Hi Gabi, .......I think you made a perfect choice for me and Annie. I love her. I forgot to tell you every morning between 9 and 10 she goes into the barn to have her morning nap. I bought stall mats for her then I put down about 6 inches of sawdust. She loves it. Annie is in to comfort!!
One little story I don't think I ever shared with you... When I was a little girl, 9 or 10 or so my parents adopted a pony for us from the humane society. His name was champion. He was a good size pony. He had not been ridden for a few years when we got him, so there was a bit of a learning curve. He tested us constantly. Anyway we learned a lot and were able to overcome the little obstacles we faced. I remember the day he came, my sister went swimming, I thought she was crazy!! How could you leave when our pony was on it's way!! He had shipping boots on and one of those things they put on there heads. I remember being so excited and thinking he looked just like a racehorse. He ended up being with us for 15 years or more before we had to put him down for a twisted intestine. He was in his late twenties when he died.
I rode him all over the place and gave the local kids rides and lessons. They still talk about him all these years later. We went to shows and won the pleasure classes. I could let him loose on the front lawn and he would never leave the yard. People would always stop and tell us he was loose and we would just say, he won't go anywhere, but thanks for letting us know. One year a friend of mine down the road said I could pasture my horses there for the summer, they had more grazing than us. I had four horses at the time. I was gonna leave all but my riding horse down there. As I was riding off on Zepplin, Champ ran right through the fence as if to say I'm not staying here, I wanna go home. He was a real treasure. The funny thing is, he looked identical to Annie, just in a smaller form. Anyone that new Champ says they look so much alike.
When I saw Annie on line that day, the web sight I saw her on had the picture you took of her trotting and looking right at you with a friskey look on her face. It made my heart skip a beat. She looked exactly like Champ! I knew right then she was my Annie, although I felt like a nut thinking about adopting a horse from the other side of the country. At that time I never went on line looking at horses, much less looking to buy one! I guess it's true, the best things happen when you least expect it! It's funny when you think of all the things that had to fall into place for Annie and I to come together. Thank God for you and the people that found her at that feed lot. When I think of it, it amazes me and reminds me that things always fall into place even if at the time, when your right in the thick of it, it may not seem that way.
I will make a point to keep in touch and give you regular updates, and hopefully some better pictures that really show how beautiful Annie is!!
Hi, ......The second photo shows Kavi on a Parelli platform - at liberty... (I wrapped her reins around her belly because I didn't want to lose them.) She tried really hard to get all four feet up there, but she's just too long to fit. We eventually put two of the platforms together and she put front feet on one and back feet on the other. She's totally fearless about equipment, vehicles, new situations, deer, dogs, water, mud, etc. She'll even climb big rocks or saunter down ribbed concrete boat ramps to get in the river. She rarely freaks, and when she does she simply spooks in place with no lateral or forward movement. For such a young, green horse, she's exceptionally reliable.
As you can see, I ride her bareback with a rope halter. She's never been bitted and never will be. I have an extra-wide AP English saddle that I bought specifically for her - a gorgeous saddle that's really comfortable - but she outgrew it in her 3rd year. I used it for training purposes only, to get her used to having a saddle on her back. You could put a train engine up there, and she wouldn't care. I weigh 155 lbs and she doesn't register it at all when I jump on. Her back is really broad and she has no wither to speak of. Super strong, thick horse.
The last pic is of her beautiful head and face. She's got a lovely profile, don't you think?
I use a barefoot trimmer who is AANHCP certified (he's an instructor). Her hooves are gorgeous. None of my three horses is shod - it's not necessary. I think I told you in a previous email that I have crushed rock packed around my water troughs and through my gateways. The horses have beautiful, tough soles from standing and walking on that. Highly recommended for sandy or loamy soils! (For anyone who's interested - get #57 drain field rock, not pea gravel.)
..... Once again, thank you SO MUCH for matching us. She's the best. - Susan
Hi Gabi, I adopted Romeo and wanted to let you know he is Great. He has gained ALOT of weight and he's looking good. We are still working with him to gain his complete trust, but he's coming along slowly. He's a big baby and I love him so much and will work with him as long as it takes. I'm very sorry I haven't written you, but I've been spending a lot of time at the stables. Please don't ever worry about Romeo he'll be with me till I die. I wish I could adopt more of your horses but we just can't afford it right now.... My forever Thanks for letting me be in Romeo's life. Mona
Hi Gabi! Nice to hear from you. Simon is fantastic! He is a beautiful mover, well over 16 hands and is doing some dressage and started jumping this year. He went to a clinic with a member of the Canadian Olympic team and she thought he was wonderful. He has turned out to be the most wonderful, beautiful horse and is a barn favorite. I adore him. He is athletic, brave and honest. Thank you so much for the work you do and for sending Simon my way. God Bless you!!
