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Umbagog is an Abenaki word meaning shallow, as in shallow water.  It is also the name of a lake in Maine.  A big buckskin Morgan foal was born in Maine and named Umbagog. He was bred to be bold, long legged, and hardy.  His breeder named all her foals after places in Maine. Umbagog's future was meant to be that of an endurance or competitive trail horse.  Instead, through a series of owners and mischance, this horse was slated to be put down.  His current owner felt that he was unpredictable, dangerous, and that he would hurt someone. I had had a soft spot for this horse, and wanted a project.  His owner gave him to me with the stipulation that if he did not work out, I would put him down. I agreed.  Now the interesting part: through working him and observing him, I realized that he was suffering from bilateral patellar fixation. Very straight-legged horses can suffer from this condition. It occurs when the kneecap (at the stifle) catches, locks into place, and does not release normally as it should. When Umbagog was working, he would get a partial sticking of his patella on either leg; this would cause him pain, and he would throw a royal tantrum.  There is a fairly simple surgery to correct this condition. After Umbagog had the surgery, he was able to move freely and without pain.  I was then able to work on his "badboy" behavior quirks which he had acquired to avoid work. For him, avoiding work was avoiding pain.  Today, he is a wonderful riding horse.   He has competed at Green Mountain Horse Association and done well at the competitive trail rides.  He has raced at the Morgan races at Tunbridge.  He is a top-notch pleasure/trail horse who loves to go. This is a happy ending for a horse that no one wanted, and I am lucky enough to have him!

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