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Blueridge Shannon (Bluey)

Bluey - June 2017

Blue is a right royal dag...he is a few years younger than the others & he has that younger horse attitude - sense of fun & a little naughty 😊.

 

Megs & Felix the Shetland/Mini X's sometimes sneak out into the big paddock with the boys via ducking under the electric tape. They go for a graze for a short time & then Blue decides it's time they should be rounded up so he takes matters into his own hooves....he runs over to them...there is a tense stand off...no one moves for about 10 seconds...then the ponies make a run for it...heads & necks stretched out & full tilt across the paddock & their little legs going for it like there is no tomorrow. Blue is pacing flat chat behind them with a buck, a rear & few cow kicks thrown in...he follows them until they run under the tape! It is hilarious to watch.

 

It doesn't matter how long the sprint is but Bluey only just catches them at the very last stride before they run under the tape. All the other agistees laugh every time he does it. It is like a big game to him...loves the chase but doesn't really want to catch them. It is all perfectly timed by Bluey.

 

He will be the horse that ends up on our back verandah wanting to come inside (when we get our own place). I have some lovely horses but he is a special one 💙 love him to bits.

Bluey - arriving at Vicki Wells' property.

Bluey - meeting "Red", one of the family

Bluey arrived into my world on 28 October 2015.

I responded to an ad placed on the NSW Harness Racing Trading Ring (www.harness.org.au/nsw.cfm and click on the "Services" Tab) which was placed by Marie Neil on behalf of Rayngold Pty Ltd. The Ad appeared to be written in the last line of hope of finding a loving home for a horse that was a little champ but not suited for any other career prospects. This ad and the words stayed with me and decided to ring Marie to find out Bluey’s story.

Bluey had raced well and successfully, but due to failed throat surgery and the onset of windsucking really did not have a future at all for two reasons.

Firstly, the unsuccessful throat surgery deemed him unsuitable for a new career as a riding horse or carriage horse and secondly, not many people are prepared to take on a windsucker and serve no useful purpose. I already have several other Standardbreds which were not suited for riding careers for many different reasons and after talking to Marie, thought I would take on this windsucking gelding to eventually go in with my Standy boys.

I really did not know what to expect - Bluey was rehomed to me sight unseen. Bluey arrived safely….what was I going to do with a windsucking horse? Everyone thought I was mad taking him on. However, with the support of my family and the Agistment owner, we read all we could on this terrible habit and were determined not to use a windsucking collar! Blue settled in ok but first and foremost we treated him for ulcers – whether a high grain diet from racing days caused it, stabling after surgery, the travel down from Goulburn….we decided he was sure to have some gastric upset. Bluey was put inside a small paddock alongside the geldings so he had some company, as all new arrivals have to be quarantined and besides, he did not look that great upon arrival. Blue was in a paddock with long spring grass and an abundance of hay and tried to windsuck on numerous occasions.

He was being treated for the suspected ulcers therefore we had to get tough and remove any objects he was latching on to and if they could not be removed, electric taped off. This frustrated Bluey – he started to windsuck on the large granite rocks! This was not nice to see….we had to do more for him. Blue was moved to an acre sized paddock with large gum trees and we taped off the corner wooden posts and observed him. Being in a new fresh paddock with horses all around him seemed to take his mind off windsucking. This paddock also had large granite rocks in one section and he would very occasionally wander over and stare at the rocks and have a halfhearted attempt at windsucking. I felt we were winning the battle.

I then proceeded to hide piles of lucerne hay around the paddock, behind trees and rocks and have a continual supply of oaten hay for him. This was a great move as Bluey took great delight in walking around every inch of his paddock to find his treats. Bluey started to change shape in a very dramatic fashion – he filled out, lost the pronounced neck confirmation of a windsucking horse – it was time! The final act of kindness to Bluey was to introduce him to “the boys” – Red and Legs in the 5 acre paddock. With much trepidation (worrying that he might be bullied and start the windsucking all over again) I introduced him to the herd leader – they had a 30 second stand off and then started grooming each other.
Blue and Red then raced across the paddock bucking and kicking out at one another – Bluey was home.

I am very lucky to have these amazing Standardbreds in my life (3 geldings and 3 mares as well as rescued founder ponies [but they don’t count do they….they are not horses :) and they will remain with me for the rest of their lives.

I can only talk about what I have seen here in Victoria – we have several amazing groups which take on Standies for retraining in ridden careers, whether trail riding, pleasure or show horses and they do it so well. However, there are people like myself who are willing to take on those who really are only suited as companions and love them unconditionally. Bluey will make one final journey – with my family and all my horses to our dream farm – our retirement and loving haven for my beloved Standy and pony family.


Thank you Marie and Peter for entrusting the lovely Bluey into my forever care.

Vicki Wells
Woodstock, Victoria

October 2016