BORN: 1 September 2010
ARRIVED: July 2017 – gifted by previous owner
STRESS RESPONSE: Flight
PAIR BOND: Cappy
LIKES: Playing with the herd, clicker-training, being hosed on a warm day
DISLIKES: Being stabled, any type of medication or de-worming paste!
Mack is a gorgeous boy, so gentle with all the ponies – and total goofball. He is absolutely stunning and has incredible presence.
“Mack” is short for McMickle – he was bred for racing and this was his racing name. His time as a racehorse was clearly a stressful one. Mack totally panics when confined to a stable, as all the memories come flooding back, trying to jump over the door, spinning in circles until he is lathered in sweat. It’s difficult to think about what he must’ve been through for him to still have such a strong reaction so many years later. We never stable Mack because of this.
After just 6 races, Mack was banned permanently by the stewards after suffering a second life-threatening lung hemorrhage during the race. He then had a few owners over the next couple of years before being gifted to the sanctuary in 2017. We will be forever grateful for that gift – Mack was the first horse to come to the sanctuary and he is truly loved by all.
Mack is a total goofball. Brave one minute, scared of a leaf blowing by the next… Looking deep into you soul one minute, accidentally whacking you in the face with his huge head the next. Seriously staring into the distance one minute, playing with a stick the next… and through it all he is total eye candy. He is just stunning and has such incredible presence. He is a bonded pair with the beautiful Cappy and they are never more than a few metres apart. It’s so lovely to watch them together.
In 2018, his first year with us, Mack had a very difficult year. He had one hoof abscess after another for the first 6 months of the year as his feet were rehabilitated and he was transitioned from wearing shoes to being barefoot. His feet were in terrible shape when he arrived with absolutely no heel at all, hoof wall cracks, and x-rays revealing a negative palmar angle in both front feet. For 6 months he needed special ‘false heels’ to be remade by the vets every 6-8 weeks – made with dental impression material so that they molded perfectly to the underside of his feet.
Just as his hoof problems were fixed, he started having bouts of extreme, intermittent lameness (with excruciating pain). One day he’d be fine, the next he’d be in a world of pain and the next he’d be fine again. He had vet visit after vet visit, test after test, x-ray after x-ray and it was finally discovered that Mack had a condition called osteo-chondritis dissecans (something often seen in ex-racehorses as a result of them being ridden too early before their skeletal system has fully formed and strengthened). This usually results in tiny bone fragments chipping off their bones but Mack had a huge one – about the size of a 20c piece and the biggest that the surgeon had ever seen – and it was floating around in a joint space in his stifle. When he would roll, sometimes the chip came out of the joint and he was totally comfortable and then he’d roll again and the chip would roll right into the joint space causing all that pain.
Mack needed an operation with a specialist from Sydney to remove the bone fragment. He healed beautifully with no complications but needs to be kept nice and slim so as not to place to much stress on his joints. The vet said looking in his joints with an arthroscope was like looking into a snow-globe, there were so many bone and ligament fragments floating around.
After his surgery, Mack underwent a total transformation. From meek and mild and very much at the bottom of the herd (even bossed around by most of the mini ponies), to slowly making his way through the ranks until he became the lead gelding in the herd and self-appointed protector of all.
Since that first difficult year, Mack has been thoroughly healthy and happy. He loves his adventure walks through the neighbouring trails – especially when he gets to the lake – he LOVES water – a quick splash in the lake on his way home and he’s a very happy boy 🙂