By now the rescued Navajo pony, aka finely bred Crabbet or Polish Arab gelding, Sharif, now the beloved horse of Cindy Roper in Cerrillos, is well ensconced in his new home. August 17 marked his one month anniversary in Cerrillos. If this is your first introduction to this story, please see Beyond the Rescue for the background story to bring you up to date, which also includes a reference to Leta Worthington’s wonderful story about his history, Blotched Botched or Blessing – One Indian Pony’s Amazing Journey – or at least as much as we know about it so far.
Although Sharif came with some physical problems, his lifestyle is quickly supporting him in getting well. You can tell Sharif feels very at home now. I felt joy in him this time and really saw a bit more of his personality. I’m delighted to see he is holding my work from two weeks before in the following areas: his spine, which had lost its connection with the ligamentous attachments is now filling out a lot and shows that the ligaments are supporting the vertebra now. The poll is holding pretty well with only a minor adjustment. What was also really wonderful was to see that the atrophy in his gluteal muscles has almost resolved, probably as a result of being able to move freely over 10 acres of rocky New Mexico high desert on a daily basis. His nostrils are now much more relaxed which shows me he is not in significant pain. I think a lot of that nostril wrinkling was a result of tubing from a colic he had just before Cindy got him home. Also the swelling from the intestinal tap has gone way down to almost nothing.
He was more jumpy this time about my handling his hind legs and the left foreleg. The farrier who saw him three days after he got home said he wouldn’t work on his feet yet. Sharif sticks his hind legs out laterally and shakes them when anyone attempts to pick up a foot, but he also does that randomly when no one is anywhere near his hind legs.
I did a lot of work with the hindquarters and connecting them up to the rest of the body. He seeks work there so he keeps presenting his hindquarters to me or to Cindy to work with. The hind end work informs the legs. Toward the end of the session, I did get to work on the hind legs, but I didn’t lift them. I worked on the hocks and hamstrings. I was able to lift the left foreleg. My work, Ortho-Bionomy and Equine Positional Release, use the principle of “going in the direction of ease,” rather than trying to force the body to adjust or make a change we might think it is supposed to. The body is then more willing to make corrections itself.
We also noticed a faint brand on the rib cage on the left side. When I’d seen this before I had thought it was old rib damage, and upon closer inspection it looks like a brand, although no hair has come off. Either way, it makes no sense why anyone would brand a horse on the sensitive bony structure rather than on heavy muscle, which is where most brands are placed. I think there is still rib damage there and other places on the ribs. It’s very common for horses to break, injure or displace ribs in their lifetimes.
I gave Cindy some exercises to help Sharif access his hind legs and keep the self-corrective process engaged.
While we’re seeing some beautiful change in the structure, change is also going on at a systemic level. Organs, lymphatic fluids, blood and tissues are all coming to life in him and helping him use nourishment more efficiently. The body is an amazing organism. We have to remember it has taken Sharif a long time to get into the condition he was in by the time he was rescued, and it will take a fair amount of time to restore his health. He will probably surprise everyone with how well he heals, however, because he has responded so well and so quickly so far.
Just got a newsflash from Cindy: “I am thrilled to report that within the past few days I have only seen Sharif do the ‘lift leg and vibrate it deal’ once. I take this to be a very good sign!!! I’ve been working with his hind legs, and he hasn’t done it then.”
You know Sharif is feeling better because he exudes a new self-confidence. His eyes are clearing, now just a hint of sadness, but it is more distant. He’s even a little bit of a ham and a flirt, very happy to have an audience and people telling him how handsome he is. Even the beautiful Miss Nova, Sharif’s stablemate, is beginning to change how she relates to him. Where once she couldn’t stand him, she has moved to haughty tolerance.