Simple things.........change lives!
Or how a well thought through piece of English engineering, saves unnecessary injury, pain, vets bills, early retirement and gives you peace of mind.
I actually happened to be buying a pony for my daughter at the time when I saw her. She looked so dejected that I had to go and give her a bit of love. She nickered quietly and my heart melted. So, having bought Casper the Connie I told the dealer that I would pay £500 for the mare and if she turned up on the truck I would do the deal if not, well I'd tried. Sure enough, she appeared and the cash was duly handed over. I owned a throughbred, 2 months off the track!!
Quirky is the understatement of the century. She was a bad of nerves, her stomach was in ruins and she trusted nobody, probably quite rightly, no wonder she hadn't been sold. So began the long rehabilitation process. First to get her stomach sorted and gain her trust. Then to start to hack and get her used to a different riding position. For close to 2 years, we took things gently and calmly giving her time to readjust and very slowly a new horse appeared. Now I am not going to tell you the quirks disappeared they still remain to this day, but finally I felt that we could start her proper re-education.
Naturally we started on the flat. Slowly but surely, we moved from giraffe mode to some semblance of being on the bit. Progress being made week in week out and so started to put a little more pressure on her. Then she started brushing really badly with her forelegs. A call to Peter Thurlow was made. Looking at her being lunged in the school his immediate reaction was a neck issue but to confirm we needed x-rays. So, next day he turned up and sure enough her second and third vertebrae were badly damaged. No wonder this three-time winning Sprinter had been retired from the track!
So Cortisone injections for the rest of her life? I decided that wasn't the way to go and opted to retire her at the ripe old age of 9!! She has a new job but that is another story.
I wanted to know how this had happened. Peter's best estimate was pulling back on a head collar when tied up. He said looking at the damage it was old, well before she arrived with us. Nevertheless, she had pulled back a couple of times at mine and I didn't want to deal with this type of injury in the future.
Yes, we were a Bailer Band yard, bits of lovely orange string floating in the breeze on every tie-up point we had. Looked lovely on the horsebox as we travelled along too, very classy.
Simple, Inexpensive Solution...
Then one day I was surfing the net, I found Roy French's solution. A safety release tie. Seemed simple and cheap so I bought 2 to see how well they worked. 5/5 in my opinion. Now I know that if my guys get startled by traffic on the road, low flying helicopters from RAF Odiham (tree hugging in chinooks - bless them) or in Stretch's case a leaf then I no longer have to worry about neck damage - it is a thing of the past.
I now own a fairly large collection of safety ties. It used to be Black on the yard and box but with the new box, I have gone blue (no orange or champagne yet in the range but maybe one day.....). I have them everywhere that you could possibly wish to tie up a horse. That way anyone that visits my yard has only one option, to use the safety release tie.
I know from experience what damage pulling back when tied up can do. Izzy's career was stopped short because of it. Many if not retired, spend years being shot up with Cortisone so they can do their jobs.