Gabi .......Hoss which is what we named the colt is doing great!!! he is so much part of the family if he could fit in the house, my husband would probably buy him his own recliner and have him watch TV with him. He has grown to be quite the young man, he changed color to be a dark chocolate with the 4 white legs. He is being used for memories more than anything else as both of our parents used to farm with horses, He has been harnessed just to show off that we still know how, and that we can put a collar on now with out using a step ladder like we used to when we were kids.....Take care and good luck with what your doing for horses especially Drafts it's great Kathy
Sorry I have been remiss, things have been crazy here! .....Gandalf is doing WONDERFUL!! He is everybody's favorite. He is still rather reserved, but it suits him. He will never be a big cuddle-bug, but he is not timid and shy any more. He is in a pasture with five fillies ages three and two, and he loves being the "uncle." They take turns grooming him and loving on him, it is so sweet! He enjoys his favorite vanilla cookie treats, but he is choosy about who he takes them from. His favorite person is a little girl named Bradley, age ten, who is one of our students. He comes to the fence when Bradley is here for her riding lesson and waits for her to bring him his cookie! Gandalf gets around well. He is stiff and slow, but he covers all the territory in his pasture just fine, and he will break into a trot if he thinks he's missing out on something! He gets a daily glucosamine/chondrotin supplement to help with his arthritis. His feet look great and he only needs trims about every twelve weeks. My farrier is very pleased with the condition of his feet. Gandalf had several episodes of choking last year. While his esophagus was healing he was restricted on what he could eat, so he lost weight again. But he never lost his appetite or his fiesty spirit! Multiple vet visits and LOTS of tweaking of his feed finally got him to where he has put the weight back on, and he looks great! We ended up building him a high feeder by bolting a cattle trough onto a "table" set into concrete so it can't tip over. This way we can spread the feed out so he can't bunch it up, and the height of the feeding surface (about four and a half feet off the gournd) makes gravity work in his favor while he is eating. Our vet was so impressed with this solution that he has brought several clients over to see it, and has recommended a similar set-up to another person whose horse tends to choke. (Please feel free to pass that little suggestion along to anyone who might benefit from it!) Gandalf's favorite thing is when I freshen the shavings in his run-in shed. He will wait til I am out of the pasture, then march into the middle of the run-in, lay down and absolutely WALLOW in those fresh shavings! He will stretch out flat and rub the side of his face in them; I think he likes the smell! When he gets up he is wearing half of them! Thank you so much for sharing him with us. His dignity and kind face remind me every day that old horses deserve a long, happy retirement. Gandalf is one of four "seniors" here with us, and they are all doing well. We hope he will have many good years left here.... He could not be any more loved! Ruth
Hi Gabi! I'm responding for Tanya in regards to Ada and Truman (Thin Lizzy and Jack). I was actually thinking about you today as we were cleaning stalls and watching Ada lying down, basking in the sun in the pasture with Truman standing by her side. We were talking about what an incredible bond they have....like I've personally never seen before. Then, after standing watch over her, he decided to lie down next to her and take a snooze. They are both doing very well. They are SO wonderful, so very sweet and are VERY loved! They still spend their days with the "herd" (2 mustang mares and 3 other burros) and they've been moved into the main barn to share a big stall and paddock area with one of the burros. We initially did this during the incredibly cold weather we've had here in Florida, but discovered that having them up at the main barn, around the others, Ada has actually started getting MUCH more comfortable with us than she was when she and Truman were in their own little barn. It's been really good for her...she LOVES to be scratched where it itches and will stand and lean on you for as long as you'll scratch. She's so beautiful and so smart and a really sweet girl! They are both very healthy, feet are great and as I've told you before, have fit in well with their new herd. I don't know when I last sent photos, but here are some of the more recent ones on my camera. ANY time you want an update or recent photos, feel free to ask (since I'm the photo-taker)...I love keeping you posted on their wonderful progress. Neither Tanya nor I can imagine life without them...we are so grateful you picked Truman to come with her...he is the sweetest, funniest little guy, who thinks he's 10 feet tall! He gets along with the herd, but has no trouble showing them who's boss! We adore him, and like I said...they are devoted to each other. Thank you for saving these two wonderful angels...It was meant to be, and they were meant to come to Tanya's! Take Care,Karen
