My granddaughter Adi is learning to ride Mara. It’s been almost a year since Mara joined our herd and we had a lot of issues to overcome. Not just bad arthritis, and body pain, but mental issues as well. She was obviously well trained, and equally obviously overused and treated like a tool. Her knees were quite literally shaking with fear on her first couple of rides with us last month, but very calm, gentle children alleviated that fear and now she is being a pretty typical pony...pushing boundaries!
You can see all the knotting on Mara's coat that pop up overnight. You would think she is never brushed but I attack her nearly daily waiting for my new clippers to arrive (which were a week late!) Mara now looks like she was run over by a drunk lawn mower as I didn’t want to completely body clip her yet. We are still having pretty cold nights so I'll keep the knots shaved off, and I trimmed up the bridle path, her face and whiskers where the hair was getting pulled by the bridle, and the girth path, which was very knotted up!
The nice thing about Mara being a senior, slightly broken pony is even if they are being feisty, I don’t have to worry about her getting too out of control. Even though my grandkids have been around my horses since birth, they haven’t had much chance to ride as most of my equines have been rescues, not safe rides for kids. When I found Mara, I was purposely trying to find a pony for them to learn to ride on, and it just happens she was also a “free” horse, with issues that needed my attention as well as being yet another horse I could learn new things on. Though I have helped other people show progress with their Cushings horses, that is not the same as having a hands on project! The most common direction to take a Cushings horse (limited food, low sugar) just does not jive with how I feed horses…though I do feed all my animals low sugar/low starch diets. With Mara I had to re-evaluate the “common” method of addressing Cushings issues, (as a whole disease) and had to break it down to its individual parts…pituitary, thyroid, adrenals, hormone levels, and sugar levels. When I addressed ALL of these compartments, that is when Mara really started making progress.