(i can send you more pictures on request)
I have a 14 yr old TWH gelding named Luke. He's 15 hh and utd on shots, farrier, and wormers. He is one of my rescues that I took in about 4 months ago. He has the gentlest heart of any horse I've met. There is NO bite, buck, kick, or rear. He also has never shown any aggression towards other animals and is always the submissive one in the pasture. He isn't pushy and goes out of his way to make sure he doesn't step on you or bump into you.... (read more) He comes when he's called, loves attention, and is lovey and sweet right back. He is a horse who heavily bonds to his rider/handler. Luke comes with a story so PLEASE read to the end.
I got him from a lady in the upstate. He had been very heavily sedated when she rode him. The next day, she couldn't get anywhere near him and he wouldn't even come to food. When I got there, he had to be chased into a round pen before I could get him. He was terrified of me on the ground and in the saddle. There was no hint of bucking or rearing, he was just in a blind panic trying to escape. It turns out, he had been beaten most of his life. Luke came off of the show circuit and they tried to force him into a high stepping walk with shoes, chains, whips, and cruelty. They used fear to try to make him look "pretty and showy" and then they drugged him and threw him away when they were done.
He was so scared that when I put a handful of food up to his lips, he just stood there shivering. It took me 5 hours the first day to convince him to approach me. If I so much as lifted my hand to scratch my nose, he would jump and run away for fear that he was about to be beaten again. His biggest trigger was the lead rope because they had used it to hit him in the face.There are also abuse marks on his hindquarters where they would whip him to try to make him reach farther from behind to gait more dramatically and a scar on his shoulder where his saddle rubbed him till he bled. Based on how he reacted to some of the tests I put him through, I believe he was also beaten with sticks on his front legs to try to make him throw them out farther at the walk. All of this said, even at his most terrified, he made sure not to step on me or bump into me. He's very conscientious about your personal space.
It has taken me hours every day for months to undo the damage both physically and mentally. He was starving and infested with worms. i can email you a picture of exactly what he looked like when I got him home. He has had such a long journey and I am so proud of how far he has come. He's been more willing to forgive than any horse I've ever met and is one of the few that is willing to think through his fears. Now, I treat him the same as any other horse I have. He loves affection and if he encounters something that scares him he actually waits for me touch him with it so that he can relax and get over it. These relapses get less dramatic and farther apart as time passes (about once every two weeks now). Now, once he's touched with whatever triggered it, he'll audibly exhale, close his eyes, and wrap his neck around you to say thanks. It's the closest thing to a hug I've seen a horse do. Oddly enough, most of the things that bother horses don't even phase him.
He trailers like a champ and will wander into the trailer on his own if I leave the door open. He's not head shy at all. Water hoses don't bother him at all. I just put it on jet and spray him like an SUV. He doesn't mind fly spray and I don't even tie him when I give him his shots. He doesn't try to avoid the wormer medicine or even spit it out. He stands perfectly for the farrier and will sometimes pick his feet up and hand them up to you. Tarps don't spook him at all; he'll stomp right over them without a second thought. He takes the bit perfectly, stays level, and drops his head into the bridle. He's not sensitive about tightening the girth either.
After the first time I rode him, I didn't get on again until about a month and a half of trust building exercises. It was a night and day difference. He was nervous, but he never panicked and never went faster than a walk. Now, I jump on and go like I would any other horse.
He is great on trails. I've never had him spook. I took him down a dirt road with dogs barking and growling all around him and he didn't jump or even speed up. He is completely unphased by ditches and cars. He'll plow through any amount of underbrush (some has been so thick, I couldn't get through it or even see over it). He's nervous about slick mud but water doesn't seem to bother him much. Just to clarify what I mean by "nervous", he hesitated once he felt his feet slipping and tried to turn around. When I didn't let him turn, he faced it for a while and then plunged in. He is very forward moving and doesn't require any nagging from your feet. Just face him in the direction that you want him to go and he will work through it on his own.
When I got him, his feet where trimmed like a quarter horse and he had too much muscular atrophy to do his gait at all. Now, the angles on his feet are right but they haven't quite grown out as much as they need to be. He is gaited, but it's taxing on him and he needs to be built back up to it slowly. He also doesn't need to be shod. He's still initially shy around new people but this fades in minutes.
His steering is fantastic. He'll turn on a dime and is very sensitive to saddle and verbal cues.
Although he is very gentle, I have to recommend him for a rider with some experience just because he needs to pull his confidence from you, not the other way around. He needs someone who is calm, gentle, and quiet. He is the only horse that I can genuinely say needs NO discipline whatsoever. Once he know what you want, he wants to do it. He just needs love, patience, and most importantly, trust. The amount of progress he's made in the last few months in incredible and he's still improving.
He will only go to a home that I think is suitable for him. If you're reasonably close at all, I'd be more than happy to come out and work with the both of you, should you decide to get him. I want him to have as smooth a transition as possible. Please call if you have any questions at all. Thank you. 843-729-2903
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