Hi Gabi, .... Oscar and Hamlet are just fantastic. They're at their winter home now because we're having one of the rainiest winters in a long time and my property gets way too wet for them so they're at my friend's ranch living it up. Everyone who has horses there is amazed when I tell them how old they are. They play like one year olds all the time, flirt with all the female horses and are basically the life of the party. I love them so much, everyone does. I'll get some pictures the next time I'm out there. Thank you for bringing them into my life! Odessa
Sadly, we lost Queenie to a parasite that doesn't normally infect horses, at least that's what the autopsy said. She had spent most of the winter at a trainers and had made great strides with trust issues and was going very nicely under saddle. We also lost another mare not long after Queen. Once we knew what the problem was, a more powerful wormer took care of the problem in the other horses. ....She was put down July 20th or thereabouts. I don't recall the parasite, but it settles in the spinal cord and is common in goats, llamas, and sheep. All neuro symptoms, plus some weight loss that we initially attributed to moving and stress. We think the neighbor's nasty little billy goat is the carrier. At first we thought it was possibly botulism from the hay, but when we lost a second mare to the same symptoms several months later, with a different hay supplier, we got suspicious and had the second mare autopsied. We had Queen done, too, but by a college. Their report was sketchy, at best. The second was done at the Ohio Dept of Agriculture and was pretty exhaustive. Three vets all said "funky parasitic thing" independently of each other even before the autopsy. They all recommended a fenbendazole "power pack" of a double dose every day for three days. So now, in addition to regular worming rotation of fenbendazole and ivermectin, we'll throw in a power pack at least once per year.... Maggie
Queen's foal "Miss May" (Queen was pregnant when she was rescued)
Hi Gabi, .......Here are some pictures of Dobbin taken just a few months ago (Dec. 2009). He's meeting another horse. I think Dobbin is just gorgeous in these pictures. He's such a hunk. He's trying to say to this horse "I'm really REALLY big so please be kind and don't hurt me." Kevin and I both agree that Dobbin has such a kind heart and sweet nature. The pictures of Logan and Whisper were taken January of 2010. Logan is a hoot -- Whisper lets him be the boss and any time I come around he looks at me as if saying "I'm the boss ya know." He really doesn't know what to do about me. He's confused as to how to handle the problem of "I'm the boss, yet she's the boss." I just cuddle him and love on him until he realizes it all doesn't matter. Whisper is really becoming a normal horse. She's still a little cautious around strangers but still improving. There isn't a stranger who can't touch her. She doesn't like it when they approach her slowly so I tell them to just walk on up and pet her -- that seems to work better. Gabi, my love for her is so strong that it brings tears to my eyes. I can still remember how afraid she was of people and how she would literally tremble in fear. To this day, I feel honored every time I touch her. I feel so lucky to be wrapping my arms around this huge magnificent horse. Well, that's a quick overview of the three greatest horses ever. They are all wonderful. I hope all is well with you, your family and 4-leggeds.Take care Gabi, Ramona
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Ramona, KY - 2/25/2008:
Just wanted to let you know that Whisper is beginning to have strolls outside the pasture. I was so worried about leading her out, but knew I had to do it sometime. I look so forward to going on long walks with her. Anyway, this Saturday and Sunday she walked with me down the s c a r y driveway and by the very scary car. We then went to the backyard which is fenced in and I put her to work doing some mowing. We then strolled some more a little further down the drive ... to the other side of the scary car. She's slowly getting some courage. I started to lead her back in the pen and toward the barn to see if she wanted a drink and she kept stopping. I'd ask her to continue and she would but she obviously was letting my know that I was taking her in the direction she did not want to go. So I let her know it was my idea to turn her around and take her in the direction that she wanted to go. She appreciated it and eagerly went to the gate to go for another stroll. She's nervous but enjoying