"Nope" I replied, "I am in over my head, I just can Not take on another horse!" I really was trying to cut back. But two days later, when his daughter had a lesson, Bruno insisted on showing me a video he had taken of the horse. It showed a thin chestnut paint horse with Very kind eyes and the most messed up feet I had ever seen. He was literally walking on the SIDE of his right hind. His front feet were easily 10 inches long, but at least they were still standing upright. The hinds had him almost walking on his inside ankles.
"Fine" I relented. " I can pick him up on Tuesday at the soonest". Bruno made some calls - The man giving the horse away didn't want me to come to his place -but he agreed to let Bruno use his trailer to pick up the horse. "I won't take him without a signed transfer of ownership - I do NOT want to put a year or more into saving this horse and then have this guy show up claiming the horse is his and he wants him back" It took some negotiation, but eventually, the man agreed and Bruno wasted no time snatching the horse out of his tiny and dirty corral and bringing him to me.
Chief was fairly cooperative, but it was difficult for him to stand still and nearly impossible to support himself on 3 legs. We just kept chopping away until the first chunk came off. By then it was dark. Luckily, i knew Annette Popovich, my barefoot trimmer, would be at Sweetwater the next day. Still getting rid of any of it was a step in the right direction.
Little by little his feet got more normal and he was able to walk without a pronounced limp.
Within a month his feet looked almost normal. Jack added to his name - calling him Chief Littlefoot!
He should have annual follow ups, but that is true of any horse.
He was a bit resistant to ride. He tried being gate sour and sometimes would get bunched up and tense. But little by little he started to trust us. He didn't really want to fight, but he was expecting the worst.
By July, he was strong and going out on trails. I have even started letting students ride him. I have been schooling him in the ring, but it is not his favorite thing. He struggles with the left lead, and in fact, the first time I insisted that he get that lead, he gave his first and only buck!
On trails, he has proven himself to be calm and easy going. I think that is all I want him to have to do. Just be a happy trail horse.
So, in the end, I am glad I didn't say No too many times to taking on this rescue horse. He deserved another chance at life - and now he has it.