My Faithful Companion
If you have been looking around this site very much, you may have already met Que (pronounced Q - like the
letter in the alphabet). Why am I introducing you to him? Well, you see, he is the reason I set out to learn most
of what I have learned. Therefore, I thought you might want to get to know him a little.
When I first met Que, he had some mental, physical and emotional problems. Yes, I said and!!! Sometimes I
wondered why I bought him. People actually used to ask me why I bought him. My answer was always, "I don't
think he has to be this way".
You see, I am one of those people who take in animals that other people would probably not buy, or if they did,
probably would not keep. I am happy to report, however, that Que is now a completely different horse than the
one I purchased almost 10 years ago.
I would encourage you to read this story about how I learned to listen to horses because of Que. I know this
story is a little long, but I hope you find it a useful addition to this web site. It is the story of how my horse
taught me so much about how horses are willing to teach us - if we are willing to listen.
But, if you don't wish to take the time, I would just like to say that I have learned many wonderful things
because of him. And, I am very willing to share them with you to help other misunderstood animals. My hope is
that it will help them stay in their homes and not be shuffled around and possibly end up in a terrible fate.
He is a 16H+ grey thoroughbred gelding, said to be from Pennsylvania. He was most likely trained for the
racetrack although we doubt he was ever raced. He had been passed around and recently came from a horse
dealer with no name. The trainer I bought him from named him I.Q. - which I never really liked. When I asked
why he named him I.Q. - he told me it was because the horse was "too smart for his own good". I would have to
agree. He really does seem to be smarter than your average bear. Unfortunately for him, he also learned
"naughty" things just as quickly.
When I first saw Que, he was very unhappy. He was
purchased to be a lesson horse (which I believe he is
too sensitive for). Was being used for jumping (which
he hates). And was being ridden often by a girl with
very heavy hands and a terribly bouncy seat. His
head was constantly in the air. His attitude was
terrible. They were using a martingale with elastic
that attached to the bit (that he broke constantly). He
spooked at everything, and I mean everything.
Pictures I have of him from back then show his eyes
bugging out and he always looked mad.
I was looking for a horse to lease and he was the
only one available on the whole farm, which boarded
almost 70 horses. I thought that I would try it for a
month and then decide if I wanted to continue to
lease him or not.
I was only allowed to ride him 3 days a week, but I could play with him any time I wanted to as long as he
wasn't being used for a lesson. It was during this time that I decided that he actually had what I call "people
problems". No one understod him. He was yelling at the top of his lungs, but no one was listening. The poor boy
had definite signs of being beaten in the past. He was terrified of anything that looked like a whip or broom
handle. His teeth needed floated and his shoes would be falling off before they would be replaced. Like so many
other lesson horses, he was not really loved like a privately owned horse.
Then, he somehow got hurt out in the pasture. He was no longer used for lessons. I was allowed to ride him
lightly to give him some exercise. I started to see the sweet side of him come out and I decided that I just had
to buy him. And, this is where some people (including myself) think I went crazy. Why would I buy this horse
with so many problems? I don't know, but I think it was meant to be. I have learned more from Que than any
other horse in the whole world.
I really had no business buying him. I really didn't know what to do with him. I tried a trainer for a while, but she
didn't understand him. Quite often she said to me to just "make him do it". Whatever "it" was that day.
One day while I was riding him in a lesson, I tried to ask her a question as to why he was doing something
"naughty". I thought the new saddle I had on trial was not fitting him correctly. Her response was yelled across
the arena - and I remember this well - "He's just being a jerk - Make him do it!!!".
Ok, that was it!! Not only was the way she talked to me humiliating - no one calls my baby a jerk (except
maybe me). I am Mom, I can say that about my boy, but no one else better do it.
Not much later, I moved him to a private farm that did some boarding. I started massage therapy school and
was practicing on Que sometimes. He loved it and quite often greeted me at the stall door with his behind -
wanting me to massage it for him. He became very spoiled.
Going to massage therapy school meant carrying a heavy book bag on one shoulder, and my massage table on
the other. I ended up getting a pinched nerve in my back and had to go to a chiropractor to relieve the pain.
Why am I telling you this? Because during this time I was giving Que a bath. When I used the sweat scraper to
remove the water from his back, he stomped his foot very hard on the floor, turned his head and glared at me
with a look that said "You better not do that again!". I instantly thought, "That is how my back felt when I had
the pinched nerve".
I very carefully palpated him and realized that he had pain in that area - which just happened to be right where
the weight from a saddle would be pushing down.
A light bulb went off in my head. Suddenly I realized that his "naughty" behavior was from pain being caused by
the saddle. Now it all made sense why he seemed so much happier and more cooperative when you worked
with him from the ground. The saddle causing pain was the problem, not just an attitude problem like the trainer
I called a well known chiropractor to come have him examined and see if I was correct in my "diagnosis". He
agreed that I had indeed found a pinched nerve and even said the nerve was "extremely aggitated" all the way
up to his ears.
My poor boy. All this time while no one was listening to him, he was dealing with pain everyday. The vet
suggested that I put him on a Vitamin E and Selenium supplement (Michigan is known for being deficient in
Selenium). He also suggested that I ride him bareback for a while to give him a chance to recover from having a
pinched nerve for so long.
The changes in Que over the next month were amazing.
He was much happier and relaxed. He listened better.
Argued less. You could almost go so far as to say he was
a "new" horse.
He even learned how to take time to stop and smell the
roses (ha-ha). I couldn't resist. This picture is too cute!!
Anyway, I continued to practice massage on him - which
he appreciated greatly - and our bond finally grew into
what I was hoping for when I bought him over a year earlier
Since that day, Que and I have become best buddies. It is hard to believe that there ever was a time that I
thought about selling him. (Oh, did I forget to mention that he put me in the emergency room 3 times the first
year due to his hysterical spooking? - but that is another long story)
When I had to move due to a job change, I boarded him at a dressage training facility. It was here that I finally
learned how to undo a lot of the damage done in his past. My new trainer used classical dressage training to
teach both of us. I learned the proper way to ride, which cues to use, and mostly - to be very soft in my hands.
His spooking almost completely disappeard. I was at this farm for over 4 1/2 years and was never thrown off of
him once. I was happy and amazed.
I continued to learn more about using massage to help horses. When I got married and moved to Mount
Pleasant, I took some continuing education courses to learn more about using bodywork on horses and started
a new therapy business - this time with horses!!!! I was on my way to my dream.
Almost every day of my life, I continue to research and learn anything I can to help horses - either mine or a
client. I am constantly coming across all kinds of different problems that I must find a solution for. And, I love
it!!!!! As I have said before, I love to learn. And, I love to teach. I hope you enjoy learning what I am able to pass
Now that you have been introduced to Que, don't forget to check out My Newest Assistant - Traveller.
Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not intended
to replace professional opinions or recommendations.
Consult your veterinarian for advice about any medical condition or
treatment needed for your horse