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Hello!

Post by Caz on Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:19 am

Hi, I live in the Turks and Caicos Island (just south of the Bahamas). I have three 'Grand Turk' ponies - all rescues. The Grand Turk Pony is result of horses being left behind (and set free) when the salt industry collapsed in the 1880's. Over the past hundred or so years inbreeding has caused them to shrink to large ponies, but the harsh desert like climate and little grazing has created a tough easy keeper. Currently the numbers are declining as what little natural vegetation there is has been bulldozed to make room for homes and hotels on the two islands in the chain where the ponies roam freely. The Government also came up the brilliant idea a couple of years ago to round up all the ponies (and donkeys) on Grand Turk and put them in a pound. However, they did not take into account how much it would cost to feed a couple of hundred animals which resulted in a horrifyingly high mortality rate.
One of my ponies - Apache - was snuck out of the pound under the cover off darkness. The other two - Shadow and Lightning - came over to Provo a couple of years earlier so luckily missed getting rounded up.
All three of them are shoeless - they all have incredible tough feet and can tolerate the rockiest terrain (which is a good thing as we have two options here, rock road or beach Very Happy ). I use treeless saddles on all three (different Barefoots for everyone) and they are all bitless. 2 in english hackamores and Apache in a sidepull. 'Pache has never had a bit in his mouth. Shadow hates bits, can get his tongue over anything and then freak out, so he is much happier now, and Lightning couldn't care less, just as long as whomever is riding him lets him eat Very Happy
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Re: Hello!

Post by lightertouch on Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:00 pm

Hi Caz! Welcome! What a fascinating history your ponies have. It sounds quite similar to the Chincoteague and Assateague (sp?) ponies? Are there any common congenital problems due to the limited gene pool?

If your avatar is one of yours then they look lovely Smile So 2 of yours were started bitted, and 1 bitless? What do you do with them? I'd guess there aren't mnay competitions or social events for you to attend?
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Re: Hello!

Post by bohohorse on Tue Dec 30, 2008 2:21 pm

Wow, what a story! How lucky Apache is to have found you.

Welcome to the forum and thanks for joining and sharing your fascinating story with us Very Happy
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Re: Hello!

Post by fin on Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:00 pm

Hi Caz. I love this forum. you get to hear about lots of stuff you would never come across in your every day life! Hearing about your horses comes into this category. Hope to learn more. welcome. Fin
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Re: Hello!

Post by Sydney on Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:01 pm

Wow interesting!

Welcome to the forum.
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Re: Hello!

Post by Cyndi on Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:30 pm

Welcome here Caz!

Bless your heart for rescuing your wonderful horses!

Which Barefoot saddles do you use? I have a smooth-leather Cheyenne. I hadn't used mine much on my own horse (long story), but am presently using it for riding lessons and am happy with it.
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Re: Hello!

Post by redhorse on Wed Dec 31, 2008 3:30 am

Welcome. Great history on your ponies too.
Ros

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Re: Hello!

Post by Caz on Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:38 am

Thanks for the welcomes!
My avatar is my handsome boy Shadow - he is in his mid teens now and full of spirit. He is a blast to ride Very Happy When I first got him he was an emotional wreck, and to be honest, he scared me. In fact I almost gave up on him, but my friend (who runs a beach riding company here and has over 20 horses, all rescues) convinced me to stick it out. It took a lot of patience and many months to even be able to catch him in less than an hour, but thanks to clicker training he finally decided to trust me and blossomed from then on. Once I took a bit out of his mouth (I transitioned using a myler combination) he was a different animal. He still has 'Shadow' moments, but I just laugh at him now when he teleports from one side of the road to the other Razz
One of the interesting things about the Grand Turk ponies is the fact that there seem to be two distinct types. Shadow and Apache are both short backed and stocky. Shadow has an amazing mane and tail (and is very proud of both of them Very Happy) and Apache has a mustache! They both have incredibly hairy ears as well. Lightning is the tallest of them (okay, he's barely 14hh), much leaner and longer in build with a skinny mane and tail. Genetically they are pretty stable - just getting smaller every generation. They are a true example of survival of the fittest (especially those poor animals who live in the pound - oh, the good news there is that as we had two hurricanes in a week this September, the fence to the pound was destroyed so the ponies and donkeys are roaming free again and starting to gain weight now they are getting food, poor as it is).
I use an old style (panel-less) Cheyenne on Shadow, a Tahoe on Lighning and an Atlanta/Sierra on Apache (he is built like a 50 gallon drum with no withers at all so I use the soft pommel in that saddle for him).
As for riding here - well there is the beach, the canal or the road. No competitions, although I am trying to convince my boss to dump a whole pile of sand in the middle of the marina where I work so we can barrel race ;P. Another friend has the only trailer on the island so we often go out to the undeveloped areas and trail blaze - the ponies love that!
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Re: Hello!

Post by Cyndi on Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:26 pm

My Cheyenne is panel-less too. The Cheyenne was the model that was recommended to me by the Barefoot dealers in Canada. There are only two Barefoot dealers in Canada, and both of their websites said that all 2007 saddles had the built-in panel. Unfortunately, although mine is supposedly a 2007, it doesn't have the built-in panel Neutral Fanny (my horse) is very round, like Apache, so I purchased the grandeur physio pad to go with the saddle. Seems to work well. The medium pommel insert was way too narrow for Fanny, so I've stuffed it with batting and polar fleece.

I admire your patience with Shadow! Sounds like it's all been worthwhile.

Your trail blazing sounds like fun! I'm looking forward to being able to take Fanny out on trails, but we're just not there yet. She's not a wild horse, just needs me to be more confident. We're (I'm) getting there Smile

~C~
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Re: Hello!

Post by Kodak on Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:09 pm

Wow Caz! What an interesting life you have with your horses.
I must admit I am ignorant about the Grand Turk ponies - they sound amazing as does the place you live.
I'd love to know more about this breed and your horses.
All the best,
Sascha
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Re: Hello!

Post by HorseHippie on Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:23 am

Wow, cool story. I must admit I had never heard of this breed before. So, did you help sneak Apache out...what a rush that would have been.

Welcome aboard! Can't wait to see more pictures!
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