Gladys is a Standardbred mare that TREW Treasurer, Tanya, has been working with for a number of months. Recently Gladys reached the point where she really needed much more regular one on one work in order to firmly resolve her behavioural issues. Treatment for Gladys’ hooves, among other health issues, has been slow given the difficulties involved with coordinating specialist visits at a remote location.
The decision was made, with the consent of Harry, Gladys’ owner, to move her to Tanya’s property temporarily where she can receive the care she needs and the handling required, to resolve these problems.
Gladys has been “relocated” to Tanya’s where she has settled well and is already benefiting from the additional handling and equine company. Gladys has since been surrendered to TREW by her owner who feels that she would be better off in a more experienced home. Gladys will be re-homed by TREW on a life-time free lease.
We believe that Gladys’ issues are temporary in nature and have resulted from years of neglect by previous owners. She is a quick learner who genuinely seems to enjoy being around people, but due to being unhandled for so long she will require an experienced handler to continue her training.
Harry purchased the property from Gladys’ previous owners who took Gladys’ gelding companion with them when they moved. They offered to shoot Gladys on the spot because they didn’t want to take her with them.
Harry, being a kind-hearted man, didn’t allow them to do this, so found himself the owner of an abandoned and largely unhandled horse.
Tanya arranged to visit Gladys and her owner after hearing about them through a local animal re-homing service. The visit enabled her to get the full story of how this horse came to be in this situation. None of the family has any experience with horses and while they really like the horse, they just wanted to do what was best by the mare.
Gladys stands about 16-16.2hh and was apparently training to race, but fractured her pelvis and has been turned out in the paddock ever since with no care or handling whatsoever. She also had a nasty wound on her back leg which was obviously never treated properly given the way it has healed.
Neighbours of the property told us that they believe she is 5-6yo. During the initial visit, it was found that her condition was not bad, with ribs just barely visible. Harry had managed to put a bit of weight on her, and has continued to do so very slowly, however her teeth obviously need doing as well as she drops a lot from her mouth when eating and struggles a bit to chew.
Due to the neglected state of her hooves, Gladys was lame, so the priority was to get some relief for the poor girl. Being in a fairly large paddock with no real yard facilities on the property, this was the first challenge. TREW’s portable yards were taken up there and it was agreed that Harry would feed her in the years each day to get her used to them. With the help of Leigh Wren, the local vet and Tanya’s trimmer, a few days later Gladys was sedated and her feet were looked at up close. Even under sedation she was trying to lash out, such is her fear of people handing her feet. It was not a huge success but some trimming did get done.
Late February – Floating Lessons
Today Gladys was moved to Tanya’s property. This was only her third floating session, and it’s not an easy trip even for a seasoned traveller, given the windy, dirt roads, low tree branches scraping the float and tight, steep driveways! Gladys took it all very well, and many thanks again to Wrangler Jayne and her student Steph for their assistance.
19 March 2010 – Dentist day
Given Gladys’ relatively unknown history, age, trust issues and length of time since last treatment, the dentist, David Martin, requested a vet be present to sedate Gladys on this occasion. The vet only gave her quite a small dose and that did the job. Gladys had some fairly sharp ridges along her molars which were causing discomfort to the gums, and a couple of small sharp points on the front molars. So, all is now good with her teeth.
Now for the all-important age question. As determined by some of our Standardbred loving TREW Members the fact that the brand on Gladys’ is a single line only, that would indicate that she is over 20 years old as single line brands have not been done in that fashion since the mid 1980’s.
David had no hesitation in definitively aging her between 7-9 years old, and he said definitely not in her 20’s. That would mean her brand is just plain wrong or incomplete, and the story that Harry’s neighbours gave him would be about right.
23 March, 2010
Gladys has high standards when it comes to food. Lately she has been showing no interest in eating hay at all, preferring the pasture and two hard feeds a day. Rather than see a couple of untouched biscuits sit in Gladys feed bin, I tossed them over the fence for my own animals, who would never say no to bonus food. No sooner did I do so than Gladys looked at me as if to say “where’s mine?” She wandered between the fence, watching the others with envy, back to where her hay had been, and then giving me that look again. It was priceless!
