Arrived: 8/26/21 (Rescue)
Breed: Tennessee Walking Horse
Redemption (called Remi for short) came to be at the ranch on August 26th. He is a 20-year old Tennessee Walking Horse gelding. In the midst of a busy week assisting with Waverly, TN flood relief, we received a phone call from the Department of Agriculture. They had found a severely emaciated horse in someone's rocky, barren backyard. From observing Remi's condition it could be determined that his (now former) owner chose to stop caring for Remi, leaving him to suffer from starvation, dehydration, and overgrown teeth and hooves. Upon investigation by the Sheriff, Remi's former owner chose to surrender him and Remi went to stay temporarily with a kind neighbor while a call was made to us at Freedom Reigns. We were overjoyed to go pick him up and welcome him into our herd!
Remi's rehabilitative journey will be a long one as the neglect he has faced truly took a toll on his weight, hooves, and teeth. But his personality and fighting spirit has never wavered even in the face of starvation and we are confident that his recovery will be a complete one. Remi's journey is one where we can see how God takes things that the enemy meant for evil and turn it to good. We are so excited to share with you God's redemptive hand through Remi's story.
Remi's full story as it unfolds will be documented here:
The first month of having Remi has been amazing! From the first night we brought him in, it was clear that he had not known care for a long time. His back was covered in raintrot, hooves were long and cracked, he had ticks and parasites, and his mane and tail were matted into clumps (called "witches brooms"). His teeth are so overgrown that we've been having to soak his feed in water so that he can eat comfortably. Rehabilitating a starvation case like Remi is an around-the-clock job beginning with feeding him every three hours including overnight. Our amazing volunteers have truly outdone themselves by providing that constant care for Remi from the moment he set foot in our barn. The first 24 hours that Remi was with us, he drank a staggering 54 gallons of water! He continued drinking so much water that his ribs started to fill out and he got pockets of water by his armpits! As he rehydrated, the water pockets went away and he drank at a more normal pace. It's crazy to think that he might not have had water for a very very long time before coming to us.
Getting to know Remi has been the most fun part about bringing him in! He quickly realized that people = food! Every time he hears approaching voices and the barn gate open he lets out a loud whinny and will not stop until he gets his food or attention! He is genuinely sweet and curious, gently touching anything you hold out to him with his nose to inspect. Remi enjoys his short walks around the arena to help him build up his strength. He always walks with purpose like he has somewhere important to be. I have also never met a horse who LOVES scratches as much as Remi does. Because of his rainrot, part of our daily routine with him is to rub his back with Coat Defense powder or Equiderma lotion to help it heal. It is his favorite time of day and he will stick his upper lip out, lean his head back, and sway whenever we hit his favorite spot juuuust right. It has been a joy to see him recover and start to thrive in the Ranch environment.
We are so proud of the progress Redemption ("Remi") is making! He is thriving under the care of our volunteers and has improved significantly. As his body continues to get used to consistent food, we have been able to extend hours between feedings as well as the frequency. Remi enjoys his alfalfa between meals and will toss his hay bag in the air to make it fall out of the bag so he can eat it off the floor. The rainrot that coated his back upon arrival is nearly gone and he is able to freely enjoy his back scratches without it. We estimate that he only has about 100 pounds left to gain! Over the past month, we had some routine examinations and tests run for Remi including a visit from the Equine Dentist, vaccinations, and had a fecal test for worms and parasites. The results of Remi's fecal and dental exam are indicators of how he had been treated in his former life. We were sure that, due to the neglect Remi had faced, his teeth were overgrown and hindering his ability to eat and that his parasite count would be through the roof (800-1000). On the contrary, the Equine Dentist found that Remi's teeth had recently been floated (trimmed down so they didn't grow too long). And shockingly, Remi's parasite count was at a meager 200. His care like deworming and teeth had been maintained, he was just being starved. We are so grateful to the Sheriff who did right by Remi and got him out of his situation.
