Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Here is Spencer doing what he does best. Eating!

He eats more than nearly all my other horses combined. I separate him usually from the rest the herd so he can eat in peace, (this is not where he lives, it's a paddock where he can eat hay (by the wheelbarrow load) and back out he goes on the 8 acre field or the 3 acre field we use to give the main pasture a rest for a few days. He doesn't live on dirt as some have suggested on another blog (fugly) that recently linked to this one.

By the way, thank you Kathy for your kind words. I appreciate what you said and that you linked to Spencer and regenerated some interest in him. I've just had a lot on my plate lately. On my main blog, I share a story about a recent injury that Spencer inflicted on me and well, I feel pretty lucky to be sitting here typing and lying not in a vegetative state in the hospital right now.

While we are on the subject of drafts, I'd really like to know why it seems okay to lop the tail bones of young draft show horses and it's still happening although few drafts are being used for farming as in the old days. I think cutting the end of a horse's spine (the tailbone) is one of the cruelist acts man carries out on horses, yet, we don't hear much about it. I'm so glad it wasn't done to Spencer. At least he didn't have to go through that horrific process.

Spencer's front feet have been trimmed a few times now and he's really maintaining all four of his feet pretty well. He ruptured a huge abscess out of one front foot a few months ago and that has finally grown out enough to snap the dead wall off. You'd have to know how abscesses progress to know what I mean by that, but suffice to say, he's growing out new hooves.

His weight is looking better I think. He dropped some weight after he came here. At which time he was gelded, and spent a couple months recovering from that, and he had his teeth floated by an Equine Dentist. Both procedures combined totaled just under $1000. Free horses? No such thing.

I believe that he lost some weight for those reasons and because after he was gelded, we pastured him with other horses. He became part of a herd for the first time in his life and he was/is constantly on the move. Also good for his feet!

Prior to coming here, he was always alone and had no reason to move around much so it was easier to keep his weight on, plus he was a bulked up muscled stallion. That all makes a huge difference I think.

I personally don't like draft horses to look like plow horses so I don't like to see him overweight like so many of them are. Especially if it's a draft a person plans on riding. Which I really hope to do someday. Would I like to see him carrying more weight than he is now? Yes, I would, as well as some muscling on his hind quarters, but we are working on that and he's still a young guy, so no rush really.

Do drafts necessarily eat more than an average horse? Probably not in all cases, but in his case, yes! Absolutely. And he probably will until he gets to a weight he can maintain. Yes, he get dewormed and vaccinated regularly.

His feet have been a very slow process, mainly due to a lack of time to commit to him lately, but we have been trimming his fronts.

Keep in mind please, that the trims that I've done on his feet are the first trims he's ever had done. His gone through 6 years of life with his hooves completely untouched. I've had him for his 7th year and have focused mainly on rehabbing his personality so I can get to his feet to help him and I'm getting criticized (by those commenting on fugly) for not going fast enough? That's ironic.

I have 16 other equines and a full time profession and horses that come and go here that I work with rehabbing their feet - see for an example of that. We also just wrapped up filming of my DVD - Basic Barefoot Trimming. Look for it to come out in the next few months.

I wish I had more time for him, but I don't feel too guilty as he's happier here than he's ever been in his life. He's a friendly, good boy now. Not a big, dangerous, mean-spirited draft stallion whose life was about to be terminated.

If anyone who believes they can do better with his feet than I have, you are more than welcome to come work with him as long as you do not abuse him in any way, and see if you can do better.

I welcome the help. Just keep in mind, he's adept at launching a kick with his hind leg the length of his body and he does it with as much force as a truck speeding along at about 80 miles an hour.

Am I exaggerating? Does it matter? Any takers?

I want to express my sincere gratitude to those of you who haven't passed judgement on my care of Spencer, but rather, have been nothing but supportive. You are all awesome!



Jen said...

I am so impressed with everything that you have done with Spencer! Don't let these ridiculous detractors get you down. It is obvious that Spencer is happy and well-loved and not many people would be willing to do what you have done for him. Great job!

Sydney said...

Some of the posters on fugly are morons. They have no clue what they are talking about and just want someone to flame.
I bet NONE of them have ever taken on a 6 year old untrained draft horse let alone a 6 year old totally unhandled one. Thats just stupid. Your doing a wonderful job.

firecoach said...

