From tragedy to healing to loving so many… meet TEDDY

The horses at TCTC are living testament that we can survive hardship. Everyone working here knows their stories and how HOPE fuels healing.

I thought you’d like to share Teddy’s Roosevelt’s… 

A scruffy but elegant little one-eyed Appaloosa POA (Pony of the Americas) was discovered in 2015 in the back yard of an older lady living in downtown Portland. She’d passed away in her home but wasn’t discovered for two weeks.

She had been generously caring for a hoard of cats and dogs. Officials who came to save them were astonished to find yet another soul…an emaciated PONY with an eye so badly infected it had to be removed. He had virtually no muscle. He was untrained and weak but compliant.

TCTC was asked to take him but we were full-plus at the time. PAWS stepped in to offer a volunteer’s sheep pasture. They named the forlorn little guy “Teddy Roosevelt” and started fattening him up with a complete pelleted feed because the grass he tried eating just fell from his mouth. He couldn’t chew it. Another volunteer donated a warm blanket to fend off winter gales battering the barren hillside. The well-insulated sheep thrived there but the scrawny Pony was relentlessly exposed to its driving weather. Volunteers built a lean-to to help him survive a particularly bad storm but found a shivering pony hugging its rubble next morning as it had blown down overnight. TCTC was requested again to please take Teddy immediately. We went to meet him but it was a couple more months before we could resolve his plight. He had survived winter, and our number of horses grew by one. Little did we know how this amazing little horse would CHANGE the lives of everyone he came to love. With a special grant from National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), TCTC started treating Teddy’s numerous conditions with intense rehabilitation, reconditioning and retraining.

It “took a village”, as they say. From the moment Teddy left his sheep friends and was practically lifted into the horse trailer by a determined young TCTC volunteer, Lily Brod, his life changed. The points of his teeth were “floated” smooth so they no longer pierced his gums. He could finally chew grass and some hay. Alfalfa leaves were hand-stripped from stems to provide fresh protein; blood tests identified food allergies and nutritional deficiencies. The thick mucous globbing his nostrils eventually cleared, his coughing eased and he stopped drooling mucous and passing explosive bouts of gas resulting from his allergies and leaky gut. His digestive system improved enough to form stools and the sores on his body from patches of ugly fungus also healed. His eye cavity quit draining and crusts were gradually replaced with smooth, soft skin and hair. He was wormed, washed by Lily’s youngest sister, Ann, and groomed. His hooves were meticulously rasped by TCTC’s farrier Lisa Lichte every 4 weeks, treated for Thrush (hoof rot), and with the help of supplements and conditioners, regrown.

After his bathing, extensive grooming to bring his mottled, thick coat to a sleek, healthy luster; extensive hoof care, conditioning and corrective shoeing; allergy management, supplementation, probiotics, chiropractic treatments, reconditioning and training, we realized how smart Teddy was. Arabian bloodlines somewhere in his ancestry contribute to his delicate head, perky ears, innate intelligence, agility, endurance and stylish movement which includes a 4th gait, much like a Tennessee Walker’s “running walk”. But nothing prepared us for Teddy’s sweet nature, his listening skills and “try.”

Chiropractic adjustments, equine massage and conditioning gradually helped realign Teddy’s spine which had grown crooked from walking bent to compensate for vision impairment from his lost left eye.  As his nutrition improved he healed enough to start conditioning exercises, building topline muscle. Working BOTH SIDES of the horse’s body and BRAIN; committed love, shelter, food and care; exercise to help him balance and use his body correctly despite his lost eyesight; and gaining his trust, worked its magic.  

Teddy had a willing, careful temperament and clearly wanted to discover his life’s work, even when anxious about being away from the herd or struggling with his diminished depth perception or turning issues. Teddy’s team: Lily and her sisters, Ann and Grace; Bonnie and Austrian dressage trainer Eva Haynes Hall, and driving trainer Krista Tanner, started him. He’s now fully trained to line drive, is ridden in and out of the arena confidently; carefully negotiate trail challenges on the ground and trail riding off property in new environments; and can be driven at home, away, and in clinics and competitions, all just for fun and learning.

Teddy knows 30 words including “over”, “back“, “turn”, “walk”, “trot”, “canter”, “easy”, “wait’, “whoa”, “come”, “stand”; “foot” (to lift and independently hold up the hoof that’s rhythmically tapped for cleaning, treating or handling); “stretch”, “step”; and “up” for more energy in different scenarios; “head” to direct his head toward his human and/or “down” to lower it for grooming, checking his ears, clipping his bridle path, haltering or bridling. He cannot see the hand signals for gait transitions or changes of direction on his blind side but he responds to the words and the energy created from hand motions. He stands quietly, and ground-ties at liberty for during grooming, saddling, harnessing, being “put to” the carriage, or in the middle of an obstacle or a trail challenge. He even calmly backs up inn the middle of a marathon driving “hazard” while hitched to a carriage. Understanding and responding to words is a great training aid that helps Teddy calmly understand groundwork, riding (English or Western, arena or trails) and driving. 

After the years to recondition Teddy, starting with ground exercises and long lining/driving, riding and then driving, volunteer Amy Fellows dedicated herself to backing him up the pasture incline in hand, a few steps at a time, to help him  build more back muscle before she started learning to drive him. He has not been an “easy keeper”.  With financial support from NAVS, donors, sponsors, and TCTC’s incredibly dedicated medical team led by TCTC’s vet tech, Claire Sands;  Veterinarians Dr. Vic Alexander and Dr. Chris Wickliffe; Dr. Melissa Shaver, Equine Nutritionist, Chiropractor and Acupuncturist; Amanda Leto, Equine Masseuse; Dr. Denice Moffat, Naturopath; Wanda Walker, Bowen practitioner; Reiki energy work by volunteer Rachel Gene, and a host of loving Volunteers who have supported him, Teddy’s enthusiastic response and “try” during his recovery and training has been spectacular!

Teddy loves to play, and is famous for not only his hugs and loving licks or nibbles, but for grasping coat zippers between his teeth and sliding them slowly up and down, ever so gently, on their track. And he works enthusiastically and energetically in EVERY KIND OF WEATHER!

2023 is now ending. Teddy is believed to be well over 20 years old. He developed Cushings Disease, the equine counterpart to human Diabetes, but we caught and started treating it so early with daily medication he’ll have many years added to his life. He’s safely teaching kids their groundwork, and to ride; and adults, like Amy, to drive. He shows us all how to FEEL and LIVE, by helping in all the clinics, pony camps, and pulling his weight by LOVING everyone, every moment of every day, as they help HIM with his treatments. 

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