It’s been a long day, but with good news.
Aisha traveled to Annabessacook Veterinary Clinic in Monmouth, Maine on Monday April 27, 2015 for her visit with Dr. Charlie Brown. The trip was made possible by financial donations from many donors over the past year and a half. Nancy Dumond Violette drove Aisha the 90 miles to Linneus, Maine, where Adam Hutchinson and Tiffany Watkins transferred Aisha (and Nancy) to Adam’s rig for the larger balance (198 miles) of the trip to Monmouth, Maine.
When at Annabessacook Veterinary Clinic, Aisha met with Dr. Charlie Brown, whose job was to diagnose and treat Aisha, possibly even with surgery. Aisha’s behaviors and some preliminary tests, although not conclusive, pointed to the possibility of an ovarian tumor which could be removed. Although, thankfully, when using the ultrasound, Dr. Brown did not find an ovarian tumor; she did however advise some treatment options for Aisha’s stud-like and bullying behaviors.
After a discussion of Aisha’s history with humans and horses, Dr. Brown recommended that Aisha be placed in the hands of a patient, but stern horse lover who will work her in harness daily and allow her live with other horses that are larger than she is. This will hopefully break the cycle of her bullying other horses, and occasional attempts to bully humans as well. These are learned behaviors that she came to Van Buren with, which manifested when her health improved (Aisha was 400#s underweight when she arrived April 2012). Dr. Brown explained that working in harness helps the horse not to associate with the human to bully, and Aisha will be able to get the exercise she needs without going sour after only a few minutes.
We are over-joyed that Aisha did not need surgery, which would mean staying at Annabessacook Veterinary Clinic for a few days, and follow up with our County Vet, Dr. Swanson. We also found Dr. Brown’s thoughts and recommendations to be validating what we already believed to be in Aisha’s best interest; driving in the hands of a respected and competent horse lover. Knowing only a little of her past, Nancy already suspected ‘learned behavior patterns’ to be part of Aisha’s problem. The part about living with bigger herd members made tremendous sense. All of her previous stable mates have been smaller and easy to boss around, even fight with.
Aisha is a wonderful horse, beautiful to see, and has drawn many people toward her at Manes and Tails at Perfect Ponies Learning Center. It is not her fault that she was allowed the improper behaviors leading to her being separated from other horses, putting on a bit too much weight and trying occasionally, to bully humans. Her acting out was nipped in the bud when it started at Manes and Tails, and did not escalate. However, a warning, and a lesson for all: she could actually become dangerous if the unacceptable behaviors were allowed and continued to escalate. Instead, she has been an asset to her present location, offering ring and trail riding, EAL services, vaulting and just enough driving to see that’s something she really enjoys.
Next step: relocating Aisha where she will be exercised and treated fairly, without creating undue stress on her or the Manes and Tails staff.