An new name, a new life: Jimmy Dean becomes Yogi

It’s been a while that I blogged. Lots has happened! The horse formerly known as Jimmy Dean has a new name, a new owner and a new lease on life. He also has a newly shaped right hind, since flip-over accident, watermelon-sized hematoma on the right hind and ensuing healing process. OK, first thing is first.

The new name: The registered name of the horse formerly known as ‘Jimmy Dean’ is “Good Lord I’m Sizzlin'”. Someone with a sense of humor very much unlike my own, therefore gave him the barn name “Jimmy Dean”. You know… the sausage. Since he has been on the brink of being sent to the meat buyer by a former owner, I thought this name had to go.  Since ‘nomen est omen’ and even the wise native Americans knew that a) a name can bring about a change in you and b) names change during a life time for this reason, I was diligently looking for just the RIGHT name. Hmm… Remington? Diego? Buddy? All good suggestions. Tired of the decision making process, I gave it up to a dream, went to bed and told myself whatever I wake up with, that’s it. It was Yogi. What a great fit! His best buddy’s name is Yankee (you get it: Yogi Berra and the Yankees) and Yogi Bear as well as anything else I associate with Yogi’ism speak of calm and inner peace. Done! Jimmy Dean became Yogi!

The new owner: St. Francis Horse Rescue in  Rosholt, who took on Yogi from an uncertain fate and then sent him to me for evaluation and possible rehab,  is a well managed rescue, taking on some of the worst cases of neglected horses in cooperation with humane societies and authorities (seizures etc.). They also are a retirement home for senior horses, who have given their all but outlived their ‘usefulness’. I brainstormed with St. Francis on what to do with Yogi, who needed more rehab time than anticipated due to deep rooted experiential issues in this horse in combination with his physical challenges. We decided together that my retired high-testosterone gelding Cody would be happy to take charge of their mare herd in Rosholt while I would keep Yogi and could continue to work with him.

The new lease on life: As an almost ‘unadoptable’ horse (bucking issue in combination with physical challenges) and too young (6) to be a retirement horse, Yogi faced an uncertain future. Having more time to work with Yogi, will give him a new lease on life.

New hind end: The accident left Yogi with an odd shaped right hind, some hardened tissue and possibly some muscle damage. With proper exercise, massage and bodywork, this can surely be overcome. It does look a bit ‘special’ right now. But just when you lift up the tail…

Progress Update: After almost 60 days of confinement, Yogi returned to his herd and now spends most of his time with buddies Yankee (best bud), Mr. B and Flicka. He has started lunging again, has been carrying a tightly cinched saddle without bucking (that’s right, we don’t need to start on square one again!!!) and has displayed complete FEARLESSNESS in the face of a giant blue tarp. After an initial balk, he walked right over the crumply, flighty thing, didn’t mind me twirling it all around him and even became the ‘walking giant blue plastic bag‘ when I completely wrapped him in the tarp, head and all, and he walked about the barn blindly, his feet getting a bit tangled in the tarp. Zero problemo! With the inner calm of a Yogi, he emerged from the tarp after a few minutes as the ‘mystery horse’, with a sweet and content facial expression.

So stay calm, breathe deeply and stay tuned for more YOGI NEWS!

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Jimmy Dean under saddle (without rider)

After successfully braving the horrors of a baling twine around his girth (day 3, crow hopping, running backwards) and a saddle during vet examination (day 3, crow hopping, running backwards) Jimmy had progressed through longeing with a rope around his girth and wearing a bareback pad without any reactions. Now that he was so comfortable with pressure around the girth, it was time to put a saddle to the test. Jimmy looked quite handsome with Yank’s Western saddle and was unworried until…

Handsome Jimmy Dean under Saddle
Handsome Jimmy Dean under Saddle

Well, it wasn’t all that dramatic. He trotted over the ground pole with the saddle a few rounds. I retightened the cinch three times, then we went on to canter on the longe line. (We remember, that Jimmy’s patella locks up so that his stifle locks and he is forced to take a little ‘hop’ to unlock it while cantering, especially on the left lead.) Dr. Ketover confirmed that this a problem that’s likely to disappear with increasing fitness, but right now Jimmy is still battling the locking stifle. When this happens, and it only happens in the canter, Jimmy is fine without a saddle and ‘resets’ his leg without a worry. With saddle: different story. Jimmy gets anxious when his patella locks and starts crow hopping. We went through this a few times and other than nudging him to go on I did not show any particular reaction to his crow hopping. Soon he became assured that there was nothing to worry about and we ended on a very good note, after Jimmy had shown some spunky, energetic forward movement without crow hopping.

Here excerpts from a brief interview I conducted with Jimmy right after the longing session:

SR: “Jimmy Dean, can you comment on your odd reactions to your locking patella when you are wearing a saddle? You don’t do this when you don’t wear a saddle. What’s the reason?”
JD: “Well, I don’t quite remember the details, but it seems to have happened quite a while ago. Every time I wore a saddle, some dude was sitting in it. And every time I wore the saddle and some dude was sitting in it, I felt a stinging pain in my sides whenever my hind leg locked up. Almost as if someone was kicking me with something sharp. I also heard yelling and unrepeatable words. This happened quite a few times and – since I wasn’t born yesterday – I figured it’s not safe to be wearing that saddle.  But today – to be honest – it wasn’t that bad. I expected the stinging and yelling, as usual, but nothing happened. If that stays like that, I guess wearing that saddle isn’t all that bad. But I gotta go now. My sweetie is waiting for me across the street…”

[This is a fictional interview. Please don’t draw conclusions in regard to my mental state. Thank you.]

Stay tuned for Jimmy Dean’s next adventure: [topic is top secret, it will be surprising and suspenseful]