it. Another thing ... I'm getting her to pick up her front feet. Yep, I'm a slow trainer indeed -- how long has it been? -- over a year? It was not easy getting through to her what I was asking, but I can now pick up and slap the bottom of her front feet in order to prepare her for a trimming. I still, obviously, need to work more at it. I'm taking the same approach in teaching her to pick up her back feet but am taking that pretty slowly. At one point when teaching her to pick up her front feet, she would abruptly pick up her foot and stomp left, right, forward .. in an attempt to say "what the heck do you want me to do and is any of this what you're looking for". I immediately walked off to show that wasn't what I wanted and asked her to come to me (my way of saying no and now you have to work a little because that was really wrong). Anyway, I'm really wanting to avoid that kind of response with the back feet. She tries so hard to figure out what I'm asking. I'm not strong enough to hold her foot up like I could with the yearlings, so I got her to hold it up on her own and then I'd hold it. Took some time. Kevin made the comment that she wants to get so close to me that she ends up having to bend her neck to get her face in front of me because her body is so close. She's a snuggler and I don't discourage it. Hugging her is often the highlight of my day ... that and pulling my clothing out of Dobbin's teeth. He sooo needs to grow up :-) I haven't disciplined Logan and Dobbin for being mouthy with me. I know it's their way of exploring their world and I knew they'd grow out of it. Logan has but Dobbin .... my vet says he'll probably mature slowly. I think, by looking at him, she was thinking all the growing is going toward physical growth rather than mental growth. Seems to be true with Dobbin, but I don't know if that's a typical rule for all horses or not. He's huge !! Both Logan and Dobbin are doing ok. .......Ramona
Hi Gabi, I just wanted to shoot you an email and give you an update on Sally. She has been such a dream for us. I love her to death and my fiance says that she is totally a mommy's girl. She will follow me anywhere and is moving along so great in the training I am doing with her. She had her hooves trimmed a couple weeks ago with no sedation at all...not even a fight. I warned the shoer prior that she was a rescue and probably had been abused so he was super gentle with her. He even said she did amazing for being sedated previous times. I also attached a picture of her so you can see how she looks now!! In the pictures she has sand on her nose cause after it rains she likes playing in the muddy sand in our arena. It is so cute!! I also noticed that Joker was adopted and was wondering if you knew how he was doing. I saw the pics of him from november and he looks just like Sally. His eyes have the same sweetness that hers do. I wish we couold have taken him also. I hope that all is going well for you and good luck with all your new horses!! Sincerely, Larissa
We have six happy horses in our little herd now, and I recently said to Joe that if, for some unforeseeable reason, I had to give up all but one of them, I would keep Kavi (aka Narnia) no matter what, even if we were homeless nomads begging for feed and overnight pasture.
I'll send you some photos soon - she's going through yet another growth spurt. I'll wait 'til her winter coat sheds out so you can see her base coloration with all her dapples.
When she's on a long, loose lead, all I have to do is point in the direction I'd like her to go - and when we're walking on lead and I want her to stop dead in her tracks, all I have to do is hold my hand up like a traffic cop. I never taught her these things - she's incredibly intuitive and picks up on body language. A while back a friend of mine came to visit and asked if Kavi could lunge in a circle. I said I didn't know, since I hadn't tried it before. So we put a rope halter on Kavi, attached to a 22-foot line, pointed, clucked, and off she went at a soft lope in the direction we pointed. She's been like that with everything she's introduced to - umbrellas, tarps, beach balls, water, vehicles...
How many horses have you ever met that self-load into a trailer WITHOUT being taught to?
Another friend came over and we played one of the drafts' favorite games - donkey sticks - which my friend thought was hilarious. We wander around under the trees and find sticks and limbs to place on Kavi's and Indy's backs, balanced and intertwined. We see how many they can carry without them sliding off - Kavi walks around with this enormous pile of twigs and stuff hanging off of her in all directions, from her shoulders back to the very end of her rump, and when they eventually topple, she comes back to us so we can put some more on.
She is the coolest, most level-headed, agreeable horse I've ever met. I love her to pieces. Thank you for letting me adopt her.
