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Bekkidotes
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It is CRAZY how some things just happen. My boyfriend and I had been kicking around the idea of a miniature horse (which I wanted more) or a full size horse (which he wanted more) to be with our pet goats and help them eat the grass (the picky buggers have a HUGE pasture and never want any grass when there's delicious scrub around :D). But, we agreed things were a little too crazy as it was and agreed that MAYBE we would get a horse in 2-3 years unless one who really needed us fell into our laps (we fight hard to maintain our status as Mr. and Mrs. Sucker for all things animal). Enter Pretzel, the world's loneliest pony.
Sky Working animal Plant Tree Natural landscape


Plant Grass Working animal Fawn Dog breed


Pretzel had been left in a field for ten years with no friends and no human contact, only a half dozen cows who walked away from him every time he approached them. He wasn't receiving any hoof care and because of this could barely walk. Watching him try to run away from us the first time we came with treats to get him use to us was heartbreaking. My boyfriend was soil sampling Pretzel's field several days ago and asked the farmer about him. The farmer told him Pretzel had been a show pony for the first year of his life, and was won at a show by the farmer. That week, the farmer's son died tragically and the pony was put out to pasture with the cows and forgotten about. Such a sad story all around. :( The farmer wanted to put Pretzel down and end his misery, but Jeff asked him if we could have him. The farmer said if we could catch him, he was free. That night we went out with treats to try to win Pretzel over and assess the situation, and after developing a very shaky but eager-to-get-treats kind of rapport with him we left. The night after that, we drove over with a trailer, a new harness we prayed would fit, and a pony leash.

Pretzel was happy to see us (and our treats) but did NOT like the look of the scary trailer we brought. It took us two hours to get him 15 steps forward and into the trailer in a way that wouldn't traumatize him or make him distrust us. It helped that the poor, poor thing could hardly get away easily, and I found out my boyfriend Jeff is actually a horse whisperer. He fed Pretzel treats and talked gently to him until that pony who hadn't been touched for ten years actually calmly (but gingerly) let Jeff put the harness and lead on him. After that, he somewhat remembered his show pony days and let us lead him (with a little pushing from behind) up into the trailer. That was the most intense 30 minute ride home ever. We knew the poor guy's feet must be torturing him and every bump of every gravel road we drove over we were cringing. We must have stopped a million times to check on him.

Horse Liver Working animal Sorrel Fawn

Pretzel with a haircut in his dapper new harness (tags since removed)

Fortunately, all three of us made it back home drenched in nervous sweat but otherwise doing OK, and lead Pretzel into a special 16 x 16 pen with a large tree providing shelter. The vet made a house call and said some very encouraging things: Namely, that with a little TLC he should have a real shot at being a happy healthy pet for the rest of his life. Our farrier that came out was a magician, thank goodness our vet's office gave me a great referral. Both the vet and the farrier believe Pretzel is a Shetland Pony whose muscles have simply atrophied from being crippled by his hooves so long, and that his hooves and muscle tone will get so much better with good care. He is a very sweet horse and even though you can tell he is nervous when we approach, I'm amazed at how much he trusts us (and especially Jeff) given he was alone for ten whole years. It's a heartbreaking story all around, but I'm so happy he's in a good home now. Jeff orchestrated this entire rescue operation, from idea to execution to financing, and I'm so proud of him and so incredibly happy to have such a great guy who has so much compassion for anything helpless or hurt. I think Jeff and Pretzel are both keepers. :love:

Pretzel's trotters after the farrier visit
Plant Gesture People in nature Grass Grassland
Plant Leg Human body Tree Trunk


I assure you, the gross appearance was nothing compared to the gross smell. They went deep into the burn pile after our dog, Teddy, kept trying to chew on them (ack!)
Shoe Plant Smile Sky Sleeve


All in all, it's been a very happy ending to a very sad story! Pretzel will have a forever home and will have tons of happy sociable goat friends (and an equine friend someday!)
We're very happy with how it worked out and I couldn't be happier about my man (squee). :love:
 

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I cried too! You and Jeff are truly angels. Thank you from the bottom of my heart from one animal lover to another! I hope he lives many happy healthy years with you. But if he doesn't he'll die happy and loved.

I have never ever seen such horrific hoof conditions. I don't want to bash anyone, but the guy you got the pony from needs a butt whoopin. I hope he treats any other animals under his care, better then this.
 

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Bekkidotes
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You have to give that farrier kudos. To get a horse stand still for work like that and that horse hasn't been touched in ten years is just unbelievable. I would love to have that farrier nearby.
YES, he was insanely good! The pony wasn't unwilling to stand for him, but was so off balance in his hoof condition that whenever we brought one leg up to work on it he would freak out a bit. The farrier ended up having to lay him down and I have never seen anything like that. Think of the dance you do when a giant dog jumps up and you end up with both its paws in your hands, but make that dog much bigger and also a Pony.
Holy cow, was it impressive to see that. We asked him if he had ever had to do that with bigger horses and he said "Sure have, it just takes a LOT longer than that!" he was so gentle with Pretzel even while he was getting him to lay down though, and after Pretzel was lying down in the sturdy ground he was much better about have his back hooves done. That man has my respect for wrestling a horse successfully!

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Bekkidotes
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I cried too! You and Jeff are truly angels. Thank you from the bottom of my heart from one animal lover to another! I hope he lives many happy healthy years with you. But if he doesn't he'll die happy and loved.

I have never ever seen such horrific hoof conditions. I don't want to bash anyone, but the guy you got the pony from needs a butt whoopin. I hope he treats any other animals under his care, better then this.
Thank you, that is so sweet! I agree the farmer was naughty, his cattle seemed in good condition but I think he was just over his head with the pony and I also wonder if he was a little paralyzed to act because the pony reminded him so much of his son. but yes, he was still very naughty. I'm really glad the story had a happy ending, the farmer was relieved we wanted to give Pretzel a good home.

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Bekkidotes
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
He's like a new pony now. The 7 year old girl down the street is in love with him and keeps begging her parents to let her come over, she's been over 4 times in one week just to love up on him! We love having her over, she's a hoot and she loves Pretzel to pieces.
Plant Dog Dog breed Tree Carnivore
Plant Water Plant community Natural landscape Natural environment
 
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