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My Favorite Horse, Chip

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submitted by
Kim Andrews

    My neighbor asked me for help teaching her horse to pick up its feet. She had rescued him from abuse and he was virtually unmanageable. She had his feet trimmed when he was gelded. Having him anesthetized was the only way to do it; he would chase you out of his pen, biting and kicking, if you tried to get too close to him.

    When I first saw Chip, I liked him. He was a stocky old style "bulldog" quarter horse with large eyes and a pronounced jaw. I saw lots of potential but he was scared to death. I knew it would take time to gain his confidence. I stayed with him until I was able to touch his shoulder and massage his neck under his thick matted mane. He gave me a look that could only come from an abused animal saying, "You are one in a million humans I could trust." That look moved me; I wished he were mine. Over the next few months I worked on gentling Chip and gaining his confidence. I got to the point where Chip would let me halter him, groom him, and pick up his front feet.

    I moved and lost contact with my neighbor. Several months later she called asking if I wanted Chip. She had not been able to train him herself and sent him to a trainer. The trainer halter broke Chip, got on his back twice, and managed to trim his hind feet by squeezing Chip against the wall of his stall. My neighbor did not have the time to work with Chip and he was becoming unmanageable again. If I would work with him she would give Chip to me!

    Chip was in desperate need of having his feet trimmed; that was our first project. I worked with Chip slowly, patiently, and consistently; on his time table not mine. When he was ready he stood for the farrier like an old pro. I spent several months with ground work, developing Chipís trust, before getting in the saddle. I discovered there were things that really set him off, the jingle of a chain, the snap of a bug zapper. It saddened me to know these reactions had their roots in abuse. In working through these problems Chip developed such trust and willingness that his eyes look at me with almost eerie concentration, as if to look into my mind to see what I want next.

    Chip has flourished in his new life and rewarded me many times over for helping him. Chip takes care of my over seventy mother-in-law on trail rides. Chip helps me give riding lessons to adults who have always wanted to learn to ride, and Chip is the greatest teacher for our young horses, he disciplines when needed, plays, and even shares his food with them. The potential I saw, and that special look, have become a dream come true.


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Last modified: 20 May 2019