I’ve found that, like people, every horse has its own distinct personality. Take Max, my second project horse from Colorado Horse Rescue.
Max was a 5-year-old, solid-black Quarter Horse. He was also one of the smartest horses I’ve ever met. He wasn’t afraid of anything. He also had a mischievous side. He was joker. But this equine comic had a dark side.
Max was similar to my own rescue horse, Banjo, whom I’d already adopted and re-trained by the time I’d started working with Max. The two were similar in that they’d both been deemed dangerous horses.
At that time, Banjo was a beginner eventing horse, as well as my trusted companion. Now, I’ll tell you Max’s story.
Max was at the horse rescue because he’d injured one of his original owners. Both owners were subsequently scared of Max and wanted the horse rescue to find him a home.
Max’s original owners were well-intentioned, but inexperienced, horsepeople. Max was their first horse; they’d purchased him as a youngster with the hope of training him. That plan didn’t turn out well. Unfortunately, this often happens.
This set of circumstances reminds me of the saying: “Green-on-green makes black and blue.”
That is, an inexperienced person with an inexperienced/ untrained horse will get a lot of bruises. And that’s if the person is lucky. A green rider on a green horse could easily end up with broken bones.
These green-on-green matches are also unfortunate for the horse, which often learns inappropriate behavior from the start. Such a horse can become unruly or even dangerous. Many of these horses wind up at rescues or auctions. Like Max.
Once Max arrived at the horse rescue, he was turned out to pasture with the other horses. As I mentioned, Max was smart. Smart horses with nothing to do but hang out in the pasture often get into trouble. So, it’s not surprising that Max found a way to amuse himself.
Max’s idea of fun was to bite and scare unsuspecting volunteers. According to rescue staff, he’d approach people looking friendly and inviting. Once the person began to pet him, he’d bite a shoulder or hand!
Max had so much fun with the biting that he advanced to more aggressive behavior, such as striking out and charging.
How were Banjo and I going to turn this guy around? I thought. Were my usual techniques of patience and love going to work with this character?
Stay tuned for The Story of Max, Part II.
If you want more information on rescue horses or you want to locate a rescue near you, please check out AHomeForEveryHorse.com. Equine.com and the Active Interest Media Equine Network have joined forces with the American Horse Council’s Unwanted Horse Coalition to launch A Home for Every Horse Project.
This project helps find homes for America’s 170,000 to 200,000 horses in need of care and shelter.
Here’s how it works:
• Begin the search for your next equine partner atAHomeForEveryHorse.com. You can search horses waiting for homes at nonprofit shelters across the country. Browse by rescue horse, or find rescue organizations in your area.
• Visit the site’s “Services” section to learn about your local rescue organizations. Find out how you can volunteer, donate, or simply spread the word.
• Look for upcoming stories on EquiSearch.com related to horse rescue.
If your 501(c)(3) rescue organization would like to join the Home For Every Horse Project, call (866) 467-7323, ext. 100. Equine.com is a part of Active Interest Media Equine Network.