When I opened the Fugly Blog and saw that Cathy was talking about Spencer, I thought oh no here it goes again for poor Pat, I remember the stress that it caused last time when you first got him. Taking on a rank stud draft has got to be a challenge. I think that Spencer has come a long way and he looks great. I know what a struggle it can be to deal with a half draft, I am not brave enough to deal with a full draft. My husband and I went to the Draft Horse Festival in Sandpoint last weekend. As we looked at all the beautiful draft horses, I pointed out to my husband that they all have help. No one was just a husband and wife taking care of the horses. However, we will not mention the hooves, but then I am a barefoot person though and through.
I agree that Spencer is in a better place with you and you are doing the best you can, his coat looks great and he has a sparkle in his eye.
Just unplug the phone for the day!

annuhaftermath said...

I would love to help, but not because I don't like your methods. I would love to help because reading the blog Spencer seems like an amazing horse and seeing him would be awesome. I probably wouldn't be much help though.. but if I ever come into some money I will donate :)
So ignore the haters, they wouldn't have the guts or the patience to do what you're doing!

SunnySD said...

Glad to see an update - it was nice to see Cathy's spot on FUGLY, and I'm sorry it's generated negative attention. You've made a lot of progress :)

Christina said...

I was one of the ones on fugly (thedrafthorse) who commented that I thought Spencer looked underweight (in the June pictures from four months ago). He looks great now! Just about perfect, if you ask me.

I just went through a similar thing with a horse I drive who got all stressed out by a different driver and dropped a ton of weight. He's picked it all back up now in the past couple of months. We've also got some elderly horses on our farm that came after spending their whole lives with just one other horse, and being in the big herd and in a new place stressed them out and they got a bit ribby. Now they're gaining weight too.

Keep up the good work and thanks for rescuing a good draft horse!

Pat said...

Thank you all for your supportive words. I really understand where the comments on the fugly blog were coming from and I really do appreciate that they cared enough to make observations. I just felt a bit defensive when I realized the comment were on some months old pictures and misconceptions.

I was just with Spencer a bit ago, detangling his mane with my fingers. He has very fine hair like an Arab. He loves the attention. He loves having his butt scratched. He is just a different horse than the one who came here, although I think that horse was inside, just not trusting enough to show itself.

I do appreciate the commmentary and support from everyone and so does he. Thank you all again.


Lynn said...

It's easy to look at someone else's blog and criticize what they may or may not have done or need to do. It's much harder to put your money where your mouth is and do the hard work yourself. All horses are a work in progress - some more so than others.

Congratulations for doing the hard work and taking such good care of Spencer. His life is a billion times better than it was before you came into his world.

Keep up the good work. Keep doing what you need to do (with a helmet on :)

Life doesn't make things easy and convenient -like taking time for training a horse.

Don't let anyone else get you down. The proof is in the results. And your results are great and will only continue to get better!

stormygirl said...

I think you are doing wonderfully! Spencer wouldn't be the horse he is today without someone giving a hoot about him!

My husband and I also took on an unhandled Clyde/Percheron/Paint 3yr old Pmu filly. Wow! I understand part of what you had to get though... we didn't have the stallion issue though (thank goodness!). She was as wild and mistrusting of humans as one could be. Almost a year later, she is a blessing and enriches our lives everyday with her loving nature. Her feet are improving...slowly. They were a mess and it took months to be able to touch her, let alone handle her feet. A few more trims and they will look better.

Keep up the good work and remember, Spencer is the one who matters... not the people that read a blog.

English said...

Those who criticised you on fhotd obviously didn't know Spencer's full history. I'm sure that anyone who has followed it from day one has nothing but praise for you.

Bobbi said...

Draft horses can be funny creatures. Too many of the uninformed tend to consider them the "big dummies" of the equine world. Far from it, they are quite intelligent and can be very sensitive. Stress can cause them to lose a great deal of weight in a very short period of time. I've experienced it myself and have talked to other draft horse owners that have as well. From what I've read, Spencer doesn't sound like a horse whose rehabilitation could be rushed, even if you wanted to. He's not a machine...and neither are you. I so respect your courage and commitment to this horse. Keep your mind on your goals for Spencer and don't let these "armchair trainers" cause you to doubt yourself.

skatej said...

This is precisely why I stopped reading fugly. Too much negative attention. Spencer is looking wonderful. I hope you are recovered from your injury (horses HURT!) and I look forward to hearing about him in the future!

And remember, you are in NO WAY obligated to the online community. You could even just delete your blog and go offline if you wanted to and they couldn't do a thing but whine about it. Jerks who know nothing about situations have no business criticizing you.
Always a fan,

Fayune said...

