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Friday Spotlight: Taz the Feral Rescue Yearling

Published: 2020-05-14

We’ve talked about the school horses, the show horses, the dressage horses, and the eventers, but it’s time we address another portion of the horse population: the rescues! Horses who are unfortunately in precarious situations and find themselves without a person or a home.

We’ve talked about the school horses, the show horses, the dressage horses, and the eventers, but it’s time we address another portion of the horse population: the rescues! Horses who are unfortunately in precarious situations and find themselves without a person or a home. So many of these rescues, given time and proper care, can have new beginnings and go onto to be one of those show horses, school horses, or companions. Taz was one of these horses, rescued as a yearling just last March from an organization called The Horse Shelter in New Mexico.

Taz was found with four other yearlings wandering around a local town, feral and untouchable. After being brought to the shelter, “the others came along and made progress but Taz was not adapting to their program,” according to Shawna Karrasch Lead Trainer at Via Nova Training, a positive reinforcement based training program. Taz “was an extreme case who would actually throw herself into panels in order to avoid contact with people. She came to Via Nova Training  with self-inflicted injuries and a lot of fear. We also received warnings about how unpredictable and dangerous she could be around people.”

With time and patience, Shawna and the team at Via Nova Training gained Taz’s trust, “We started by being with her at feeding time which was hay.  We would be in her enclosure but far from her feeding area.  Pretty soon our presence, with distance, was tolerated and she would eat without too much worry.  Next, We got closer until we could be nearby.  Then we start sprinkling Cavalor feed on her hay.  We would watch for how much was left when the hay was gone.  Rather quickly we noticed that she would push her hay aside to eat the feed that had fallen to the bottom! Since we use feed-based, positive reinforcement training, this was a big step. Now we were onto something!”

After this, Shawna helped to switch the whole barn to Cavalor. “Taz currently is getting Cavalor’s Juniorix - We think she took to the feed so quickly because it is similar a horse’s natural diet.  In our experience, heavily processed feeds can take long for a young or feral horse to get used to. For now, she simply gets the Cavalor Juinorix, since it is made for the young horse’s needs.  It is important that young horses get the proper balance of nutrients as they grow and develop to avoid problems that can arise from non-age-appropriate feeds.  We really appreciate that research is a key factor in all Cavalor’s feeds, supplements and care products - it gives us confidence that we am doing the best we can for our new addition.”

“Now, we are busy building Taz’s confidence and trust in people, so we are going slow and letting her choose to interact with us or not. We are happy to report that Taz nickers when we approach and leaves her hay to come interact with her humans. We can now hand feed Taz her Cavalor and she will follow us; her curiosity has skyrocketed, she explores, and interacts with her environment.  We haven’t touched her yet, but we have a training plan in place, and it will be her choice when it happens.  One day she will love her grooming and pampering but for now we wait.”

We wish Shawna and the team at Via Nova Training the best with Taz, and we hope to be kept up-to-date on her progress!

 

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