Monday, January 19, 2009

King...reaching his horse soul, chipping away one chip at a time...

a.k.a. Old Man
Red Roan Quarter Horse 20+ years old
I LOVE this picture I took today!
I've written about King before...
But some really cool things are beginning to happen with him! I'm just so excited!
As you know I have now read several books about training, horse behavior, communicating with the horse through your own body language...some of the old cowboy ways.
I've begun over the last two weeks to incorporate what I've been reading each day when I walk to the barn!
I owned King previously....purchased him from a horse sale about 5 years ago. He was going to the "killers" and I outbid them. Why would I want a horse under weight to the point he was a skeleton, a horse that may have had health problems, or could have been nutso?
My gut told me too. The whole night he was all I could think about, yes there were some beautiful well broke horses, but I HAD to have HIM.
At the time that I bought him I was partners with a friend.
He also saw something....King had now found a new home.
It took a few months but he quickly gained weight, walked with more "life" than before.
However, he never bonded with any of the other horses...he was always aloof and to himself.
He made me so sad.
I divorced...had to sell my horses. He and Babe (will talk about her and her story...she saved my life in a very hard and scary time)
were sold to a mutual friend, Larry.
After a couple years he got rid of his horses and King and Babe went to new homes.
Well my friend whom I partnered with in the past called me last Spring to tell me King was needing a new home, was I interested....YES!!!!
He came back to me was meant to be!
King is what horse people refer to as "bomb proof", the perfect teacher for a nervous friend like myself.
But he hadn't changed...still so sad. When peering into his big beautiful brown eyes, you cannot see into the depths of his soul. Not like you should in a horse. That dreamy quality has long been gone over years of hard work and hard hands.
The light is not on.
Sadness is what his eyes tell me. Disappointment, beaten, broken, and withdrawn. He tugged at my heart and I have been determined to turn on that light that is missing from his gorgeous eyes. I've been so happy to have him back with me, I've watched him get to a normal weight, he even bonded with Bella- the first time since I've owned him that he has done that. His coat began to show signs of good health, even if he is slowly going blind in his left eye.
However even with this progress, he never sought out attention, never considered me his friend. He again, remained aloof to my attempts.
Like I mentioned I've been doing a lot of reading....I want to change his outlook on life, though once a horse has withdrawn so deeply into himself this is very difficult and often times impossible if he has been that way for a very long time.
I've been working on bonding with King more than ever using everything the books suggested.
Saturday I was laying out a huge pile of straw for him and Jack to lay in while it was cold. King did something he's never done...and it was enough to stop my heart a few beats. I was cutting the twine off the bails as I heard him walk into the barn...this was good! I soon felt his soft warm nose on the back of my neck, inspecting my hair with his lips. He gently and softly nibbled my hand, I had ceased moving, paralyzed with joy of the moment, afraid if I even breathed I would forever miss this moment! As I looked up into his kind and lovely face, he didn't move!, but reached toward me for affection!
It was a small quick moment....but I'm finally breaking away at that wall...will he just change tomorrow - No I dont expect will take time for him to trust me and bond with me as my best friend. But I'm confident it WILL happen.
Norm thinks I'm crazy with all my reading and my new efforts....but he doesnt love the horse like I do. And King? He is worth every and any effort.
Lisa asked me what my goals were with the horses this year.
I think the above has answered my goals with King.
Break that wall King has built
Work on trust
my confidence
being the "herd" leader
communicating through body language
begin Jacks Kindergarten classes
Ride more
get over my fear of the other horses
imprint Georgia's foal when he arrives
Take Bella and Buck back to 1st grade for more riding time and to cure Bellas barn sour
Well, thats the basics...I'm sure there are lots I'd like to accomplish...but I'm so tired from listing items in my Artfire shop I cant seem to think and Im seeing double.
I've gotten several messages I cannot reply too due to lack of time. I havent forgotten anyone, but rather been busy out the wazoo today and last weekend. I'll get there! I will get to everyones blogs as well to catch up.
There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill


  1. OMG! You had me in tears, Rae! It is just providence that you found King again! You are helping him and that is great! I am glad that there are people like you in the world that see what wonderful being animals really are! Keep up the great work and good luck!
    Big Hugs

  2. That is so wonderful. I looked at a donkey last week that was sad. It did pull at me but I'm not sure I'm ready to take on an animal with as many problems as I think he'll have.

  3. Thanks Jen..I'm stubborn when it comes to animals...I've saved 2 calves who in all accounts should have died last winter...I missed my calling...I wanted to be a vet my whole life..well if I can just get through to him and let him know all people are cruel or will work him to the bone.... then I'll feel like I've accomplished something!
    Oh Christy I want a donkey so bad! Norm said NO never know what an animal has been through and their phsycey ( i know thats spelled wrong!)but that doesnt mean he'll be a problem, may just need more care??!! Its a big job...Donkeys are harder to handle and deal with, but they can be wonderful friends and friendly and quite agreeable if handled right!
    Good luck let me know what you decide!

  4. That is such a touching story about King. He is a beautiful horse! You're doing a great job with him Rachel :)

  5. Now that is AWESOME!!!!! King reminds me of my old man here. It took a year to get him to trust me and like King he was destined to end up being put down. At 28yrs old and acting like a two year old...he's happy healthy and strong as ever. Love love love this post.

    Big hug to you and to King for such an awesome touching story.

    Big Hug and love

    PS How old is King?

  6. Those are some terrific goals and I hope they are all successful, too.

    King sounds like a very special horse, one worth trying to earn his trust and friendship.
    Thanks for sharing his story.

    The picture of him is sweet. I like his long whiskers. So cute!

    By the way, I've chosen you for an award, so come by and pick it up soon :)


  7. Thanks again!!!! I was touched by his attempt at can see in his body language in the pictures that he is alert and interested in what I was doing while taking the pictures...I'm noticing that every time I am working with him. King is acting younger than he is too! Even more so the last 3 weeks!
    Lisa I hope that I get all my goals accomplished too. I havent shaved his wiskers since it helps them "see" by feeling....they cant see directly below them...and with him going blind in one eye...I figured it was best to just leave them be. He needs the little extra they give him. I'm not sure how old King is...when I get someone out here to float his teeth I'll find out then, I'm not good at telling a horses age by the teeth...but I may read up on that again and go take a look, maybe it will be obvious.
    Thanks know I LOVE my horses and I've been trying for so long to bring him back from within himself! I was so happy to see that ray of hope!
    Thanks Sharon! I hope he continues to show progress!


Thanks for visiting the farm! We love comments and hope to hear from you! ~ Rachel, Norm, Kiddos, and all our furry friends!