The Horse Physio - Delivering care with expertise since 1992

8.3.2021 Rescue to Driving: Journey of a Shetland Pony

“Well, if you won’t take him, he’s going to the factory next week”. So was my introduction to a 2yo Shetland, penned in a corner of a cowshed by 2 gates for 18 months.

He’d never had a hand on him, other than the odd whack on the backside to usher him from one space to another. A couple of hours twice a week in a field for a run around. Fed silage and cow meal. I agreed to handle him so the owner could sell him on. Or give him to a good home. I was happy hacking my 17hh Irish Sports Horse and had no desire to start worrying about the well-being of a feral Shetland pony.

It took me two weeks and endless fruitless miles of walking round the cowshed, before the owner and The Husband pinned him in a corner with a gate which I stood on, to get a head collar on. It took another week and several bags of chopped carrots and apples to stroke him with a brush without him pulling away.

The first blip was finding damage to his lower right eyelid which I thought was a lump, but turned out to be a roll of flesh, probably as a result of tearing himself on barbed wire. Because of the difference in his reactions to me working on his left compared to right side, I thought he may have sight issues. In all conscience, I told the owner, I couldn’t face someone being injured by a potentially half blind pony that I had committed to handling. I would take him.

Rule One: One foot on the path commits you to the journey!

© Sue Palmer, The Horse Physio 2021

Treating your horse with care, connection, curiosity and compassion

March 8, 2021
Sue Palmer