Aries is one of the "Iowa 41", and was in the "stallion pen" originally identified as 5 stallions between the ages of 4-5. He was a stowaway on the first trailer to arrive to take horses home in late November, 2010, and they allowed him to come along to see what they could do for him. Unfortunately, he did not do well, showing major fear and panics which lead to aggression. He came back to GSH in late January of 2011 for education and evaluation. Through the use of oral sedation and many other tools, he was gelded and had his feet trimmed in January of 2011, at which time we found out he was younger than originally identified, and the guess at that time was that he was 3, not 4-5. However, in June of 2011, we noticed he was losing his very front teeth, and our vet confirmed that he was, at most, only 2.5 at that time, making him barely two years old when he was sorted into the stallion pen. Another buckskin colt that was originally identified as 2 turned out to be 4. Our theory is that the breeder mixed the two up, probably because of Aries' size. He is a very large boy, already standing 15+ hh at 2 years old.
Aries' sire is Wildcards Gentleman Jack, and his dam is currently unidentified though we believe we know who she is, just need to get her DNAd. As a two year old, it's highly unlikely that any of the foals are his, and so far DNA has not identified him as a sire of any of this years' foals.
Aries is a very cautious but curious boy. He has developed curiosity and is starting to develop playfulness. He is smart, and enjoys learning, though he still has blind panic moments where he just can't control his instincts. He has a strong balance of both fight and flight - unlike most horses flight is NOT his first choice every time. He will run, but more often than not he will turn to face whatever is scaring him. With his size, and his unpredicability, GSH has determined that he is not ready or able to be adopted out. He is also slow to bond, and in fact will do his best to not be noticed when new people come around. He will stand back, and retreat to the furthest portion of pasture when new people are around, unless there is someone he knows and trusts close by.
Between February 2011 and August 2011, Aries has progressed a great deal. Learning his true age has let us relax some, while still working on teaching him manners, obedience, etc. We did hit a brick wall, and Aries had the opportunity to spend a day with the 2008 Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge winner, Mark Lyon, to help us get past the final fear of touch and just help him with his final break through. We are now able to touch and pet him freely in pasture, and halter him in the round pen (working on pasture haltering). Once haltered, he leads, ties, loads, lunges at walk/trot, changes direction at the walk, knows back, and we are working on picking up the front feet and extending his patience at being touched. Mark had a saddle pad on him, but we did not push that because we have no plans to start him under saddle until at least next year based on his age.
At this point, we do not see that Aries will ever be adoptable. His ability to trust and let new people in is just too weak. His dependence on the few people he does trust is too high. We continue to introduce him to new people and work with him, and perhaps in the future he will be able to leave. But for now, he remains a GSH Permanent Resident, and will remain a reminder of the Iowa 41, and hopefully in the future will become an exhibition/spokeshorse for GSH. But for now, we just settle for sane and safe.