OverDrive, aka Spike, and his mom at a show. I absolutely love this picture of the two of them.
Spike and his mom have been together for nine years and spent many happy years showing together in the jumper ring. Spike has well known ancestors on both sides of his pedigree so it is not surprise that Spike himself was a gifted athlete with a huge jump. Although his mom mostly showed him in the 3'6" - 3'9" jumpers he could jump 5' easily. Personally I love knowing that the horse I am riding is capable of doing far more than I'm ever going to ask. I tend to ride better as I'm not worried I'm going to make a mistake so big that my poor horse can't save both of us. I would imagine that riding Spike was kind of like steering a great big security blanket around the jumper ring, you knew he could handle anything that was going to come up!
Spike and his mom over a jump. You can tell this jump is nothing for him and he is hardly having to try.
Spike's sire is the well known Thoroughbred stallion Truck Drivin' Man. Spike's name of OverDrive is clearly a nod to his famous father! Truck Drivin' Man was one of the "in" stallions of his time and was especially well known for his outstanding hunter progeny. Spike's dam is Flora who was sired by the well known stallion Farn. Farn is considered to be one of the fathers of the modern Dutch Warmblood sport horse in both the dressage and jumper disciplines. Farn sired many famous stallion sons with one of the most well known of those being Nimmerdor. I am a bit of a pedigree junkie myself and Spike certainly has outstanding breeding on both his sire and dam sides.
Spike with his mom and his baby brother. I told his mom when I saw this picture that both of her boys are too cute. I want to reach into that picture and squeeze her little boy's snow boots!
About three years ago Spike started having intermittent lameness issues. One day he would be sound, the next day he would feel off. It was never the same leg and extensive x-rays and ultrasounds did not reveal anything amiss. All of us horse people know how frustrating and emotionally challenging that is to deal with! After about a year of trying to diagnose the problem Spike's fetlocks showed visible signs of drooping, and it became apparent that Spike was suffering from DSLD.
DSLD is short for Degenerative Suspensory Ligament Desmitis. DSLD is essentially a systemic connective tissue disease that affects tendons and ligaments throughout the body. DSLD typically presents as bilateral meaning either both fronts or both hinds are affected, or all four legs. As his mom said, hindsight being 20/20 the roving lameness was clearly due to the front legs compensating for the back legs. Spike's mom and attending veterinarian attempted several things over the last couple of years to try and rehab Spike and see if he could be made comfortable enough for light riding. Unfortunately after a lot of time, money and TLC they did not have much success and the decision to fully retire Spike was made.
Spike and O'Reilly grazing
Our first week with Spike was challenging. His mom had told us Spike had a very nervous and sensitive personality, and he spent his first few days doing his best to give me a raging case of stomach ulcers. I was ready to swipe one of his tubes of GastroGuard and dose myself with it! Spike had very little appetite and I drove both him and myself crazy hovering over him trying to convince him it would be ok and that this was really a nice place to be a horse.
Spike and O'Reilly grooming each other
On his third day we buddied him up with O'Reilly and that got things moving in the right direction. Normally I don't like to allow nose to nose contact for at least a week just as a quarantine precaution but that clearly was not going to be ok with Spike. When we put the two of them in a paddock together for the first time there was no sniffing, squealing, snorting or posturing. They just started grooming each other like they had been friends for years. Spike latched on to O'Reilly and finally began to take a look around and realize that this place wasn't so bad!
He was even happier after being integrated into his "family" group and suddenly Spike was a completely different horse. His favorite place is near O'Reilly, but as he gets more and more comfortable with the other horses he likes to be surrounded by as many of them as possible. He also really likes having regular physical contact with other horses. Often this takes the form of a mutual grooming session but he is also content to just be touching his nose to someone for a moment before returning to grazing.
Spike has an incredibly expressive face as you can see in this picture