We categorize Remi as a "left-brained extrovert" meaning he is charismatic, high-energy, confident, and likes to use his brain to figure things out. Because of this, Remi is a quick learner and seems to genuinely enjoy training. Since he has such an enthusiastic, "go-getter" personality it has been important to teach him basic instructions right away so he starts building good habits. Remi has enjoyed turn-out in the arena where he can stretch his legs and meet the rest of the herd members over the fence. He loves to run around but is always happy to return to his stall afterward.
We always said before bringing in Remi, that we knew God had the right horse for us and we knew his name would be "Redemption," we just didn't know what horse God had for us. Upon getting Remi and learning his story, it reminds us of Isaiah 43:1, "But now thus says the LORD, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine." Even before being rescued, Remi's name had been called and his future was being secured. We are so honored to be a part of Remi's healing journey. Through God's grace, Remi's story of pain and neglect is being redeemed to one of adoration and love.
Remi has had the quickest recovery of any rehabilitation case we've had! He hasn't had a single hiccup in his recovery and has only been steadily gaining weight and growing more relaxed. When we first got Remi in, he was restless and would constantly pace around his stall. He was still in survival mode because he wasn't sure where his next meal would come from. Now he is completely relaxed and loves to hang out with people in his stall. He has completely won our hearts. Remi has been excelling in learning his manners especially now that he knows he can trust us. He is so eager to please and works very hard to earn our approval.
Remi's only struggle right now is learning how to enjoy freedom. Every time we turn him out to pasture, he will pace relentlessly at the barn gate, working himself up to a lather, until someone lets him back in. We have never seen anything like it. Normally whenever a horse is turned out, they will make a beeline towards the pasture and revel in their newfound freedom. But Remi is terrified of it. After some discussion and consideration, we have come to the conclusion that Remi is afraid of being away from the stall because he's worried that being out means he will not get fed. After months of starvation in a pasture, he now equates the pasture with hunger. It scares him so badly that he can't relax until he's back in his stall. This is something I think we all can relate to- wanting to stay in our comfort zone and letting the fear of the unknown hold us back from the freedom that Jesus won for us. Our founder, Carissa, discusses this in the blog post, "Learning Freedom." which you can read here.
So where do we go from here and how do we teach Remi that freedom isn't something to be afraid of? Right now we are starting small by giving him his meals in the arena. He can be outside his stall but with his food so that he can associate his food with something other than the stall. We have given him the stall on the end of the row (as opposed to the middle) so that he can see outside and get used to other horses near him. Lastly, we have paired him up with our new baby donkey, Flair, and given them the stalls next to each other. We're hoping that giving him a buddy will help increase his confidence when they're both turned out. We will keep you updated on Remi's journey as he learns how to accept his other pasture mates and get used to being in the outdoors again.
Remi is just a few pounds shy of his optimal weight! We are so incredibly proud of him and his fight to survive despite all the odds. He has been doing so well that we were able to take him on his very first ride with one of our volunteers! He did so well! Since then he has been ridden twice now, the last time without a lead rope! His walk is quick and eager with the clunkiest gait we have ever seen. It's like he is so eager to move forward that he forgets where to put his feet. When Remi first arrived at the ranch, he didn't know that pressure on his nose from a halter meant to stop and back up. Under the guidance of our volunteers, he learned it very quickly and now under saddle, will stop on a dime! Whenever we get in new rescue horses, we always evaluate to see if they are a good fit for session work and if it's something that they would enjoy. Remi's doing so beautifully and it is looking like he will make an amazing session horse after some more training!
Remi has also been gaining confidence and courage throughout the last month. Giving him his breakfast and dinner in the arena has done wonders for him! He has grown comfortable outside to the point where he has been able to stand under the run-in by the barn without panic. He has become besties with Flair the donkey so that whenever Flair gets turned out, Remi wants to follow. At one point, we led him down into the lower pasture so that he could see and explore with someone he trusts. When we took him off, he looked around for a bit and then headed straight back to the barn. It was a little discouraging but low and behold, not even an hour later, Remi decided to go into the pasture all on his own! Since then he has slowly started to go down there all by himself. While he will eventually come back up to the barn, he has been exploring and munching on hay with all the other horses. Remi has come so incredibly far since his first arrival and we could not be more thrilled with how he is improving.