I don't think I've posted on your blog before, but I have followed it since you first got Spencer. I love reading the updates about him and seeing him progress. I can't wait until the day that you can ride him, but I certainly wouldn't be one to rush you OR him!

Don't pay any attention to negative comments, you are doing a fantastic job with him! And as previously mentioned, you have no obligation to post updates about him. This blog could dissappear and no one could do a thing about it, but I truly hope that you continue to post about Spencer, even if it is for selfish reasons. (As I mentioned, I do love to hear about him!)

Rachel said...

Oh golly - I didn't realize that people were saying things about Spencer like that.

I've been there to see this "never-handled-wild-recent-stallion... in fact - I've personally been kissed by this now-gentle giant.

And I've been impressed by the trust Pat and Spencer have built and the long way he has come.

Pat's place is spotless... beautifully kept, the horses are healthy and happy. Every time I've gone there, Spencer has had his nose in a wheelbarrow of hay.

Yes, he's not the bulked up muscle-bound stallion he was before - and Pat's explanations make sense. Please make sure you ask before blaming. Personally, I wish you could all meet him in person to see for yourself.

(I have my own rescue mare that I had to handle questions of "did you do THAT?!", so I know where she's coming from).

And Pat - thank you for helping us with Kona's injury... she is finally putting some weight on her leg and looking a bit more comfortable.

Rachel said...

Just went back and read more of your comments. And I am actually tickled pink by the fact that every single comment here is in support of you. And by people who have been following more of Spencer's story.

And you already know that Cathy from FUGLY got it right - that means something in my book... cuz she'd be the first to rip you if she thought the horse was in an unhealthy place.

So keep taking your time with that sweet boy of yours... and please invite us back to your playfield :) I'd love to see you canter Danny Boy!

megan colleen said...

Hey Pat -
I'm still reading if not commenting much. You have a lot to be proud in with Spencer! Don't let anyone tell you different. It's so easy to pass a quick judgment these days.

I personally am looking for a second dog. Found a cute little one last night but it wasn't until I really interacted with her today that I decided it'd be best for my current dog if I passed her by. She's cute, friendly, small, and happy! But she also does some resource hoarding and can be a pushy alpha bitch.

For me, this would be my first attempt at a multi-dog household. I didn't feel comfortable taking her on and putting my Mojo through the experience of her.

Now I could have done a quick judgement and brought her home before having that info. It would have ended in heartache I think.

I don't know if that's a good comparison for what I'm trying to say. But maybe you will get what I mean?

Take care and good luck with your horses!

- Meg

bhm said...

What happened on Fugly? Did she write a negative post about you or was it her followers?

Mustang Heritage said...

Don't let any one tell you, your not caring for Spencer. You have done a helluva job with him. You have over come a lot with him and some horses take a lot of time. You had a wild draft on your hands and now a great boy. Time is all you need and if people can't acpect that, then they really do not understand the hurdles you have and have delt with.
Thank you for what you have done.

fernvalley01 said...

sy to judge from a distance! I think you have done amazing work with Spencer!Be careul though sounds like he still has a few issues . Your safety has to be the priority

Pat said...

Hi Sandy,

I attempted to respond to your email, but they're blocked and bouncing back.

Thank you so much for being a fan of Spencer's!

He's doing fine. I'm just focusing on his weight, he is NOT an easy keeper. He eats so much it's astonishing to me. All my other horses are waddling around the pasture and I sometimes see his ribs if he moves just right. Ugh.

He's sound, although I don't know why. His feet need to be trimmed, although it's pretty amazing how well he maintains them on his own.

On my main blog, Hoofrecovery, I added a post about him conking me in the top of the head with his hind hoof while I was clipping the hair around his coronet band so I could get a better look at his overall hoof.

He didn't like the clippers, but he was standing for them okay. He showed is disapproval by bringing his hind hoof up to knock them away, but dummy me, my head was in his line of fire.

I still have a dent in the top of my head that's permanent!

I haven't worked on him since, mostly because I just haven't had time to get back out to work on him but I have him on my calendar.

He's really a good boy, he was just so ignored and abused for most of his young life, it's like working with a 2000 lb yearling.

That can be pretty dangerous!

A friend is going to start coming on Sundays to help me work with him using the clicker training method. I've done that with him and that's how I got him cooperative with one front leg, but she's had years of training practice using the clicker so I'm hoping she'll give me some new ideas.

Thank you again for asking about