Monday, January 7, 2013

Donegal and Trust




" Donnie "



 As everyone knows Donnie has had a hard time trusting people since we got him about 10 years ago.  We’ve gone through much research and heartache finding the right combination on how to give him the confidence he needs.  Over the years he has come to trust us, along with the farrier, vets, dentists, etc.  Also, once his PSSM was diagnosed and his diet changed he’s become much more comfortable with himself.
We’re trying to give Donnie jobs that he can handle easily and in turn feel good about himself.  He excels at clicker training and he’s doing very well with longeing with and without a saddle.  We’re hoping that if he continues to advance in his training one of us will be able to ride him in the Spring.  By one of us, I don’t mean me, I mean my ‘crash test dummy’ daughter.
He’s one very smart horse and he’s also very sweet.  He’s the first one to greet you in the morning with a cheerful nicker and he gives Donnie-hugs every night.  It took a long time, but he trusts us now and looks to us as his dependable caretakers and maybe even his family.  Who knows? 
I wish that more people would take the time with their horses and give them what they need.  Abused or sick horses deserve the care we can offer.  We’re supposed to be the smarter species although sometimes I’m doubtful about that.  The thing I do know for sure is that we gave Donnie the care and took the time with him to gain a little confidence in himself with each passing year and in return he has given us his heart.  There’s no better feeling than having been able to play a part in helping him be happy and healthy.
Until next time
Quote for Today 
Give a horse what he needs and he will give you his heart.









42 comments:

  1. Amen and huge kudos to you for doing this for Donnie!

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    1. Thanks billie. It hasn't always been an easy road for him (or us) but I'm confident that little by little he'll become less fearful and more sure of himself.

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  2. I'm glad you found each other. It sounds like he's having fun with clicker - I've found it very helpful with horses who are fearful or worried.

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    1. Hi Kate,

      He seems to really excel with clicker training. Donnie needs a job and also needs to feel good about himself. I think the clicker is very helpful for his confidence issues.

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  3. donnie is such a sweetie. if there is any horse who has deserved some extra love and patience, it's him :-)

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    1. Hi jme,

      Donnie is my favorite. Please don't tell Dusty or Blue. Of course, I love them too but not in the same way as Donnie. I think when you have a troubled horse who needs you a special feeling or bond forms because you just want them to be happy. I honestly don't know what would have happened to this sweet boy if he were somewhere else.

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  4. Well put for a sweet boy. Love your quote for today too.

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    1. Thanks Lori,

      I love that quote too and believe it to be true.

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    1. Hi C,F,S,

      Exactly how I feel about Donnie.

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  6. To me there is not much more rewarding an experience than gaining the trust of an abused or "badly owned" animal. It's clear you have developed a deep and committed love for Donnie to have taken such time and patience with him. I'm rooting for a super Spring ride on him. You deserve to see it, and he deserves to succeed at it. Please give him an extra hug from me.

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  7. Thanks Jean. We'll be sure to give him an extra hug tonight. He loves his hugs!
    We're hoping he continues to feel good about himself and will be comfortable by Spring for some riding to begin.

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  8. He's a blessed soul to have found a patient and loving home. I feel this way about Lily. She's unlikely to be the most sound horse, but we have our good times and she and I enjoy our time together.

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  9. Hi Breathe,

    Lily is very sweet and lucky to have you. I know you and Lily have lots of fun together on the trails. I'd be happy if Donnie would just be comfortable at a walk with one of us riding.

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  10. You're so right with your post ....Donnie is one lucky horse. The new horse on my block is one troubles soul and it is taking alot of time to get her trust but I think I'm winning. Funnily enough she just loves the chooks. So one way to her heart has been to have the chook house in her paddock and to share the bread with both her and the chickens each day. We have a huge road to travel but like you and Donnie ....once you get that trust you're well on your way

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  11. Hi Sally,

    Unfortunately, we never know what happened in our horse's previous life to have them lose trust in humans. Sounds like you and your new girl are on the road to trust. I'm sure with time you'll have her heart. Good luck.

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  12. Those sensitive types are often the really smart ones. Your patience will be rewarded. He's a lucky boy to have found such a good human.

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  13. Thanks Story. Donnie is one of the smartest horses I've met so far. We're lucky to have found him too. He's just so sweet and kind, it's a pleasure to be around him.

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  14. There is no doubt you and your "crash test dummy" wonderful and talented daughter are on this earth for a reason and fulfilling not only your dreams but saving a few sweet lives along the way. Looking forward to the next post about your experiences with this precious horse who has learned to trust you and his "family."

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  15. Thanks D.J. I did a little work with Donnie today. Just the usual and he was very good. He's been a pleasure to work with and see how far he's come.

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  16. Donnie looks like a kind, wise soul. How wonderful that you have found each other. Wish I could experience one of those Donnie-hugs!

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    1. Hi Wolfie,

      You're right Donnie is a kind and wise soul. I'm glad we found him too. Donnie hugs are there for everyone if you ever get to visit I'm sure he'd be happy to oblige!

