Cloud is just one of over 40 horses assisted by Mattie's Legacy Fund!
For the past 2 months, I wanted to add an older horse to my very young herd, but had not searched at all. My intuition told me the right horse would come to me. So, when I saw your urgent email to find a home for Cloud and saw his picture, I knew he was it! Within the 1st hour of Cloud being on my farm, I was celebrating the fact of becoming a foster failure!
Since Cloud's arrival exactly 5 weeks ago, he's grown and changed in many ways.
First, his body has changed. His teeth had not been floated in at least 2 yrs (as estimated by my vet) so he had ulcers inside his mouth from the severe points on all arcades and a bottom tooth which was just sitting in the pocket. When this was lifted out (not connected anymore), a terrible stench came out and Cloud relaxed. Barely eating a flake of hay a day before because of his painful mouth, he now eats normal amounts.
His stools are also getting larger and larger. Cloud shows some mild signs of Cushings disease so I immediately took him off the sugary sweet feed. (None of my horses get grain so he doesn't feel left out). Cloud has been eating lots of free choice minerals, but in the last week his body is balancing. His coat is also changing and the crack in his one hoof is already growing out.
Cloudy came to us quite out of shape so each day he and I walk up and down the steep hill several times to strengthen his stifles and back. The walking is just as good for me as I can use some toning too! The many hills in our pastures along with the fact that his 3yr old and 6 yr old brothers constantly encourage movement and play!
Until last week, Cloud was quite unconfident. Until then, all of our sessions focused on building his confidence and trust in me as a leader. He used to walk ahead of me leading and not stop with me at all. Also, he'd get quite upset when separated from his foster brothers and even more so when they were out of sight so we worked on lots of thresholds and approach and retreat exercises. More than anything, I just gave him undemanding time each evening, where I would stand in the paddock with him while he ate hay, just doing nothing. In the 3rd week, he finally realized that not all people just want to jump on and ride. Now, he chooses to stand with his nose on my shoulder, sniffing my hair for several minutes instead of eat hay.
Our confidence building exercises made a breakthrough last Wed! Before then, he would only load onto the trailer if someone lead him on. Then, we had an amazing groundwork session, he walked on a bridge and with a gentle point towards the trailer, Cloud self-loaded! Since that session, he is totally glued to me, walking right at my shoulder and going anywhere calmly. His attachment and trust is now with me, not the herd or the barn! We then took our first trail ride for about 40 minutes.
This ride was only my 5th ride on him. Cloud was FANTASTIC!! We crossed a stream, walked up a steep hill with a fox and deer running across the field at dusk. Instead of spooking, Cloud stopped and looked to me for leadership! Very rewarding. Cloud was REALLY moving out at all gaits, not because he was scared, but because he was SO SO SO happy! We went through all the gates, he even offered a short gallop, which I took, but then brought him back down.
We've only ridden in a rope halter, no bits. I spent our first 4 riding sessions teaching Cloud one rein stops and to change gaits with my seat, not reins. So, when Cloud offered to gallop, I simply lifted one rein and he calmly came down to a halt and stood for several minutes with the reins draped on his neck.
Being a 25yr old Arabian, his energy level is still a great match with my youngsters! Cloud has a lot to teach me and I to teach him as well. With all the progress we've made over 5 weeks, I can't wait to share our progress with you over the months and years to come! Cloud has found his last home!
Thank you for connecting our lives and spirits,
Amy & Cloud
PS- The attached picture will allow you to see all the back muscle he's put on as well as a picture of Cloud with his brothers (Epoch was getting quite bored being asked to stand still for their picture!)