Hi Gabi, Sorry I haven't written for awhile -- things have been busy. My three little equines are doing great. Dobbin (Ghost) is sweet as usual and Logan is getting cockier every day. He won't let Whisper be the head horse. She tries to nip at him and he either ignores it or will kick back at her. I must say, Kevin and I admire his nerve. Whisper is doing great. I was getting her ready to have her feet trimmed but the hoof that was worrying me broke off nicely, thereby giving me more time to work with her. Gabi, she is soooo wonderful. She now comes up to me for snuggles. I can wrap my arms around her neck and over her withers and give her a big hug -- unfortunately, I have a bad shoulder from brushing her so much and can't hug her as tight as I'd like to. I've had a halter on and off of her many times and she is getting very used to the lead rope swinging all around and over her -- over her neck, back and rump, under her legs and around her hind legs. I'm gradually increasing the speed at which I whip it around her and have on many occasions slapped it hard against her. She rarely flinches at it any more. I've put things on her back such as the small bag of hay cubes that I carry when working with her, the halter or lead rope and she's fine with it. I ask her to walk with me and hold the lead rope as if it were attached to her in order to mimick leading her. She knows that I want her to pick up her feet when I touch her leg and say "pick up", but I'm still working on her learning to hold it up for me since I can't. Just a few days ago, she came up to me twice while I had them in the barn (locked in because of bad weather) and just stood there obviously wanting attention. I carressed her forehead and rubbed the top of her head -- she likes that. She is also warming up to Kevin. I've encouraged Kevin to get her to trust him so she'll have more than one person in her life. Last night she let him pet her for a long time. We are both crazy about her. Long story short -- she's really coming along. Soon I'll be leading her out over the hills that I have been promising to take her over ever since she got here. She has stared out over those hill looking longingly from the day she got here. Dobbin is getting huge and cuter every day. The other day, Kevin and I got on either side of Dobbin and started scratching him all over. It almost seemed that he was going to collapse with enjoyment. He is such a big goofy love. ... Well gotta run ... Hope all is well with you, Ramona
George came here and awed us immensely c his feet, his size, his quietness. My husband Kier and I had never been so close to a full Belgian (just crosses who lose some of the intensity of pure drafts). Even after his peaceful time on Lazy Horse Ranch, George stilled showed signs of fear (and maybe anger?) for how he had been treated over the years. His life was never easy if the scars on his body and the fear in his eyes are any indication of life before Gabi saved him. We are so fortunate to have a natural horsemanship trainer here in the valley where we live. He is helping us communicate c George so our big boy will know he is safe and loved. George now lives in a 12 acre pasture (we rotate through the pastures on the 2000 acre ranch where we are caretakers) that has a beautiful creek running through it. When I show up at the barn after work, George looks like a giant chess horse running through the fields when I whistle. Now I know he is running for the alfalfa pellets c oil (he loves that stuff! and c a little Senior feed thrown in - oh my!) but it still warms my heart to see him cantering and looking so happy for the visit and the food. Okay, for the food, then the visit :) George came here c his dear friend Raven, a young Tennessee Walker. Please read Rave's story on Gabi's website. [below] We laid Rave to rest this summer. I really don't know who misses that skinny little guy more, George or us. Recently a neighbor told us their 25 year old QH gelding was probably not going to make it through the winter. Shogun had been losing weight and general interest in life, though the vet said nothing in particular ailed the sweet old guy. We struck a deal that Shogun could come live c George to see if he thrived better out of the bigger herd. Well, George has come to love this gentle fellow, and Shogun loves both George and the incredible alfalfa pellets c oil. He is gaining weight, and when our beautiful George the chess horse comes running to meet us, Shogun, who is deaf, watches George's lead and trots his very fastest to join the party. I'll take some photos of the 2 together soon. George and Rave came here in March 2007. In no time at all, they captured our hearts and changed our lives. We are grateful to Gabi for the time she made possible for Rave and for the life George is having. Keep the faith, Gabi. You are doing great work.
