By Guest Blogger Suzanne Minter
Suzanne is a LOPE volunteer and adopted Watson through our program. She is fostering City Ordinance at Sugar Land Stables in Sugar Land, TX
I’m going to start with a brief snapshot of typical stats on City Ordinance. He is a seven-year-old gelding who raced thirty-nine times and won almost $75,000 before retiring last September. He stands at around 16.1H, and is a gorgeous bright bay with a crescent moon on his forehead. Just a few days after he arrived at Sugar Land Stables in February, we all agreed his barn name should be “Sheldon” (yes, after the character in The Big Bang Theory). The name suits him so well! He is so smart and sweet, but is such a dork sometimes (in the most lovable way). Sheldon retired with a bowed tendon. He had his rest period, and over the past two months we’ve been doing careful groundwork to finish his rehab.
To make sure he was slowly re-introduced to work (mentally and physically), I have spent much time on general ground manners. Sheldon is such a pleasure to work with and be around in the barn. He leads, ties, cross-ties, bathes, loads, stands for the farrier, and loves a good grooming! Sheldon does not try to rush out of his stall or push past the wheelbarrow when I clean his stall. He stands well to be fly sprayed, and I dewormed him out in the paddock without a halter on. He’s easy to catch and halter in a stall or a turnout. He stands nicely to be tacked up and doesn’t even make a face when the girth is tightened.With more time and work, he will be a great horse for many disciplines. He is as athletic as they come, and is a fancy mover! He isn’t spooky, and seems to have a good head on his shoulders. Whoever adopts this boy will be a lucky person, indeed! He is going to make someone a great partner full of love and with a sense of humor as well. He is a barn favorite!
When Sheldon first came, he very much had the mindset of an athlete. He was very no-nonsense and business-like. He didn’t really know how to be a pet. My, how things have changed! He’s really starting to mellow out, and loves a good cuddle (though he is not pushy or nippy!). His favorite thing to do is put his chin on my shoulder and rest it there for a few minutes.
Sheldon seemed to know from the beginning that the round pen and arena are where we go to work…which made him very grouchy, at first. It took him a while to figure out that my idea of work is much different than the racing life. I think that since he spent his first several months off the track on stall rest, his “let-down” period really began when he got here. We began with short sessions which ended as soon as he found a place to relax. He is now working on the lunge line with a saddle on, and is ready to start with mounting/unmounting. He really likes to do flexion and yielding exercises (like stepping the hindquarters over)…they put him in a happy place. He’s a very intelligent and a fast learner.
Sheldon is a clever boy, and he really likes to please. At this time, I do feel he needs an experienced, relaxed handler who can be a leader for him. While he is friendly with everyone, I think Sheldon is hoping for someone to deeply bond with (he and I love each other, but I tell him all the time I already have a horse and can’t get another…no matter how cute he is!). With more time and work, he will be a great horse for many disciplines. He is as athletic as they come, and is a fancy mover! He isn’t spooky, and seems to have a good head on his shoulders. Whoever adopts this boy will be a lucky person, indeed! He is going to make someone a great partner full of love and with a sense of humor as well. He is a barn favorite!