While I have long had intentions to take Sheza up to April Moore of Moore horses for training, April is a great buddy and horse enthusiast and was also kind enough to help me evaluate and torture my brain over my latest Craigslist special save, Rambo Peg-Leg as we affectionately called him by the end of the week.
Rambo came home with me approximately 3 1/2 months ago. I first heard about him from a couple of Sale ads posted various places online, and then got a mutual connection to the old owner through a friend. Hearing that he was auction bound if he didn’t find a home ASAP, I chose him as my next Project and arranged to drive the couple of hours north and haul him home. As far as I knew, this was the horse I was getting, plus or minus some lbs of body weight:
Upon arrival January 12th, 2014, I found that Rambo was sweet as a bug and couldn’t wait to cram his head in my halter and go home with me. He was, umm, misunderstood at his old home, to put it delicately. He is only about 14.1 hh but big boned and had a winter coat so the photos never truly reflected his actual condition, which was not at all appalling but certainly not the plump fellow my early photos would have you believe.
***He also had a scar next to his right hind stifle and another on his right hip bone, a visibly atrophied right flank, and he swung his right hind leg when he walked in an obvious accommodation, though I won’t call it a limp.***
If you’ve ever played the Craigslist Gambling Game, or rescued a horse in general, you know the risks. Very rarely do people re-home or give away truly healthy and okay horses these days, I don’t care what the hype says. Yes, the market is down and there are great horses to be found for a deal, but there are also *multitudes* of “Deals” that can easily end up being the most expensive “free” horse you’ll ever set your sights on.
Rambo is by no means my first attempt at this Russian Horsey Roulette, and he won’t be my last. In general I put time, research, and money into the horses that I hope will take me places and last a long while, but in the face of that careful preparation there are also those horses like my 18 year old Blaze, scooped off of Craigslist for a deal 5 years ago and the most wonderful little sound-as-a-dollar guy I could ask for, versus my high dollar mare who had everything right on paper but at the same age is retired only pasture sound. I always hope that the horse I bring home can have a wonderful and useful working future, whether with me or someone else, but that isn’t always the case either.
Regardless, on this day that I thought I was picking up this sweet boy with a great trot that I had video proof of, I found myself leading a sweet boy with a Peg Leg, essentially. He never moved like it was painful, and still doesn’t, but there was and is clearly a hitch in that Giddy-up. Still, my commitment was made, and home he came with me.
Rambo says Yes, Take me Home, the day I met him
I had my much trusted horse chiropractor out within the week to check him over, confused/intrigued by the atrophied flank and weird walk, and worried that his stifle was damaged. She checked him all over and couldn’t find anything out of adjustment, and in her opinion both stifles “matched,” as it were. It took another couple of weeks for my very busy vet to make it out for spring shots for everyone, a couple of dentals, and a Rambo check-up. In the meantime I put him on a big half hill/half flat pasture, piled the groceries in front of him, and watched his weight and muscles start to build. As I said he was a bit underweight but not at all severely and with his youth and my good groceries he started packing on pounds and muscle pretty quickly.
right hind flank/stifle scar
this photo barely shows the outward drag of that right hind toe as he walks
late January, out for walkies, you can see that scar behind his right hind stifle but the muscle is already starting to come in in the flank
Rambo at Moore Horses, April 15th, 2014.
We worked Rambo in the round pen a couple of different times, taking videos as friends and vet student friends recommended different angles and things to capture. April also had a quick session with him to so see how he did being hopped on, since I had some horror stories of the “riding” that had been done on him before I got him.
no big deal!
He really is a sweet fellow, and I am glad that his Peg Leg doesn’t seem painful at all, but these videos still frustrate the heck out of me, especially when viewed next to the sound, un-scarred video taken just over a month before I got him. Such, my friends, is the nature of the Craigslist Gambling Game.
He isn’t painful, he honestly seems like he’s got a “peg leg” as it were that affects his way of going sometimes but isn’t Ouchy. It’s a head scratcher to watch. As a 6 yr old project save with all this going on, I am realistic about what I can and cannot put into Rambo, and my conclusion is this. He’ll be pastured a few miles away in a large pasture that I ride by often and can check on. I’ll trim his feet and re evaluate him on the circle every few months and there are quite a few that think the tincture of time and movement may heal him yet. In an ideal world I could throw a lot of money at x-rays and ultra sounds and fancy recovery plans but this is real life and I can offer him a safe big pasture and the possibility of a recovery in time.
Sweet boy, I never regret bringing them home and doing what I can, whatever the outcome.