Gladys has been getting plenty of practice picking up hooves, leading on a loose rein, forequarter and hindquarter yields, as well as continuing to receive plenty of scratches and attention. She will now stand calmly at liberty while having her back hooves picked up and cleaned out……a fabulous achievement given the behaviour of the early days.
Gladys appeared to be getting a little bored in her own paddock, so she was introduced into the paddock with Rosie, Pepper and Dommy the Donkey, who had previously been her “over the fence” buddies. What a successful move it has been. Gladys has slotted straight into second-in-charge (no one challenges Rosie!), although Pepper tries the odd act of defiance here and there.
Unfortunately, Gladys’ interim owner has decided he is not confident enough that he can provide the proper care and ongoing handling that she needs. We thank Harry for his honesty and know this was a difficult decision, as he had grown very fond of her.
Gladys continues to progress well. She showed just how much her trust and confidence has grown when she allowed Tanya to approach and sit next to her as she enjoyed a midday lie down. So comfortable was she, that she started to doze off, dropping her nose into Tanya’s lap. It was a beautiful moment.
The wet weather and short days has put a hold on things. The herd are so over the mud, and the mud is all over them!! Gladys seems to struggle with the mud more so than the others, perhaps due to her old pelvic injury. Some old carpet laid in the worst muddy areas provides a bit of relief, but Gladys and Pepper certainly enjoyed a stint of a few days in the neighbours’ virtually mud-free paddock. Most amusing to see Gladys take off for a hoon with Pepper in tow.
Unfortunately, Gladys has developed some pretty serious seedy toe in both front hooves, but not really surprising given the conditions. Hopefully, once this issue is resolved and the hoof has grown out, we will be able to put Gladys up for adoption.
Gladys continues to blossom as her confidence and trust strengthens by the day. Although she has now long been enjoying receiving scratches and cuddles, she seemed to find a new level a few months ago, when she realised if she follows closely behind me as I walk away, I will be sucked in by those deep dark eyes, and provide more scratches!
As with many areas in Victoria, we have been experiencing some amazing rainfall this year, and it is still continuing into early summer. Gladys isn’t one for taking shelter in the rain, and can be seen continuing to graze beside my pony, Pepper, while the two of them get drenched. Mostly, the temperature has been warm enough for this not to be a problem, and I watch as heavy steam rises off their warm backs.
However, on a few occasions the rain has been accompanied by a temperature drop, and it was clear that having lost all her winter coat, Gladys was in need of a rain sheet.
Thanks to a recent generous donation of new rugs, we had one that seemed to be a good fit. Despite an initial wariness and a number of backwards steps as I first approached with the rug, I’m please to say she required very little desensitization, and is now very accepting of having it fitted and removed.
Gladys had an unfortunate run with abscesses this winter, but due to her love of attention she handled the daily treatment like a pro.
The near fore, where she suffered two abscesses in quick succession back in July/August, have now grown halfway down the hoof leaving narrow gaps around 5-7cm in length. These have left a cavity inside the hoof wall, above which seems to be growing back just fine, but the concern in the wet, humid weather is, of course, seedy toe bacteria.
Currently, I am treating this daily and providing very regular trims. On the plus side, the extra practice of having her hooves picked up so often has been doing wonders!
September Update – Great News for Gladys
Gladys has finally found her forever home with her carer Tanya. Over the many months of hard work dealing with issues from general handling to huge abscesses this loving Standardbred mare has worked her way into Tanya’s heart.
Thank you Tanya for all the time and effort you have put into Gladys during her rehabilitation. It’s been a long journey and we could not think of a better home for this mare.
March 2012 – Gladys Update
Gladys continues to live life on easy street, where the most that is ever asked of her is to lift a hoof now and then!
It has now been a considerable amount of time since we saw the end of her hoof issues, and I am pleased to report that she has continued to remain sound.
It gives me great joy to see her run, buck and play with the rest of the herd, or just kick up her heels in excited anticipation of dinner.
Throughout summer, Gladys has been Rosie’s shadow, standing at her rear for no other reason than to make maximum use of Rosie’s fly-swatting tail. Gladys seems to be the type of horse that really needs a leader, and it makes me wonder just how hard it was for her when she was abandoned and her only paddock mate taken from her.
Gladys never misses an opportunity to request a scratch, and never fails to show her appreciation with a delightful facial expression, quivering bottom lip, or contorted extension of the neck!