Montana is an OTTB, or an Off-Track Thoroughbred and had a very successful career as a racehorse, but her story is all too common.
After her racing career was over, her owner wanted to make her a broodmare, to be used for breeding to produce and sell her offspring, but Montana refused, lashing out regardless of what restraints were used on her and came to our rescue.
Montana is one of the lucky ones. It isn't unusual for retired racehorses to end up at livestock auctions where they can just as easily be bought by a meat-buyer, destined for a Canadian or Mexican slaughter-house, or by someone who just wants a work horse to use until they collapse, as it is to be bought by someone who wants to give them a good life.
When Montana came to us, she was an absolute disaster. She would bite, she would kick, and sometimes, she would rear or charge at our staff. But since she's been with us, we've figured out that all of her lashing out was because she was in pain.
When she first got to us, Montana was doing what we call 'close-cycling' meaning that she was going into heat far more often than normal. A mare typically goes into heat every 22 days, but Mo was cycling every 8-10 days which was causing her moods to fluctuate and her behavior to fluctuate with them. We gave her 6 months to see if her body would settle into a more regular schedule on it's own, thinking that maybe it was a result of something she was given when they were trying to make her a broodmare. After those 6 months however, when she didn't go back to normal, our awesome vets recommended an ovariectomy. Once she recovered from the surgery, she no longer had the hormones bothering her she was better, but still not 100%.
Mo also has a condition called Kissing Spine, which is a condition where two or more of the vertebrae in her back literally rub together if she moves wrong, which sends a jolt of pain through her body if she moves wrong. This is something that can be aggravated by a horse being ridden, so we're no longer riding her, and are instead working on teaching her different things to keep her mind busy and so she doesn't get bored.
Mo's last medical issue is something that's pretty common, but not always recognized and treated properly; Ulcers. Because of the stress of her racing career, Montana had some pretty severe ulcers that were causing her a lot of pain, almost constantly and after treating them, it seems like this is where a lot of Mo's behavioral issues stemmed from. Since she's been treated, her personality completely changed.
Montana still has a long way to go in her rehab, but we are thrilled that she'll be with us for that journey. There's a chance that she will eventually be ready for adoption, but even if she never is, she'll live out her life being loved and cared for by our staff at the Ranch, where we know that she'll never be put in a position where she has to lash out to protect herself.