Horses of Tir Na Nog

King (Spanish Radel's King)

Gender: Gelding

Breed: American Quarter Horse

Approximate Date of Birth: 1/1/1989

Radell’s Spanish King
1989 – July 3, 2015
Paid In Full

King came to his long-term owner as payment on a debt owed to a neighbor. When he came to Horses of Tir Na Nog he was very challenging behaviorally. He was a sixteen year-old "green broke" horse. He had previously been housed alone in a very large paddock. He wasn't used to the daily routine that our horses work with in standard corrals with scheduled turnouts and regular handling.

In fact, he was so aggressive toward people that we actually tried to find an alternative rescue for  him. When that failed, we turned to local experts in operant conditioning and positive reinforcement. They provided us with an alternative way of interacting with King, a way that avoided the dominance posturing and aggression that King had become an expert in. Operant conditioning techniques allowed us to discover a softer, gentler King who enjoyed playing games and receiving praise. So, rather than focusing on the behaviors that are problematic, we rewarded the good choices that King made. Our belief in those techniques is King’s legacy, a legacy that will always be part of Horses of Tir Na Nog.

King suffered from two spinal conditions, evident in the curvature and hump of his spine. As a result of these conditions, King was a poor candidate for a riding career. However, his natural curiosity made him the perfect candidate for learning behaviors on cue. We were working with him to develop a "trick repertoire." When not practicing tricks, King loved playing with orange traffic cones.

In 2015, King began losing weight. In February blood work came back with normal ranges. Adjustments were made in his diet. When his weight loss continued, a second blood panel showed alarming numbers across the board and led to a diagnosis of lymphoma. Given the dramatic change in his blood work in just over four months, it was determined that he was declining at an alarming rate and that euthanasia was appropriate.

During his time with us, King had a number of roommates, most recently Mariah. They made a great pair, but his heart truly belonged to Candy who passed away in November 2009. Without a doubt, as King passed over the Rainbow Bridge, Candy was there to greet him.

Most of our volunteers who knew King had a hard time imagining what he was like when he arrived in 2005. King learned a lot while in our care, but through him, we learned so much more about how to help horses with positive reinforcement. Through the lessons he taught us, he more than earned his spot in our herd. His debt was truly paid in full.

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