Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc. ----Discussion Forum

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Jenni O.
Congratulations to Hubert and adopter! Did they get a free step ladder for getting on him?

I dreamed of her, and she appeared.  That sounds funny, but I will tell you that in the 15+ years that we have been working in horse rescue and adoption, Hubert is one of the most difficult placements that we have ever been presented with.  This has been a long haul with Hubert in every respect.  Getting him up to health weight-wise, teeth and feet was a haul, but emotionally is where Hubert has really struggled (which ties into the rest of it, of course) and what his life has been in the past plays a huge role in this.  Bringing him to the other side and having him be a good citizen within a herd and not killing any people in the process has been both a struggle and a joy, and one of the most rewarding processes I personally have been through.  To find a person who was going to accept Hubert, not be completely intimidated by him and his antics (believe me, he would put even the best horse people on the planet through the paces) and want to welcome him into their life was our next step after getting him healthy physically and emotionally.  Did this person exist?  I did dream of her (sorry guys, but I dreamed up a woman for this role), and lo and behold, she sent an email, an application and then actually made the 6+ hour trip to come and meet Hubert.  She was everything I dreamed of. She has experience with a kinda snotty Warmblood in her recent past (that mare sounds like Hubert's twin), an excellent rider, a true feel for what we do here, and a mutual love and respect for Buck Brannaman (if you're going to pick a guru, pick a good one, right?).  Here she was in the flesh, and she has a name, Jennifer.  Jennifer came to meet Hubert, made this long trip by herself to meet this big beautiful horse she was told about and see what he had.  Hubert pulled out all the stops.  Hubert gave it his best to intimidate Jennifer.  We have had a lot of new horses in the pasture over the past month, and Hubert doesn't take well to change and this had flipped him on his ear a bit.  Hubert behaved his absolute worst for Jennifer, which is a good thing, she needed to see what he is capable of.  She got through all of that and rode him.  Most people would never get past the ground stuff and even think of getting on him (other than our Priscilla who handles everything that gets thrown at her like the pro she is).  Hubert is a dream under saddle and we were happy to see Jennifer be able to enjoy that.  Then we heard the words that we anticipated...."I'd love to adopt him"  Yes!  

Hubert is still here with us, but arrangements are being made for Hubert to head home soon.  My forever and very heartfelt appreciation goes out to Priscilla and Jennifer both.  

Here are a couple of pictures from Hubert's adoption day, 5/7/2016.  We will keep everyone updated on Hubert's actual departure, and we really look forward to the updates in the future.  

Thank you Jennifer!  


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Lisa B.
What an awesome pair!  Congratulations!
Wow! And don't forget to give yourself credit for your blood, sweat and tears thru this whole process. No small feat. Congrats to all!
Congratulations to Jennifer and Hubert!  He is one beautiful boy!  Please post updates and pictures.
Jenni O.
Congratulations! How does it feel to have adopted a horse with a reputation like that? I suspect Hubert won't be pulling stuff for very long. You two look like a great pair. And definitely, Buck Brannaman is one of the best gurus a person could possibly pick.
Congratulations Jennifer!  All those antics and you still climbed aboard Mr. Tall Pants? Whew! You go girl!!  I hope you do update his thread once in a while so we can follow your story with him.  I'm so happy Hubert is getting a chance at a fabulous life with you!!  yay!!
What a fantastic story...all of it!  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  I sure appreciate the honesty that goes with Hubert and all the horses.  I do believe that is a main ingredient in your recipe for success!  Not to mention all the blood, sweat, and tears that go into this program and the horses luck enough to be in it!

A heartfelt congratulations to Jennifer and Hubert!  We are all looking forward to the updates [smile]
Congratulations!!   You make a beautiful pair!  He has to have some great redeeming qualities - he IS part Belgian!!
Hello everyone! I am Hubert's adopter and am very excited to get him home! I can't begin to express what an honor it was to meet everyone at MHWF. In all my years of riding It is rare to find a place as wonderful as this. Everyone was warm, welcoming, and passionate about the mission of the organization. Saturday was a true blessing in so many ways. I promise to keep posting updates of Hubert's progress! I am already making arrangements to take him to Missy and Kip Fladland who utilize Buck Brannaman's methods in working with horses. Missy especially helped me with my previous mare and I am very anxious to work with her with Hubert while we embark on our new partnership and continue to grow and learn together. Stay tuned for further updates!
Jennifer, you put a smile on my face with your sincere post.  Wishing you a fantastic journey with your new friend Hubert and yes we look forward to many updates (and pictures please) [cool]
Phew, he is HUGE!  Congratulations to Hubie and his human!
congratulations to Hubert and Jennifer!
Scott: MHWF
Some of you may have noticed that Hubert went from being listed as adopted to available and even got relisted as free to a good home, and we feel we need to explain....

Yesterday was a heart-breaking day MHWF. Jennifer, Hubert's new adopter, drove 7 hours each way yesterday to come and pick up Hubert. She was also going to adopt Shamika as a pasture buddy for Hubert.....a very big deal, especially considering Hubert has been with us for almost a year and Shamika has been here much longer than that.

