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:
December 4th 2013 Rambo Trotting Sound Video
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
another new face peeking out of the ole faithful trailer :)
right hind flank/stifle scar
When she made it out, my vet checked him over and agreed that both stifles matched and felt undamaged from a brief exam, and we got on about our shots and dentals. At that time and the weeks following I could see improvement in his leg swinging walk as his muscles filled in and he could maintain some impulsion up under himself, and I was hopeful that with time it may disappear entirely. We did some hand walks and hoof trims but basically I just let him take those 3 1/2 months and hang out, heal, plump and muscle up.
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
mm groceries foreva!
No really, groceriesss ;) Late February, after a bath
one of the gang
late March, saying hi to my husband at the bottom of Sheza's Hill
When it came time to head to April's with Sheza last week I thought that it would be a perfect opportunity to bring Rambo too and evaluate him with a second and very experienced eye (and someone who could handle him for me to film, hard to do alone!). At that point I had not worked him on the circle or done any further evaluation beyond the simple chiro/vet check, months of pasture rehab time, and the ever-weak self reassurance "well, He looks great flying around in pasture."
Rambo at Moore Horses, April 15th, 2014.
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.