Rave was always a close talker. Why chat from a couple of feet away when two people (Rave and the one c whom he was talking) could be a couple of inches apart? Logical enough question. Rave wasn't even our intended adoption. George picked out this skinny little Tennessee Walker, a young boy of 4, and dragged him along to Montana. While George expressed a devout interest in food, Rave was all about the loving. And we fell for him hook line and sinker. Shortly after he arrived (and possibly accelerated by rapid weight gain - no one knows for sure), he began showing signs of a neurological problem. When my husband was out of town, I found Rave stuck on his back in the creek, struggling to keep his head out of water. Somehow my dog and I got Rave up, scared, muddy, confused, but safe for the time being. Several vets saw him, and each concluded his wobblers was progressing rapidly. We confined him to a level paddock while we tried medications. The steroids worked short term but were not an option for life. And Rave still wasn't safe to run free. While Rave was confined, George wouldn't leave him. So both boys were in a large barn c an attached paddock. We hauled in water and hay. And still Rave's condition progressed. Even on level ground, he often could not tell where his feet were, and he fell. Sometimes he would be exhausted and unable to rise. Several times I sat c him on the ground, just stroking his head, heart-broken that I couldn't help him or explain what was happening. We finally decided this wasn't how Rave wanted to live, and we knew we couldn't afford the surgical options that may or may not help him. We asked the vet to come out and lay him to rest. His last day we let Rave and George out by the creek and let them graze. Rave fell a couple of times but was so excited to be in the lush grass that he didn't get scared or upset. In 4 short months, that skinny young Walker c a silly personality and love to spare stole our hearts. He was worth every penny, and we loved every minute we had c him. Rave, our close talker. A true pocket horse (who might fall on you, but that's really a minor detail in the overall scheme of things, right?) George knew exactly what he was doing when he chose Raven to come home c him. Thank you, Gabi, for our time c Rave.
I just thought I'd drop a note and let you know how much we love Josy. Myself, husband and two kids took a horse camping trip to TN two weeks ago and I wanted to let you know was a wonderful time Josy had. It was an 8 hour trip up and all through hills, lunch and bathroom stops, and the normal traveling stops, she never flinched and was entertaining when we'd open the doors (my trailer has a full escape door up front in her stall) and the other slants have drop downs. She and the other horses were just really funny to watch.
We did picket lines at night and rode during the day and Josy had the best time I've ever seen a horse have. She was excited to go up hills, down hills, go swimming (which she absolutely loves), forge new trails and was a wonderful trail horse. I really want people to know wonderful rescue horse can be and to consider how much else they can do in their second life. Josy was so sad when she came to us but now she is loving, affectionate, willing and has adopted a yearling we took in from someone else. We affectionately call her the martriarch of our herd and the way she adopted the yearling just proves how wonderful these horses are.
I hope all is well with you up there! Best wishes, Pat
Gabi, I am forwarding this picture of Guiness (William), undersaddle, yes I said undersaddle. Saturday I was messing with and I put the saddle on him as I have been doing. Then I wanted to see how he would do with a bridle, which was no big deal. My son asked if he could sit on him so we decided to try it and as you can see from the picture he was very "upset". He did so well that we ended up walking around. Now he needs to learn what steering is and whoa would also be a helpful tool! Who would have thought he would have come so far in only 2 months. I will be happy to tell his story to anyone who has an interest in your horses, in fact, feel free to have folks email me if they have any questions. If I had the funds I would adopt more. Bless you for the work you do, Mic
January 20, 2007 was a typically chilly day in south-east South Dakota and all he arrangements had been made for the arrival of a special-needs PMU mare. I had originally decided to adopt a PMU mare who
looked perfect to me when an urgent email appeared from Lazy Horse Rescue. One of the mares, possibly pregnant and blind in one eye with one hoof in the auction ring tugged at my heart for some reason. The decision was made immediately to adopt this special-needs mare. It was like I could feel her uncertainty and fear of the unknown. This was a horse whose very life hung in the balance, a horse who had lived on the 'other side’ and would finally be able to take down the walls that so solidly protected her now. Yes, I was sure this was the right decision.
Finally, the call came that they were here and I flew out the door to my car, ready to escort my dear treasure to the boarding stable that would be her home. Even with the back of the trailer wide open to her new paddock, she was too afraid to come out, but was finally urged to step into her new life. I spent a couple of freezing hours with her just speaking softly and finally, was able to lightly touch her shoulder. Enough for the first night...
Every day after that, I spent two to four hours a day with her just 'being' there and saw those solid walls start to melt. Little by little, she gave me her trust and little by little began returning my unconditional love. I remember the first time she greeted me with a nicker and tears flooded my eyes.
Slowly I introduced her to a brush and to her delight, found out that it really felt very good. Together, we explored her favorite 'scratch me here' places and our bond grew stronger day by day. Tiny steps were all it took to help build trust. Finally, she let me take off her old halter with her old number '22' tagged to it. This final shedding of her past was symbolic and the only way to go from here was together. To me she was a beautiful dream horse and the name I gave her was 'Feather'. A lovely spirit, free on the breeze, difficult to capture but once gently in my hand, a wonder to behold.
