“Jed vs. the Sling, Round One”, 11/10/11

Jed was trimmed today, and the sling was added to our experience. Big step! This sling was designed to lift horses, and in it’s previous use, was used to lift a horse just enough to allow him to ‘lean’ into it and lift his feet. We hoped to do the same with Jed. He was very calm with the sling and the chest support, he enjoys being handled. Before today, Jed had gotten to try on the gear, and it’s likely similar enough to previous harnesses he had worn in his prior life. So into the sling he went, ropes went over the main beams, and Jed was hoisted. A tiny bit. Tight ropes were tied off, with the sling snug under Jed’s belly. Alas, Jed is huge, and it was not possible to actually lift him entirely. The hope was the Jed would lean into the support, but he didn’t understand. I tried lifting his feet. A week ago, Jed had been positively perky, trotting some in his field, lively and active. But in the two days before this trim, it was clear that Jed was entering into some pain again. So although I asked Jed to lift his foot, and I knew he understood, he could not. It was too painful. None of us wanted to push him. We did experiment with the sling, and we did trim him from above, like previous trims.
It was determined that we need a pulley system and heavier ropes to get enough strength and leverage to literally pick him up.
I don’t know how much progress we will gain by getting to the underside of his feet, but it’s all we’ve got. Certainly we could pursue some other possible solutions. New parts have been ordered, new attempts will be made.
Stay tuned.

“Jed FIX!!!”, 10/30/11

What’s that, you say? You’re missing your Jed fix?
Tis true, we’ve been lax about posting and we hope to make it up to you. We’ve been busy with a run of owner surrenders, near death experiences, and major fund drives; the usual these days!
When last we posted about Jed, we had acquired the new sling for improved hoof care. Said sling has arrived and is wonderful. Our beams, however, were not up to the task. So reinforcement had to happen and is now about ready to try. IN the meantime, Jed has been wearing some odd items to help prepare him, including his very silly (and quite handy) spotted fly sheet, as well as a halter with blinders (homemade) AND the bareback pad. He took the cinching without a backward glance. I WILL snap a photo the next time, as it looked like a postage stamp on his big ole Jedi drafty body.

Also in the meantime, Jed has been feelin’ gooooood. He has taken up residence in the tack room/former stall/ now Jed stall, which is adjacent to the paint bands run in. He hangs his head over and talks a bit to the others. One morning, I guess his two bale a day ration wasn’t enough, and he broke into the main hay storage, where he made a big hay mess and had a ball. No harm, no foul, it’s difficult to ever be angry at his happy face.

I have tried to encourage grooming with Rhett, over the wall, but Jed isn’t taking to it yet. Hard to say if his physical ailments are behind his hesitation, or if he was unsocialized. We will continue these efforts, eventually we will unlock the key to Jed’s social life.

Jed is moving very well, we are so encouraged by his latest x-rays and by the happy expression he wears almost constantly. Next step, putting the sling into action and taking his hoofcare to the next level.

Here’s Jed after our first snowstorm of the season.

“Friends?”, 10/11/11

I really think that Jed was not socialized before coming to RF. He is just so awkward with other horses. He spends his days now hanging out by the edge of the manger, watching the other horses. Today, Rhett was near him, both leaning over the stall wall, and I scratched them both to encourage them to groom together. Rhett was all for it, and reached over to groom Jed, but Jed in turn nipped him. This isn’t the first time that a gentle gesture by another horse has been met with confused and defensive behaviour from him. He does seem to want horse interaction, he just doesn’t seem to know how.
This afternoon he was loose with the paint band in a small field. He seemed to enjoy being around them, and comfortable enough not to kick or leave. They are basically a nice band and they can see how big he is! I hope they continue to give him a chance. I hope that by winter, as his feet improve, his horse skills will improve as well.