Australian Brumby Challenge ©
Dear Magnus has had a week of TLC. He has responded well to the various people he has had around to help him. He is very settled with new people and is “Turning Loose” in the mind and getting to understand we are all around to help him and love him.
The last week for Magnus has been about getting him on track to be sound for work. I aim to have all bases covered for every aspect in a “Circle of Soundness” in every horse I work. Every aspect is as important as each other, they include soundness in the: Mind, body, nutrition, digestive system, feet, teeth and correct saddlery. For some horse, if one of these points or systems is not right or suitable, a horse can be completely unsound for work. Some may get by with a couple things not 100 per cent, but as horse owners and trainers, it is up to us to provide for all the needs of our horses. I never aim to be an expert in all these things, but it is my professional duty to have the support of professional experts in all these fields.
Monday: Magnus and I bonded into his week back into work with a liberty session. He let me know there were a few holes in his trust for my presence on the ground, probably due to the “get it done” work he had while mustering without the time for loving on him. His mind is always “with me” but if he feels the pressure is too much he decides to ‘physically’ leave. He comes back with belief that I’m there for him and processes much quicker than when I first started him.
Tuesday: We use a qualified Equine Physiotherapist on a regular basis for all the horses we have in work, both personal and the ones booked in for training. We felt it was time that Hayleigh came to work on Magnus. Hayleigh found and treated he following physical issues (Quoting Hayleigh) “Through his near side poll, occipital region: Namely the obliquus capitalis caudalis, and through THJ Joint (Note, to check teeth). Through the near side lower neck: Omotransversarius, supraspinatus, trapezius. Girth area: Pectoralis desendens. Back and hind quarters: Bilaterally through longissimus dorsi off side gluteus medialis, biceps femoris and gracilis”. In Hayleigh’s opinion the identified soreness was work related tightness, some teeth related and his hind end issues was due to a previous injury to the muscles and compensating for the injury, from a long time ago and feels he is a definite candidate for some dry needling in the near future. He also tested positive for two out of four points relating to stomach ulcers.
That afternoon I booked the vet we use for equine dentistry for Thursday to do Magnus’s teeth, I also mentioned to him about the potential for him having stomach ulcers.
Wednesday: Magnus received light ground under the instruction of Hayleigh as rehab from Tuesday’s physio session.
Thursday: Lindsay our vet arrived and we discussed the best game plan given where Magnus was at in his training and the exposure to he’d had to date. We both agreed that to make the experience as positive as possible and to allow Lindsay to get the best job done that sedating him was the best option. The first thing I noticed once Magnus went under sedation was that his stomach ‘dropped’. It was like he was very full. From the day we picked Magnus up he has always looked a little “tucked up” to us. We have kept a close eye on his physical changes and over the last couple weeks we became pretty confident that this was not due to him not eating or drinking enough, but something physical going on his body. This was just one factor I was highly anticipating getting support from our network of experts to help with. Lindsay commented the sedation included a pain relief and the fact he dropped was a deciding factor to put him on Ulcer treatment to try eliminate that possibility. Magnus’s teeth were quiet sharp and slightly waved, and he was rasped down accordingly. Interestingly, 6 year old Magnus was aged by our vet as not yet 4. His outside incisors are not yet wearing together, and Lindsay said that this is a technical sign used to age a horse reaching 4 years of age. He said in endurance disciplines, no matter what the record of birth date is of a horse, one is not yet 4 until their outside incisors are wearing together. Lindsay left Magnus with a two week daily treatment for stomach ulcers and gave me some advice for his nutrition needs.
Friday: I finally saddled Magnus up; ground worked him and had a trot around the arena. I tried a different bit that I had been using on him; a softer three piece bar bit compared to the loose ring snaffle with a roller I previously used on him. Without asking for as much performance as I had when I was mustering on him, I didn’t feel any difference in the bits, but he certainly didn’t dislike it. He is very quiet in the mouth and soft through his body when riding him. He has definitely earned a two day weekend off to rest and process.
I would describe Magnus as tough and a little bit of an internaliser. This is a common trait for brumbies and bush horses that I have owned and worked with. They have never had anyone to fuss over them or to provide to their needs, so they don’t expect anything. They have got through life by “sucking it up” and dealing with whatever challenges that they have endured. I want Magnus to learn that he can turn loose to me in a way to communicate if he is in need of anything and I will try my hardest to provide for him. My best horse that I own, Nulla, was a 3 year old unhandled bush Waler when I started him, now at 11 he is still tough and sucks up whatever life throws at him. He knows I’m his brother and he receives my providing for him as a privilege.
My aim to leave as much horse in Magnus as possible as well as bringing his physical and character strengths to light to the world. I owe him all I can give him. With the support of my loving fiancé, and team mate Lauren, and the network of professionals we surround ourselves with for help, I believe Magnus will shine to his best potential.