Spring was finally here and grass started to green up. I decided it was time to take Feather out of her paddock and let her eat the yummy new shoots. At first, she was unsure and many times bolted away, but each time stopped closer to me. With time, she was content to easily move around from grass patch to grass patch with me. I was so happy with her progress and willingness to trust a human after all she had been through. She would follow me around her paddock and tuck her head under my arm, waiting for the halter because that meant she could go out and eat grass for a couple of hours with me tagging along.
Feather looked forward to the daily routine and learned to enjoy treats and the special grain I fed her. Our bond was growing ever stronger and I felt so fortunate to have been the one to give her a chance at a good life. She was showing me that her trust was growing stronger by following me around outside the paddock and turning to me when she was unsure of new things. Her blind eye meant that I had to modify things and always talked to her when on the blind side so she knew where I was. Soon, it became second nature and she relaxed even more, knowing that I would never surprise or startle her. Soon, she seemed to intuitively know where I was.
Finally, the day came when she foaled. The phone rang early in the morning and the owner of the stable said she had a not-so-little black and white foal. The weird thing was, the foal was in the next paddock. It seemed that Feather had her rear up against the hole in the wall for a shared auto-water device and birthed the foal into the next pen. He removed a panel and the two were united for the first time.
I rushed out to see the new baby and was overcome with emotion when I saw the still-wobbly, spraddle-legged pinto foal. Of course by now, it had been a little over three months with astronomical leaps gained in trust, so I walked right in and over to the foal. I looked under the tail and discovered that Feather had a colt. Petting her neck, I smiled as she nudged her new baby, his little lips formed in an 'O' as he sucked his way along her belly. With my attention riveted on the foal, my mind racing to a name, Feather nipped just the material of my thin shirt. In my own sense of wonder and happiness, I had forgotten that Feather was still getting used to me and she had just given me a friendly warning.
Understanding, I backed away to give them some room and time for their own bonding, but knew it would be only for a week or so. I just sat on the other side of the fence to think of a name for him. Like a bolt of lightning it came to me...'Thunder'. Okay, well he didn't even qualify as a light rain shower at the moment, but like any pending thunderstorm it starts small. As I sat there, dazzled by the beauty before my eyes, I couldn't help but think about the miracle of it all. Without my stepping up to save this wonderful, special-needs mare, she wouldn't have had her foal in a safe place. It pained me to think how close she had been to being discarded and this little scene would never have happened. My life was so much richer for having her with me and knowing that Thunder would grow up as any loved foal should. They are both in a forever home, never to be abused or used badly, but to be loved unconditionally for who they are...free to be horses in a strong circle of love.
As of this writing, Feather has been with me for a little over four months and Thunder is a little over three weeks old. Everyone who meets them comments on how friendly and tame they are. People who were there when Feather arrived still can't believe how she has turned around so quickly in her attitude toward humans. All she needed was a chance.
People might think that only saving one of these special horses isn't going to make a difference, but it makes a big difference to them. Rescue horses have lived 'the other side' and know what bad times are. Give them a piece of your heart and your love will fan the tiny spark of trust, kindled with patience and commitment. Just spend time 'being' with them and discover the flickering flame, hungry for your understanding, grow into a warm and cozy glow.
Hi Gabi- I just wanted to update you on Levi (FLASH). He is by far the sweetest horse I have ever worked with. He shows nothing but affection, and I have never even seen him put his ears back. I've gotten on his back a few times, and he barely even noticed (he had no saddle or anything on...just a halter). He is the most well behaved horse at the barn, and I have barely ever disciplined him for being pushy or rude. He acts even better than the other horses who have been raised by people all their lives....it really shows how well horses respond to positive reinforcement. I groom him and play with him without a leadrope, and he just stands there. He LOVES human contact. I'm going to start riding him when school gets out, so I can have a consistent schedule and all the time I need. He is great in the barn, going for trail walks, getting his feet done, and is very level headed aroung new things. Our next step is getting a bath, he doesn't mind the hose but is nervous about the water on him. Now that his winter coat is basically gone, he is absolutely stunning. He is friends with a q.horse mare and a pony gelding, and the groom eachother all the time. I'm so glad we adopted him. I absolutely adore him and can't imagine having any other horse. Thanks,Zoe PS- I attached some pictures... I really hope they get through because he has changed so much and is gorgeous....
ZOE - 6/5/2007:
... I rode Levi for the first time, with all the tack on, and trotting yesterday....
