I came across this boy by accident - described to be registered, 15 hands, close to bombproof, recovering from EPM and rideable.....
Well, he's right at 15 hands but looks smaller for some reason. I'm not sure if he is rideable at this point. He had EPM in October-2005, was successfully treated, recovered, but still shows signs of "damage" in his rear end at times - lacking muscles and sometimes control. But when running with the herd you can't tell that anything is wrong with him, at least not w/o paying close attention.
Here is what I was told about Boots:
"Our vet diagnosed Boots with EPM (October-2005) and suggested we treat him with the Marquis medicine for it right away and so we did. He said if we see any improvements in 7 days of starting the medicine, that is a good sign he will recover. We saw major improvements in 3 days with him walking and moving around. We talked with 2 different people that work with EPM horses and they both said it can take up to a year for the horse to fully recover, but they have to be worked with on a regular basis. We worked with him for a couple of months and he is rideable, but he tires quickly. I just don't have the time to work with him like he needs to be worked with to build his muscles & stamina back up. And we have since gotten another horse and so I had to move him over to my dad's farm because we didn't have the space for him. So he is with 5 other horses on 50 acres and is able to run with them. When you see him running in the pasture with the other horses, you can't even tell anything is wrong with him. But when you get on him, you can feel that he is not as smooth as he should be. He has a hard time transitioning into his gaits. He also takes good care of the yearling there too. He is a very lovable horse and is easy to catch. He is up to date on his shots and has a current neg. Coggins...."
"...I think Boots would be a good starter horse...... He was my first horse purchase. He would be able to make the trip without any problem I think. As long as he is going to be with other horses, he should be okay. He doesn't like to be alone. .... He is not on any medications or special diet. We gave him the Marquis medicine for one month to kill the parasite and that is all he needed. He did lose a lot of weight though and so we fed him a high protein sweet feed to fatten him up and he is fine now. He is jet black now and not sun bleached anymore and looks good. ...... They get the disease by eating grain or hay where a possum has pooped that is carrying the parasite. And then they ingest it and it can damage their central nervous system if not caught early enough and treated right away. ......"
"Oh, I ride him every now and then and he is still very responsive. He hasn't forgotten anything. He is neck reined and will respond to your kiss or a nudge in the side. He is also very responsive in the round pen too. My husband has worked with him in there too. ....."
"Boots may be a little taller than 15 hands. I don't remember his exact measurements. ... I have not had shoes on him for the past year, but he is fine with his feet. We just keep him trimmed. My farrier has never had a problem with him. He stands there without any trouble. We use a standard Western Walking Horse bit. He has also used a snaffle bit with the previous owner."
"The only sign he still shows is some Ataxia in his back left leg. You can see it when we work him in the round pen and you get him to switch directions. He has some trouble trying to turn on his back legs. But that is just due to his muscles not being built back up yet. He has never fallen with me on him or with me off of him. And he gets tired after 20 min. of working in the round pen or just out for a short ride. One of my Dad's pastures has a long slope, so I would walk him up and down that for exercise. Again, the major key in treating this disease is getting the medicine in them as soon as possible to prevent further damage. This happened in the wee hours of the night and we were at the vet's office first thing the next morning to get the medicine. He doesn't carry it with him because you have to buy a month's supply to the tune of $850. A friend of a friend of ours horse got EPM and she was able to rehabilitate her horse and she is showing him again."
"Boots is around dogs, cats, donkeys and 4-wheelers all the time and has no problem with any of them. Gaited horses are naturally gaited, but you have to train them to transition into their different gaits so they are smooth. Boots has been trained, but due to the EPM, he has a hard time staying in one gait. His coordination is not all together. So I would work with him on a walk for a while and make him stay there. Then the next time I would walk and then trot and try to keep him there... and so on. He is much smoother in a fast rack or a canter. He is very sensitive on his sides, so all you have to do is either squeeze him with your knees or nudge him in the sides and he will respond. And you just keep doing that until you get him at the pace you want. I usually keep a tight rein on him and he responds better. And when you are ready to stop him, be ready because he is very choppy, if you are going fast."
01/30/2007: Boots has been running, fighting and playing with the herd for 8 days now and he's doing great. He can't quite understand why all horses are so much bigger than him...LOL Out on pasture he looks and seems like a healthy horse, and he loves to run and play !! In my opinion, all this horse-play will certainly exercise and strengthen his muscles, maybe more than daily walks with a human ever could.....
There is NO REASON why Boots shouldn't be able to be ridden after a few more weeks / months of recovery, but maybe only by children or small adults - depending on weight and activity. Boots shouldn't be used for jumping, barrel racing, or any other high-strong activities like that. Occasional pleasure rides or arena work would be more suitable. Maybe even driving !?
BOOTS is ready to go to a new home right away. SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY, PLEASE !