Anyway, we were all really excited. We got all the paperwork done, grabbed Shamika and Hubert and went to load them into the trailer. Hubert got right in, no problem, but once he was in, he completely blew.......bucking in the trailer, kicking and generally losing it.....he was super ticked off. After about 1/2 hour of watching his behavior and waiting for him to settle down, it became clear that this was not going to work for a 7 hour trailer ride back to Iowa.

Not only did his behavior break our hearts and certainly Jennifer's heart, but it also blew Shamika's shot at a new home.

We have poured a ton of work into Hubert, getting him used to being part of a herd and out on pasture, teaching him manners, getting him sound and looking good. We were really proud to see him go from what he was when he came in to the new horse that he is now....then he had his blow up in the trailer. To say we are disappointed in him is a major understatement and he broke Jennifer's heart as well.

We have done what we can for Hubert and it is time for him to move on to his new home. He rides great, is sound, healthy and current on everything that a horse needs. We are simply eliminating his adoption fee in the hope that someone comes along very soon to give him his new home.
Jenni O.
[frown] That's pretty awful news. Hubert, you fool!!! I'm sorry it didn't work out.
Oh that is heart breaking news!  So sorry for both horses.  It's certainly disappointing... but you have to have faith that the right thing will come along for both of them.  Hope he didn't injure himself or anyone else during his fit in the trailer.
Thank goodness he did not hurt anyone in his fit.  The trailer did get damaged and I feel horrible about that as well.  Hubert is a bit sore, but no worse for wear from the incident.  
OH no, I am so so sad.. this brought me to tears.  If only you could reason with horses.. If only he knew what he was blowing.  So sorry for all of you to have such a horrible day.  [frown]
Diane B
Aww...Dang it!!
Denise H
I was reading the forum about Hubert...what a heart breaking day for all involved. Karen, could you help me to understand what would make a horse do that..was he afraid of the trailer..he didn't want to leave...he is so good in every other respect..you brought him so far. I hope Jennifer will find another good match...and another adopter is in the future.
Denise, I will try and take a shot at answering, as we are trying to figure out exactly why he would do that as well.  We have a few theories, but that is what they are is theories really.  

Where Hubert came from he lived in the stall and paddock situation, not out with other horses.  He came here and had a rough transition, didn't know what to think or how to act and it took a long time for him to adjust.  As you can see from his weight and body, as time went on and he settled, he gained a tremendous amount of weight from what his weight was on arrival.  This tells me that Hubert was finally happy and that he probably was not very happy with his living situation previously, which probably kept him fairly stressed and just not in the body weight that he should have been at.  I can attest to Hubert not gaining weight while he is stressed because it took until he was very settled before he would even think about gaining weight.  It was quite a struggle, but it finally happened and as you can see, he pretty much changed body type...went to looking more like a draft actually with all of that weight gain.  From the time Hubert got here, he would even test us, he seemed confused and when Hubert isn't comfortable with something, he pushes his way around and tries to intimidate his handler.  He even charged us in the pasture a couple of times right at the beginning.  I am typing this all out here to give you the whole picture of who Hubert is, which we share with people in person, it is so much easier to talk about it than type it all out.  Hubert was not used to being with other horses and he went after other horses a lot at first, looking very aggressive.  Hubert was more fearful than anything and put on a big "tough guy act", as we call it.  Yes, most people would look at it and say "wow, that horse is aggressive towards the others", but what we saw was Hubert being fearful and stressed of another particular horse and putting on his big tough guy act, and we know this because once he was presented with a horse who didn't buy his BS, he backed off.  Don't get me wrong, it was a real pain in the behind and there was some aggression there towards others, but we felt in time that would fade...which it really has for the most part.  
Hubert does not like change, or doesn't do change well.  He likes things the way they are, and Hubert was finally more relaxed in his life here than he has been in a very long time, I would venture to guess.  When we first added a few new horses this spring, that kind of turned Hubert's world around again and he stressed that he might lose the couple of friends that he made out here.  When he could see that wasn't going to happen, Happy Hubert.  He has gotten to the point now that we were the ones more stressed about adding Onyx to the herd than he was...meaning that we really worried about it (we saw how they reacted to each other via being on the other side of the paddock from each other and it wasn't pretty).  We finally turned Onyx out and nothing, no fireworks, and Hubert minded his own business.  That is the first time he has been like that, and we are really happy about that.  

