“I began adding a balanced mineral mix, multivitamins, and MSM, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for Scout’s joints and cartilage. For several weeks, I gave him dandelion, milk thistle and red clover as liver support. He got two weeks of hawthorne, basil, ginger and turmeric to reduce inflammation and increase circulation. I added probiotics, balanced Omega 3 and 6 oils, extra antioxidants (vitamins A, E and C), and alpha lipoic acid to his diet. He got homeopathic Rhus Tox and Arnica to help combat overall soreness. To address his post-traumatic stress, I ordered two lower essences and the herbal formula System Saver from Biotrope…”
The bay and white pinto mustang wasn’t what comes to mind when one thinks of abuse or neglect. He was in good flesh and, despite some nicks and bite marks around his head and neck, appeared to be healthy under casual observation. Beneath the surface, however, he was a seething bundle of anxiety and discomfort and in dire need of some homeopathic healing.
I believe I was destined to notice the freshly posted ad at the little local store where I pick up my mail once a week. It read “For sale: six-year-old mustang gelding, rides and pulls cart, needs miles – $300.”
Wow, I thought. Now, I already have BLM mustang mares and a once-wild burrow and her daughter and, on disability, it’s hard to make ends meet. But at such a low price, I figured someone would buy this poor guy and likely run him through the auction to make a quick profit. Pictures I’d seen of Mexican slaughterhouses flashed through my mind. Besides, I hadn’t had a chance to ride since my old Morgan mare died four years ago.
I called and found out the horse was located a mere six miles away. I just had to go see him. My old pickup couldn’t make it up the incredibly steep dirt driveway, so I parked below and hiked up the hill. A very pleasant young couple lived there in an area literally carved out of the side of a cliff. They had a kennel full of happy-looking dogs and six geldings. The horses were paired up in fairly small pipe corrals because level space was at a premium. They told me they’d had Scout for only a few months. Prior to that, he’d spent most of his six years with an older fellow who trained him for riding and driving. After suffering a heart attack, the man was forced to sell his horses.
The couple felt Scout missed the man, to whom he had really bonded, and they had ridden him only twice. They paired Scout up with different horses but there was constant fighting and the pinto just wasn’t fitting in. In fact, the night before, he and another gelding had severely damaged their small pipe corral.
Scout is a big, leggy, raw-boned bay with some splashes of white, a wide blaze, and a somewhat comical pink nose. He was very responsive and obedient on the end of the lead rope, yet I could see he felt nervous and frightful. His bare feet were very overgrown and broken up. I reached out my hand to him and he gently licked my palm. Our fates were sealed! I wrote a check and the couple delivered him to me next morning.
Upon Scout’s arrival, my two usually quiet mustang mares became she-devils and went almost instantly into heat. For the first few days, I witnessed a few kicking matches and lots of posturing and squealing. Five-year-old Mariah decided it was her job to protect four-year-old Kola. Whenever Kola tried to nuzzle up to Scout, Mariah would head her away. The two mares spent a lot of time going in small circles. I figured it was just what those chubby mares needed to get them moving.
Scout’s previous caretakers said he was hard to catch. But by his second day here, I could walk up to him in the three-acre enclosure and he’d stand to be haltered. I soaked his feet, got out the Hoofjack, and gave him his first trim in probably a year. He acted the perfect gentleman and the trim revealed big, beautiful mustang feet. I began doing bodywork and found tense, painful muscles everywhere, especially in his neck. He had a history of halter-pulling, which could have caused this injury. I ran my hand into his mouth and discovered very sharp molar edges. He also had wolf teeth. With idiotic optimism, I dug out my old dental float – the one with the nice carbide head. Would I be able to do anything, working alone and with my somewhat frail 54-year-old body?
A half hour later, Scout’s upper and lower arcades were nicely smoothed – with no restraints or struggling. It was still only day two and I was madly in love. Addressing the dental issue brought an end to his yawning. The sharp teeth had probably been setting off temporal-mandibular pain. A complete dental re-balance, which unlocked his TMJ, would come later.
I continued with daily massage and T-Touch. I called a wonderful semi-retired veterinarian/human chiropractor who lives in our area. He came out a week later and did a full adjustment from head to tail. He also did acupuncture in an area of Scout’s neck where he found old scar tissue. While he didn’t ind any one huge problem area, he said Scout would soon have fallen apart without intervention.
For the following month, I used a shotgun approach to Scout’s healing. He had been fed alfalfa before but I now feed him Bermuda grass hay. I began adding a balanced mineral mix, multivitamins, and MSM, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for his joints and cartilage. For several weeks, I gave him dandelion, milk thistle and red clover as liver support. He got two weeks of hawthorne, basil, ginger and turmeric to reduce inflammation and increase circulation. On top of that, I added probiotics, balanced Omega 3 and 6 oils, extra antioxidants (vitamins A, E and C), and alpha lipoic acid to his diet.
Daily bodywork was definitely helping – especially finger and leg circles, armpit massage, and gum and lip massage, which he absolutely loves. For a few weeks, Scout also got homeopathic Rhus Tox and Arnica to help combat overall soreness. To address his apparent post-traumatic stress, I ordered two lower essences and the herbal formula System Saver from Biotrope.
At first, Scout seemed surprised to be haltered and then receive pampering, instead of having work demanded of him. He finds ways to show his appreciation. Sometimes when I’m stretching in the corral, Scout will come up behind me and gently rest his chin on my shoulder.
Five weeks after Scout’s arrival, I thought we were both ready to do a little riding. I had taken a four year hiatus from riding due to the death of my saddle horse and my own health. When I first went to mount Scout, we were both apprehensive. He had to get used to my climbing on an overturned feeder in order to get into the saddle. After several short rides in the small corral, he calmed down a lot. I was thrilled to view the world again from between a horse’s ears. Scout was a bit barn sour when I first asked him to leave the corral. No wonder, when he had four bossy females whinnying and braying to him! Once out of the corral, he moved out beautifully. He has a level back and is not too wide. My three saddles it him like gloves. In his Bitless Bridle, he no longer has a metal bit bumping into his wolf teeth. I am absolutely thrilled with his fast walk and springy, reachy trot. He actually has some knee action, which is genetic in some mustangs due to generations of having to negotiate rocky, uneven terrain. He is soft, responsive, sensitive and energetic. On our seventh ride, I got up the nerve to ask for a canter. His depart was smooth and his long strides really ate up the ground. He then willingly came back into a walk. Scout’s story shows how a horse can pass from a good owner to someone who is well-meaning, but perhaps lacking knowledge and understanding. Unforeseen human circumstances may cause a horse to end up in a less than perfect situation. It only takes one sale to decide a horse’s fate forever.
Scout and I were blessed to ind each other. He has a permanent home with me, and should he outlive me, he will move on to a wonderful wild horse sanctuary. As for me, I have loved horses, especially pintos, since my childhood days of watching westerns on TV. I’ve had my own horses for 32 years now, but never the spotted pony of my dreams. How happy I am to now share my days with this handsome, affectionate and grateful fellow, who whinnies to me whenever I walk out the front door.
Many thanks to Catherine Ritlaw of Kingman, Arizona for sharing her inspiring story about Scout. What a blessing for you both!