There are two new horses, Amos and Levi, that I am working on now along with a handful of donkeys. Amos is the one who's feet I remembered to take pictures of so he is the first one to talk about.
Amos is in his mid twenties and came to live in his new home this Spring. He is a Standardbred who likely started out his career many years ago as a harness racing horse. From there, he went to the Amish and has been a hard working cart horse his whole life.
The Amish I have met are generally like most people, some are really nice, some are really awful and most fall somewhere in between. Some Amish love their animals and take great care of them. Many Amish have animals only because they have to. For the later, caring for their horses is the same as me caring for my car. I tend its needs and maintain it well, but it is just an inanimate machine to me. When it gets too old to do its job, I'll ship it down the road with little care about where it ends up, which is basically what happened to both Amos and Levi.
Amos came here severely underweight and emotionally shut down after a lifetime of being used like a machine. He has been slowly, but steadily putting weight on and coming out of his shell since arriving at this farm. In his mid twenties, he is finally learning what a cookie is.
I have always felt that Standardbreds are rather undervalued horses. They tend to be good-natured, stoic, even-tempered horses who have a lot to offer. Unfortunately, they often come off the track too crippled to work. Those who make it through their racing career intact don't always make the best riding horses because their gaits are not terribly comfortable, especially the pacers, so they are not desired as riding horses. They don't have the exposure or cache that the OTTB's (Off Track Thoroughbreds) have gotten in recent years and most horse people will turn their noses up at the mere mention of Standardbreds. One of the few places left for good driving horses in today's world is with the Amish. Most Standardbreds leave the race tracks to either go straight to the Amish or onto a slaughter-bound truck.
Amos had come to the end of his usefulness to the Amish because he has gotten old enough to need a bit more than bare minimum care. He was bound for a final, one way trip to Canada when Dave bought him a few months ago.
Dave uses Amos and Levi for pleasure driving a few times a week. He greatly appreciates Amos' steady, rock-solid work ethic and Amos is greatly enjoying learning about cookies and kind words.
To be continued.....