Hubert stresses fairly easily.  Hubert is huge and he knows it.  He will jig with his back feet and puff up with his handler and easily intimidates people on the ground.  He has gotten SO much better over time than the beast who arrived here, and if you just show him that you are not intimidated, he will behave well for you.  Hubert under saddle has never questioned a cue and is amazing under saddle, always, every single time.  Hubert has thrown a little hissy now and again about getting to the point of being ridden, but once you get through that he is ALWAYS well behaved under saddle.  (this points to a huge lack of ground work in his past and getting to the riding point somehow)

We go much more in depth with people to talk about Hubert, but that was a little background there and now onto the trailering thing.  We were thinking that Hubert came here in an big open stock trailer, because the hauler (Dean) who brought him here is a friend of ours and that is what they have.  But, when we sat down to talk this whole thing out between Scott and I, we realized that we had loaned Dean our 3-horse slant load trailer to go pick Hubert up in New Jersey.  Hubert rode in the front of that 3-horse slant, tied and with the partition closed and did fine on the trip.  Dean told us that when he picked Hubert up, he got the impression that the handlers that were there were fearful of Hubert, and they had even suggested tranquilizing Hubert to trailer him, but really did not say why.  They did have a little trouble handling and loading him, but they did get him loaded without being drugged, Dean went on his way and things went fine.  

The day that Jennifer came to pick Hubert up, we never dreamed Hubert was going to melt down the way he did once on the trailer....that thought never even crossed our minds.  I could envision Hubert throwing a fit about getting on the trailer, but he did not do that, he trusted that we all wanted him to hop on that trailer and he did that just fine.  Hubert really did not hesitate all that much at all to get on the trailer, went on, was put in the front and hooked to the trailer tie and the partition closed.  We had Shamika ready to go (who would have hopped right on by the way), and then Hubert just started melting down, bucking on the trailer, thrashing and just completely throwing a fit.  He damaged the trailer and almost went down at one point.  We tried to calm him, but he would just all of a sudden blow again and do the same thing.  Hubert completely stressed out, was shaking and solid ball of sweat. 
Why?  Why would Hubert previously get on a 3-horse slant, be tied in the front stall and not meltdown when he left where he was at, but then go through a period of being a very happy horse here in a herd with friends of his own (something he had never had before), having good ground work that enabled him to get on a trailer without any trouble, gaining all of that weight and being truly happy and well adjusted, and then meltdown when put on a trailer to leave.  I honestly cannot give a good solid answer to that.  

As far as what we will do to fix this, I am not sure of the exact course, but I do know that the next time Hubert gets on a trailer it will be a big open stock type.
Wow, wow, wow.  I know I am sort of stating the obvious theory but could it be that Hubert is smart enough that he started to overthink where he might be going - such as back where he came from (or someplace like it) and struck out at the thought of that? Either way, hugs to handsome Hubert and thank you Karen and Scott for doing right by him.   
We had a show horse that did the very same thing, not at first, but the more we hauled him the more he started to act up, getting a bit worse each time.  He would always walk on, was quiet for a time then would lean on the trailer wall and start to scramble and kick, holler and squeal, a lot. Leaving him to stand in the trailer just made it worse.  With him, we finally figured out he was claustrophobic and the only way we could haul him was in a van or trailer (six horse) that had a center walk in aisle and hauled him backwards. His stall in the trailer was always made larger, a stall and a half, more like a box stall and he was cross-tied, not single tied.  The higher the ceilings were the better (more roomy and brighter) and he always had at least one horse across the aisle facing him. He wasn't perfect but much better and could haul him that way without having to tranquilize him. We found that once the trailer was moving it seemed to quiet him down.  A regular even taller and wider trailer just wouldn't work, he would just go nuts in them.   At times we would give him a bit of a tranquilizer before trailing if we had a very long haul, not a lot, just to take the edge off until we got rolling. We always made sure everything was loaded and he and the other horses were the last thing to load. We also found he needed to have another quiet hauling horse with him to keep him company and never hauled alone.  I don't know if what we experienced will help or not, but may give you an idea of what's going on.  Also, if very attached to another horse in the pasture now he may be acting out because he was separated from his buddy.  Just some thoughts on my part.
Thanks db.  Hubert had one of his best buddies right there with him when this happened, so the buddy part wasn't it.  And he hasn't been hauled in a long time, since he got here, so I am pretty sure that it has nothing to do with the type of thing like repetitive hauling to things that may have stressed him out and hence eventually causing a horse to not want to stay on a trailer.  That is some of my line of thinking, regarding him possibly not wanting to be put in a stressful situation, such as where he came from, and being on that trailer meant he was going back to what he came from. (I think horses are a lot smarter than they get credit for many times.)  Very hard to say, that is just a guess.  He definitely could have a component of "claustrophobia" like so many horses do, no doubt about that.  It could also be that he has had episodes like this in the past and they always drugged him to trailer him and we just got lucky on that ride he took here to us where he had no issue.  
Like I said, the next time he gets on a trailer it will be a big open stock, for everyone's safety.  I will not practice with him with our 3-horse slant either...the thing isn't even paid for yet and I do not want to risk him trashing it, or him or anyone else getting hurt.  I will practice with him with an open stock (like a ride around the block kind of thing, since he has no issue getting on and off), but we do not have one and may have to borrow one....or someone may come along that wants to take Hubert home with them on a big open stock.
Mary V.
That is so sad that Hubert wouldn't settle down so his adopter could take him home. I know my old gelding stresses out if we put him in our 2 horse slant first, so our trusted 23 year old Appy mare goes in first and then he is a happy camper. I hope the next time goes better. Thank goodness nobody, human or horse was injured.
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