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  17. I loved this post Arlene-wise wise words. Donnie is so lucky that he has found a safe and loving haven with people who are willing to dig deep inside and find unique and creative ways to build trust with such a damaged soul. I have such admirationt for the respect and love you show your animals. A wonderful example in life. Please give Donnie a special cookie!
    Whinnies and woofs from the gang out here-
    Sue and the crew

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    1. Hi DVR,

      Donnie got lots of special cookies yesterday in his clicker lesson and a few more while being groomed! I'll tell him about all the friends he has too.

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  18. Such a feel good story. Donnie is saying "thank you" every day. So wonderful the care and understanding you have given him. But that is what you do best!

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    1. Thanks Marvel,

      It's easy to take care of Donnie and try to give him what he needs. He is a very sweet horse and deserves it.

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  19. I'm actually a little choked up now. You and your daughter deserve (Donnie-)hugs for the good you're doing with your horses. I wish everybody took such good care of their animals or in fact of all animals. Sending you a virtual Carolina-hug :-)

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    1. Hi Carolina,

      I'll take that hug and pass it along to Donnie.

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  20. My mare also had some trust issues when I got her, 10 yrs ago. Not as much as your horse, but a few problems. Just belonging to one person (me) and time and patience has made a big difference in her attitude. She is not affectionate, but she waits for me at the gate every day, watches me when I'm in the yard, and comes to stand by me when she gets scared. The barn owner, where I now board, says she is very sensitive, very smart, and very careful. This mare was in my barn for years, so having someone else make those observations means a lot to me. I certainly appreciate this mare more as time goes by, and I'm glad I have her. I'm glad she's not in her past life anymore, or with someone who would mistreat her again.

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    1. Your horse sounds like she trusts you as her person. It takes time and patience as you say to gain trust. I'm glad she's with you and not with someone who would mistreat her again. You may not think she's affectionate but her actions show how much she trusts you.

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  21. In my opinion...truer words have never been spoken. God bless the horses and the people who love them, and give them what they need!!!! I love your Donnie horse. :)

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  22. My favorite thing to do is to win over a horse who hasn't been understood by someone else, abused or just plain old unloved. What an accomplishment to get them to trust again!

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    1. It's amazing they have the capacity to trust again after being unloved or abused isn't it?

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  23. Aawww, I'm so glad that Donnie's learned to trust you; makes for wonderful-ness all around. I'll never understand why people have to be mean in the first place. Its so nasty to take the trust that animals offer and betray them. Yaay for people like you :D xx

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  24. Thanks Joy. It boggles my mind why people would want to be around animals and yet mistreat them. To my way of thinking if you can't be good to them and respect them, then it's simply a matter of staying away from them. They should let more qualified caring people be their caretakers.

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  25. With your kind hearts, constant care and love ; Donnie had seemed to flourish! And as you said, what horse deserves less???
    Hoping no crash test , but "crash less "riding for your daughter and Donnie.

    Our D'ap seems to be trusting more too, little by little.
    What a gift having then trust you is!!!

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  26. I think D'ap will come around with the love and care you and our sis are giving her. I'm of the opinion they just need a chance to give their trust to someone. Good luck with D'ap.

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  27. He is very sweet looking =) May I ask about the PSSM diet you're using with him?

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    1. Hi Jeni,

      Donnie is very sweet and kind. Here's what we do for Donnie:

      We don't do the hardcore pssm diet with no carbs and added fat because it's extreme, usually unnecessary and he doesn't have a severe case. He's an easy keeper, he gets a lot of turnout, he gets a good quality, free choice grass/timothy hay in a slow feed net inside and out, access to pasture with a muzzle as needed and approximately 1lb. of Genesis organic whole grain am/pm, which is traditionally a no-no for pssm horses, but since it isn't processed, is mixed with things like flax, peas for protein, etc. and I mix in a little alfa-a dengi as well, I find it doesn't hurt. I also balance him with added magnesium, vitamin e (uckele's 5000), copper and zinc. He gets a little extra multi vitamin too for selenium, electrolytes and whatever else he might be missing... Hope this helps.

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  28. I do not know what PSSM is, will have to google it now.
    My paint, Trax, is like Donnie, perhaps not so bad, but he came to me with a very bad attitude and 0 trust in people. We have been working on it and slowly but surely he is coming around. It is funny to walk around the pasture when he is loose. He doesn't often come running too me (unless he knows I have treats) but he will follow me around as long as he thinks I'm not looking. The minute I turn around he turns away all nonchalant, like I can't see him following me.
    The other day when I caught Sassy and was headed to the trailer for her vet visit, he actually nickered at me as if to say, "Hey, don't I get to go?"

    I am so glad that Donnie has you and your family.

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  29. Hi Cindy,

    It sounds like Trax's is lucky to have found you too. He sounds like a character who would like attention but won't ask for it. It's so hard to gain trust but once we do its a wonderful step forward. Years ago I wrote Donnie's full story in three parts. I don't know if you would be interested in reading the whole thing to see if he and Trax's sound like they have similar problems. Good luck with Trax.

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