Hi Gabi and Ruth! It has almost been a month since Bandit came home, so I'd thought I let you both know how he is doing. He is such a lovebug! It took us a little while, but he is now leading like an old pro. He can back up very easily with just the push of the finger. He will lower his head when I pull down on the lead or push on his poll and he'll keep it low until the pressure is released. I can rub plastic bags and towels all over him without a flinch, he is usually more interested in seeing if it tastes good or not. He is a very food-motivated horse! I also pretend to tie him to the tree in his pasture. I just loop the lead around and the nylon creates just enough of a snag to make him feel like he is tied there. Granted, he will only put up with it for so long. We have been on a couple of walks around the property and he has encountered all sorts of scary things. The propane tank and the blue wading pool take the cake though. I can pick up his front feet for a split second, but I'm not in a real hurry to get those manners down yet. They'll come after some more groundwork. My dad jokes that we should change his name to "The Baby Face Bandit" because he is just so cute. He has grown about an inch since he got here, he is going through one of those famous baby growth spurts. He also has the silliest neigh, so we joke that he has a French-Canadian accent. His winter coat is coming in and with it are a bunch of little grey hairs. I can't wait to see what "new" color he'll be next summer. I tried to get a few good pictures of him to send, they are kind of blurry though. He just doesn't understand the hold still for a moment thing, yet. I also sent a Halloween themed one. He is "Bandito" for Halloween, Antonio Banderas watch out! Hope you both are doing well! Thanks again for giving me the opportunity to adopt this guy, I just love him to pieces. - April & Bandit
Gabi, Splash was picked up last Wednesday and arrived here safely. He is healthy and doing well in his new surroundings. Right now he is with my trainer at her barn. She rode him briefly under saddle a couple of days ago. His front hooves are tender and we have a farrier coming out this week. Hopefully we can get him taken care of. He is a very mild mannered horse and is getting use to being groomed, washed and accustomed to people being around him. Being in a Saddlebred barn he is the topic of conversation and everybody loves him. I hope to have him out here at our place in 30-60 days. We will see how quick he responds to the trainer, if he is as quick as he is now it should not be long. Will send you pics as soon as I get some via e-mail. I can't thank you enough for working with me and making this adoption possible.
Hi Gabi, I have just returned from visiting the horses, and wanted to send you a snap shot of Billy (Jack Frost) in his new stall; he is neighbors with Indy. Oh! and a picture of Eddie and Indy. We love them all very much! Chloe looks beautiful, her coat is so velvety and shiny, she truly is the Queen Bee around the barn. Thanks again, and hope you are all doing well.
I got the pictures developed and all the film was fuzzy, snowy fuzzy so I'm going to buy a new camera, digital this time! I want to show off how good Josie looks! She's put on just over 200 pounds, her ribs are gone, a new coat has grown in and boy is it shiny! Her muscle tone is getting better each day and she's such a hoot! We are still working with her and her back feet being trimmed. The front is fine but she has trust issues about her rear end still. All her scars are disappearing and she's a normal, happy horse enjoying the company of her herd mates!
She is a wonderful trail horse and will go anywhere, do anything and gets excited when she knows we're going for a ride. She and my gelding, all 15.2 hands that he is, like to race each other and Josie will slow down enough to let him catch up, take a quick look, lengthen her stride a bit and leave him in the dust. I wish we had a video camera, its priceless to watch!
We are completely over the tick in the ear trauma, have all our shots, trailers like a dream and is a giant puppy. She and my husband are inseparable but if she gets a boo boo, not matter how small, she still comes running to me and will stand while I clean it an apply whatever ointment I need to. She likes to roll in ant beds lately so a little cooling ointment and she's good! .............. Pat
.... Keera and Sky do really well at their new home. I did the best thing by adopting them together. They stuck by each other as the pasture of 15 horses greeted them. The resident horses seemed to accept them. The lead horse in the pasture is Maverick, a huge dappled grey draft horse. He seemed to really like the youngsters. I have a great support system of women my age at the stables. A lot of kids too, for my boys to play with. I've been teaching the Moms about PMU rescues and I've given them your website. Hopefully, more of your horses will find homes. At least they are talking and will tell their friends too. Let me know if you need anything else. I'll send you pictures as she grows :) I feel so proud to tell everyone that these 2 PMU babies are my horses. The work you do is so important and I feel privileged that I was able to be a part of the whole process. Take Care!! Stephanie