I was excited when I received these pictures of Little Bob at his first show; because he almost didn’t make it. When Little Bob (a.k.a. L.B.) was born, we knew that we had a tough nut on our hands. L.B. came out of his mother mad at the world. Shortly after his birth, his problems started multiplying. The first thing you noticed was L.B. could not stand or walk normally.
Initially, we all thought he needed a little more time to develop, but as time went on, we were resigned to the fact that he was suffering from flexor tendon laxity, which simply means, he didn’t have enough muscle/tendon strength to support himself. Whenever he walked, his pasterns would sink to the ground while his entire foot severely rocked upward. He then developed a severe infection that went into all of his joints, especially the hock joints.
The vets tried various courses of antibiotics with no success. Things were so bad that he only had 12 hours left before he had to be put down. He must have known because he started to respond to the last course of antibiotics. As L.B. continued to feel better he began developing a bad attitude towards all of his caregivers. He seemed to want to make everyone pay for bringing him into the world. He would kick, bite and charge everyone who handled him. When I would work with him, he would sit down, rear up and make me his chew toy. Seemingly there was no end to his mischief.
Because of L.B.’s terrible attitude everyone started calling him Little Bastard instead of Little Bob. As L.B. began to stabilize and repeatedly handled he became less ornery. Once the infection cleared up L.B. was able to come home. That’s when I could proactively pursue his conformation problems. He had a club foot, medial-lateral imbalances, and the most severe problem before us was the lack of tendon integrity. I had to rebalance him though trims and make custom glue-on shoes that would give him support for his developing bones and tendons.
When L.B. was in the hospital and things looked really bleak I remember telling his owners that all the time, money and energy being spent would not be in vain. Any horse that required this much attention surely would be a show horse in the end.
I will remember Little Bastard affectionately for the rest of my life … He is one of the many horses over the years that I was able to help. And for me, there is no greater feeling than when you can help a friend, four-legged or two!