When we first saw Jewel in the feed lot, we had a strong sense that she was on her last day. She was standing tied outside to a fence, with a huge gash on her front leg – likely due to her foot getting caught in the fence and then pulled back abruptly. The gash was 18 inches long and 4 inches wide... it was terrible. Since horses going to slaughter are not allowed to have Bute (pain medication), we knew she was in terrible pain standing alone, suffering in the heat. The man running the feed lot recommended we put transmission fluid on it, which was his plan for her later that day. We believed she would likely be on the next truck to the slaughterhouse, potentially even that night.
We weren't sure she could be saved, but we felt we had to give her a fighting chance. Later that night, after the long drive home, our vet wasn't sure that her injury would be "compatible with life." But, we were committed to do all we could to help Jewel recover.
After six months of medical treatment, with bandage changes every 3 days, and living in constant fear of "proudflesh," Jewel's leg injury was finally healed! We never imagined we'd see only a small, thin line as the only scar left on her leg.
However, even after a year and a half, the mental issues that Jewel was dealing with prevailed. She had been a beach horse and was not friendly or willing to put up with much. Her stink eye became legendary. She has had many herbal treatments, alternative therapies, and time in training, and continued to struggle with trusting people and has struggled with bouts of lameness. But again, we have continued to work with her to rehabilitate her.
We are pleased that as of summer 2016, she was back in training consistently and has made great progress with manners and respecting space. She is standing politely while being groomed and is doing better on the lead. She has accepted the saddle and bridle with no drama, and in October 2016 we started riding her! She has a way to go, but she is starting to trust her volunteers and is letting us see the sweet girl behind her frustration and longing to be loved.
In November 2016, a senior trainer started working with her. She needs lots of support and reassurance, still, we are committed to do all we can for Jewel, in the hopes that she can continue to find health and healing. We are taking it slow with her to help her re-learn in a more positive way.
As of February 2017, she has come so far! She is learning to trust and has started accepting groundwork with a much better attitude.
April 2017 update: We continue to ride Jewel more and she is doing well. She's still a bit hesitant and stiff under saddle, but her attitude and willingness to work are so much better. She does best with the people she trusts, but even in her day-to-day interactions around the barn she is so much more friendly and happy. She's building up her stamina and she just keeps getting better and better. She still has a way to go before she'll be a reliable riding horse, but we are really hopeful for her future. She'd be a great project at this point for a confident person with solid skills. Those who get to know Jewel really love her.
July 2017 update: Jewel had been making progress in the spring, but in early summer her attitude had some setbacks. Her cranky attitude started coming back and she regressed a bit with groundwork and riding, so we cut back the intensity of her training and focused on manners and groundwork. She is a bigger horse and her top line is weak, so we believe that she suffered as a beach horse with riders heavier than she could handle and she is fearful of returning to that pain. She had learned her pushiness and stink eye can get her a day off. So, we have changed up her training a bit, focusing on groundwork to build more strength and get her manners back. She is an alpha mare and she needs a confident handler. We are focusing more on getting her in shape before we slowly put a rider back on her.
Dec 2017: Jewel is doing well under saddle and is getting better and better at cantering. She still has some cranky days with groundwork, but is doing better and better with her attitude.
June 2018: Jewel was getting ready for her first shows when she started limping. She currently has a fusion issue with one foot. We are hoping surgery is not required and are working on her medical situation. She is currently not doing groundwork or riding and seems to be getting stronger. We hope we can get back to her progress.
Sept 2018: The fusion issue in her foot did not require surgery and letting her rest has enabled it to heal, but our vet recommended it would be best that she not be ridden, so we've retired her.
Fall 2018: Jewel has been doing well out to pasture with Kennedy Rose & Justice, happy to be retired, free to just rest & graze. Her sweet & trusting personality seem to have benefitted as well from her new status as a "retiree"--she's always happy to see her humans, follows them around the paddock & gently nuzzles at all pockets for potential treats or carrots. She's in need of her forever home as an awesome companion/pasture pet! Gallery: