THE STORY OF ABBEY
A few members made the great suggestion of having a “horse or pony story” each month when they responded to our survey – so here goes!
People are always amazed to hear that we got Abbey for free as she’s been one of our best school horses, however Abbey isn’t suited to private homes as she has quite specific management requirements! We were offered Abbey by a vet around 11 years ago – she’d been in a private home which hadn’t worked out and had tried being an embryo transfer mare and that hadn’t worked out either and she was at the stage where her being put down was being considered, but the vet felt we might suit her and be able to get her sorted physically and mentally. Abbey arrived unfit as she’d been out of work for a couple of years and a bit “chunky”, but Martin rode her the day she arrived, and we found that she was really nicely schooled, and she’d clearly been well trained and well looked after. She settled into ARC like she’d been there forever from day one. Initially she was managed like any other horse- she was turned out 24/7 and took the greatest of pleasure in regularly not catching which led to us all chasing her round the field with a feed bucket regularly.
Over the last 7 years, Abbey has become one of the most complicated horses we have to manage, due to various health issues J
She is allergic to grass – unusual but unfortunate for a horse! Luckily, being a chronic laminitic who likes living in this doesn’t bother her and she eats haylage all year round instead.
She also suffers from a weird type of lymphangitis – lymphangitis is where lymph fluid “pools” in lower extremities in horses who aren’t moving (e.g. horses on box rest), but Abbey gets a very quick onset, very painful swelling right behind her elbow. It comes on in about 30 minutes with no warning (and no change in routine) so if we are lucky it happens in daytime and we get the vet right away – the vets tend to give her painkillers and steroids as this has proven the best treatment for her over the years.
She also has problems with her skin – you’ll notice she wears a really thick girth sleeve as she gets dry skin where her feet rub her (when she’s lying down) so she has to get bio-oil rubbed into her skin regularly.
On top of that she also has gaps in her teeth that need regular treatment and has had a tooth removed. She is the perfect example of a horse that would be incredibly difficult in a private home but has completely thrived in an experienced environment like ours. She is seriously high maintenance, but worth her weight in gold as she has been one of our best horses for teaching beginners and novice adults. She is very gentle, tries really hard to please everyone and is an all-round sweetheart. She’s in her late 20s now and takes life a bit easier but is still incredibly valuable to us and a very popular member of the team! Abbey is definitely one in a million!