Who she was…
Salty was bred to be a competitive reining horse. Reining horses must be very agile and fast and intelligent, and are known for their very spectacular long sliding stops from a dead gallop. Salty comes from distinguished and well-known purebred American Quarter Horse bloodlines.
Salty had an accident in the training pen as a youngster, probably when 2 or 3 years old. She panicked when a long line got caught on the saddle. When she panicked, she tried to climb or jump out of the pen. Her back leg became caught, and when she landed she fractured her hock (a large joint in the hind leg) and also damaged her pelvis and her neck.
After some time off to heal up, she was sold to be a broodmare, to produce other reining horses. Salty had healed enough to stop most of her pain and be functional, but mentally and physically she was not rideable. Her fractured hock had healed with calcium deposits, leaving it much larger than the other hock. She had scar tissue in her neck, and likely a torn sacroilliac.
When the breeding farm closed down, Salty was given to me to rejoin her herd buddy Sugar (already at Barakah Farm).
Who she is now…
Salty has made big improvements physically. The calcium deposits are smaller, and on her good days she runs without a limp.
Mentally, she is still prone to panic attacks when wearing a saddle. We are working on this, and I’m hopeful she can beat it.
Interestingly, Salty has singled out and helped veterans who have visited the farm. One of the most amazing instances was a guest with a head injury who was very loud and also had jerky large body movements. Normally, the loud voice and big movements send horses running. Salty in particular is not always trusting of men, especially men that might be perceived as aggressive. I turned my back for a moment and discovered that the man had entered the pasture without me, and was making a beeline for Salty. Instead of running from him, Salty calmly let him approach. He was trying to pet her neck, his movement more like hits than stroking. Salty simply wrapped her head and neck around his body and held him while he “petted” her.
Salty is also probably the most courageous and intelligent mare I have ever met. A couple years back, Salty was stricken with severe colic. (Colic is severe pain in the intestine, and can be deadly, either directly or from the damage the horse does to him/herself thrashing around to escape the pain). Salty fought the colic for a week, and she never panicked. She very calmly would sit and lay down and sit and change position, until she managed to shift something inside (probably a partial obstruction from a lipoma) and was then fully recovered.
Salty is not currently part of our riding program, because of her mental trauma. But she gladly participates in all the unmounted classes and in meeting guests, and is very kind and gentle.