“After he saw what a mixed up horse Revolution was, Larry considered not taking Revolution out of practicality. His wife, Christy, convinced Larry that there was something special in Revolution’s eye. She told me, ‘You could see his soul. He needed help.'”
“Revolution” is a showy, 12-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse. Revolution was a “gimme” – a “you can have him” horse. Revolution seems to be a squirrel. How he was allowed to be so unsettled for 12 years is a mystery to me. Longtime horseman, Larry McMillan has taken on the task to help Revolution be a grounded, trail horse. Welcoming rescues/give-away horses can be an equine-funhouse challenge. By the way, the pretty boy got his name because of what happened when Larry tried to mount. Dramamine and nimble hopping skills needed. Trite, but true, “Don’t try this at home.”
Revolution and Larry
Owner/operator of Southeast Pack Trips (Jamestown, TN), Larry McMillan has led trail rides and pack trips all over the United States for many years. TN Walking Horses are the only breed Larry employs. He trusts them. They trust him. Enter Revolution! Revolution was a “twofer;” take one, get the other for free. There was something about the dark, 16+ hand gelding trying to be invisible in the corner. After he saw what a mixed up horse Revolution was, Larry considered not taking Revolution out of practicality. His wife, Christy, convinced Larry that there was something special in Revolution’s eye. She told me, “You could see his soul. He needed help.” Revolution is now Larry’s project. Side note, Larry can taste what a fine “just-for-him” trail horse he might have when Revolution learns what he needs to learn and unlearns whatever has caused him to be so tense.
You can gather from the video how Revolution got his name. Mounting is still an exercise in agitation. Once mounted, the horse is a thrilling, smooth mover on the trail. He seems to enjoy his new job as a trail horse. He is also learning to trust — to be less hand shy.
Larry suspects that the mounting and suspicion issues with people stem from Revolution’s possible past life as a “show horse.” The horse responds as if he might have been trained with pain. Encouraged by Christy’s belief in Revolution, Larry will create a plan to gather the resources needed to unravel the puzzle of Revolution’s behaviors and responses.
Rescues and Free Horses
Yes, rescue. Yes, consider that free horse. But, think with your head, not your heart or dazzled eyes. “Oh, that horse is really pretty and I’d look awesome on him.” “Oh, he needs me. I must save him.”
Recognize what you are getting into with any horse, but especially when considering what might be a high-maintenance “gimme” horse. Do you have the money/time to help it? Do you have the knowledge and/or resources to handle the re-education yourself? As with Theo (“Saving Theo” series) these horses can come with mental stability issues. How much does the horse know? How “broke” is broke? How was the horse “trained?” Does she have “show-horse” brain from training abuse and/or limited (or single focused) activity? Some of these horses don’t know how to be horses. Be prepared for possible setbacks. The horse may seem “cured” on Wednesday and “Gee, what happened?” on Thursday. Give the horse and yourself time to solidify the training.
Rescue saves horses from the terrifying auction process and most often, a grueling journey ending in a slaughter house. Assess yourself with honesty. Assess the horse with honesty. My experience as an observer tells me, just make sure you are committed with head, heart and pocketbook.
All in all, Larry said he knew when he settled into the saddle and Revolution’s brisk stride floated him down the trail that: “Oh yeah, this is my horse. Rock ‘n roll.”