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Livery Type: Rehabilitation
Arrival Date: September 2021
Breed: Welsh Section D
Medical Issues: N/A
Rehabilitation: Extreme anxiety, issue with teeth
Whilst a huge amount of horses that join us have ongoing metabolic conditions, various soft tissue injuries and are generally grass affected or Laminitis prone, we do take horse's on purely to improve their mental wellbeing and anxiety/stress levels also. Gus arrived extremely anxious, guarded and generally untrusting of us and his environment. Having arrived with his field companion Barney, here for Laminitic and EMS rehabilitation, he was placed into Herd 1. We are unsure of Gus's past before his now owners, but Gus is easily the most anxious horse we have ever cared for.
We first worked on getting Gus used to the other horses and his general surroundings. Once Gus had established a place in Herd 1 and made friends with the other members, Barney was removed to continue his rehabilitation in Track 2 where more movement would be achieved to be help him in his recovery. Although Gus didn't dislike any Herd 1 members particularly, he did replace Barney, as his emotional support, with Dennis.
As Gus only ever let his two Mum's touch him, at times it took us upwards of an hour to catch Gus for his 6 weekly trims. We started off by trying to get him used to being touched by us, even momentarily, off the headcollar with the freedom to walk away if he felt overwhelmed. With anxious horses, it's important not to overwhelm them but still celebrate every victory regardless of how small it may be. We continued to work with Gus in small, manageable ways regardless of the pace at which he improved.
Over the past 16 months, we have continued to see wonderful progress with Gus.
Gus now feels comfortable enough to be with other horses away from Dennis, who at times he desperately needed to feel safe. Gus still reverts back to clinging to Dennis when he is overwhelmed or scared, but it is truly great to see he can be with other horses too without the safety he feels from Dennis.
Gus has also improved significantly around the staff of PB, allowing us to touch him without extreme reactions. Gus now comes over to various staff members and will voluntarily put himself near us and be touched.
Having a very dipped back, Gus has bodywork appointments to help with any discomfort, tightness or pain he may experience due to this. His very first appointment with Gemma, she was unable to work on his lower back and bottom area, which has also greatly improved with time.
Overall, we are incredibly pleased with Gus and the improvements he has made so far. He now feels comfortable and safe enough to roll, lie down, eat, run and sleep with the other horses and around any PB staff. Track systems are great for managing horses with anxiety like Gus, offering them safety in their own choices - free from routine, restricted feed and isolation.