possible. Legend is now home and out in a herd of my personal horses.
I personally know how GREAT horses in transition are because I Adopted one! I support Heart of Phoenix by offering my training services and helping care for adoptable horses. Together with Heart of Phoenix I want to help spread the word that adoption is a great option, no matter the level. You can find your #righthorse through a reputable rescue, like I did.
This organization and their incredible support have made yet another happily ever after. To see Legend out happily munching grass with Goose makes my heart sing