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Kiwi thoroughbred Shaun aiming to eat out Kansas

July 18, 2011

Kiwi thoroughbred Shaun has taken a liking to Kansas grass, and is tolerating the summer heat of the land-locked state much better since his arrival early in June.

Deb reports that Cusack is gaining weight and starting to feel at home.
Shaun, who raced under the name Cusack, is now living with Deb Johnson's family, after a fundraising effort by Horsetalk readers helped rescue him from kill pens in Washington state.

Deb fell in love with him and was determined to give him a new home, with hopes of a new career in competitive trail riding.

However, he was light, but he is gradually putting on condition on a diet of grass and supplementary feed. He is also getting used to life in a herd environment.

Deb reports today that Kansas is stringing together a series of 100deg fahrenheit days.

"Shaun seems to be tolerating the heat better than me," she says.

"I have a misting system installed in the horse shelter so that he has a place to go that is about 30 degrees cooler if he needs to.

"He uses it, but he also can be found eating out in the full sun, most of the day, as well.

"He eats like no horse I have ever known. Did you see the movie Sea Biscuit? They talked about how Sea Biscuit would eat huge amounts ... Shaun never stops eating.

"Luckily, he'll never have to stop eating here. There is limitless pasture most of the year, and huge round bales in the winter for him to graze on."

"I think he's put on all the weight he is going to, for now. His ribs are no longer showing, but his butt bones are still very visible.

"When it cools down, I am going to trailer him to a chiropractor in Kansas City and see if we can help him with his uneven hip bones. I think it is from favoring the leg with the pin in it.

"He moves fine, but I'm not sure how comfortable he is. I do a lot of Ttouch and massage with him, and that seems to be helping him, too.

"His bug bites have greatly reduced. I've heard horses that aren't healthy tend to attract more flies, and it makes sense.

"As he's gained weight, and started feeling better, his bug bites have significantly reduced. The other day it rained, so the temperature went down quite a bit.

"All the horses were pretty wet, and feeling frisky. The whole herd started bounding about, especially Hawk, Gunner and Shaun. They played for almost 10 minutes ... running, bucking, snakey necking, and crow hopping.

"I've seen Shaun play a tiny bit once, and it was just a few seconds. That day, he looked like he finally felt good."

Shaun is still finding his place in the herd, but Deb expects it will be only a matter of time.

"This morning, he led at liberty when I brought him back into the shelter for some cooling mist, after scooting Gunner to the side. I think he's finally starting to trust me."

Despite the tough time Shaun had at his last home, he shows a growing trust for Deb.

"Horses are such forgiving souls, they seem to give every new human a chance," she says.

Deb says she does not have saddle that would be a good fit for him. He needs a cut-back saddle, so she has been looking at Kieffers.

Deb says she has started Cynthia Royal's program, and will be doing liberty work with Shaun and the other horses.

"It will be a good way to play with him, even if I can't ride him. Every horse enjoys playing and having their minds used in a good way. He's taken quite well to clicker training, as well.

"All in all, he seems to be doing OK. Rather withdrawn, and not sure what to do with the herd situation. Gunner was like that for a long time, but he's finally getting the hang of it. The one thing we have is time."



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