Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Would You Like a Cosmo? Why, Yes, Of Course!

If you have been reading my blog, and I most sincerely appreciate that, you will recall my friend Patty and her special bond with Pistol, a former racehorse. Patty is a great horse woman and also has a side business of making dog beds with organic materials and other canine wellness products.

But there comes a time where every woman has her moment of weakness. For some, it’s a pair of shoes or the die-for handbag. For the rest of us, it’s a killer deal on fly spray, can't-resist muck boots or that gut instinct about a horse. I think we have all been there. It happened to Patty about a year ago when she decided to check out the postings on the Camelot weekly Facebook site. (Camelot is a feed lot in New Jersey where horses are sold before being shipped to …  well, we won’t mention that part). She saw the photo of the small white and chestnut pinto. I remember the photo myself and don’t know of any horse person who would not be moved by the timid, but curious face. 

Well, it was only a few days later when Cosmopolitan, named for the cocktail in honor of our monthly tack room happy hours, showed up in the trailer, thanks to our generous barn owner who was open to this great experiment and had rescued a number of horses herself. He went immediately into quarantine along with his personal collection of lice, ticks, hopelessly burr-tangled mane and tail, and a mud blanket. He was a mess. 

Cosmo: Week One, Early 2011
His story explained his low weight. He allegedly was found wandering the woods in West Virginia. He was scared and young. No way did he want anyone to touch his ears. He didn’t even know how to eat a small piece of carrot or apple.

As with most rescues, he responded quickly to a carefully administered diet to gradually bring him up to weight. Patty got the worst of the filth off of him at first, but gave him some space to adjust to his new environment and gain her trust before attempting a full-blown bath. Wish I had a video of that adventure!

Lots of dewormer later and after a vet check, he was ready for full human intervention. I remember the day we treated him with lice powder. Easier said than done to treat a squirmy youngster with that stuff and not coat ourselves in it. That was also the day we readied a small paddock near the back of the property.  After a month in his stall, he was ready to leave his quarantine. I think this video says it best:


Patty could tell right away that Cosi, Cosmo, Cosimoto, Cosmonaut, The Coz (they all end up with more than one nickname, don’t they?) had a natural desire to please. With no idea about how he had been trained, Patty saw that he had had some handling. He reacted calmly to having his hooves trimmed and accepted a halter and would lead. He seemed comfortable with tack. But the barn owner summed it up best when she observed that he was “cowboy broke.”  With a rider on his back, he said “time to go!” And so, his re-education began. 

Here are Cosmo and Patty just working on a quiet walk in the round pen after several months. He tries so hard!



About a year later, and what a difference. His coat shines. He greets you at his stall door every time. He stands on the cross ties quietly. He is learning to go forward and straight in the ring. His talent is riding out alone or with a group on a trail. No matter how many speeding bike riders, screaming kids in strollers or barking dogs he encounters, Patty is able to ride him on the buckle. 

He loves his Jolly ball. And, yes, he loves carrots and apples. And bananas.

Photo: Cosmo one year after coming to ARF
Patti and The Coz -- He is such a ham for the camera.
This was taken close to his one year anniversary at the barn.
More to come on Cosmo…