Otto, our newest rescue horse, arrived safely to our place this morning after a very long trip.
The poor boy was very frightened but is settling in well.
The photo is quite deceiving as he looks to be of normal size alongside our other 2 big drafties, but all 3 of these rescue horses are serious heavyweights at 17.2hh so he's also another big fella.
I have written my initial assessment of him below so you can all see how we read horses in order to help them correctly with their issues, but I wanted to share with you what a simply stunning and warm energy Otto has, plus he looks equally as handsome on the outside as he is on the inside too :) as I don't want any of you to think he is a "bad" horse as there are no bad horses.....only horses that are trying to survive who sometimes sadly don't understand our human world.
Ok,so to the Equine Psychology of Otto: Upon initial assessments, Otto is suffering from some quite serious displaced behaviours including catatonia, which is a form of escapism where he freezes and goes inside his own head, which he does as coping mechanism in response to previous traumas he has endured.....this is a learned behaviour due to the use of extreme force.
It is very sad thing to witness, and even after all these years it still makes me cry to see a horse crawl inside his own mind in a bid to survive, as it shows they have really suffered extreme emotional trauma and had a breakdown.
This type of behaviour catches out a lot of people, as they read the horse to be "quiet" when in fact they are actually having a meltdown on the inside ....and will eventually explode, and when they finally blow up this hysterical behaviour is often read to be that it came out of know where, which is not the case as these horses have often been brewing these feelings for years.
Otto's behaviour shows me this was brought about by harsh handling, and he has an extreme fear of ropes and sticks which I suspect have been used as weapons towards him in his past-we are working on helping him overcome these fears which he is already showing signs of accepting :)
Physically he looks to be in reasonable condition, with a body score of 3 out of 5-1 being ok, through to 5 being excellent. His coat and feet look to be good, though he is a little toxic and grass affected and has some founder lines on his hooves, which show he has been on a little bit too much green grass. He has a few scars and nicks here and there but overall looks to be good....and we know that his last owners have cared deeply about him so his past has not all been bad.
I would read he has been brought up alone, as he has no social skills with the herd. This became apparent as soon as I saw him with other horses, which makes him feel alone and unsafe, which is never good for a horse, as well as it has caused food aggression which he displayed earlier today too.
Otto is a extremely sensitive horse, and would be a killer in the wrong hands.....but in the right hands he could be rehabilitated into the best horse in the world.....and we're going to try our best to make that happen and learn all he has to teach us along the way.
We shall keep you posted to his progress via our FB page.