Author Archives: dawndi

About dawndi

I've been a very happy film producer (commercial and long format) for over 20 years. But, the horses have always been foremost in my heart... Currently I live on a small ranch in California with my wonderful husband, 13 horses, 4 dogs, 3 cats and various woodland creatures. Life is good!


And boy, do they need us…!

The original Lucky 7. Skinny, mal-nourished...

BHFER (Beauty’s Haven Farm & Rescue Rescue, Inc.)

I’ve written about BHFER previously.  (link to previous post)  This is the rescue in Florida which is run by a woman, Theresa,  who has great passion but no feeling – which is an awful pun to explain that she literally

Their previous sole water supply... ugh.

CANNOT FEEL due to a spinal injury.  So, talk about trust… This woman recovered by taking care of an injured horse, Beauty (hence the rescue’s name), and then went on to devote her life to helping horses in need.  BHFER is one of the rescue sites I watch daily although I have never been there or met Theresa personally.

At BHFER, food -- finally.

Skinny Mom grazing at peace

Home, food, security, baths, footcare and fly masks...

Last week is when this all started… Theresa got a call from the local authorities for her to please come help with several starving horses.  The details are not available as there will be charges here, but suffice it to say that there were at least 30 horses (stallions, mares, babies)  in awful conditions.  From what I understand, their only drinking water was this awful pond I have pictured.  They were not fed or cared for and I think they were housed together in unhealthy combinations.

Evidently, many of the mares were too skinny to provide adequate milk and the stallions were not helping, if you know what I mean.

BHFER agreed to take 7 on the spot.  They took the skinniest mares and babies.  However, deciding who to take was the easy part, getting them into the trailer and also making sure they were able to handle a

Life is looking up!

3 hour trailer ride was a different story!  You can imagine the loading process… These are horses that were not handled often and not moved, well… ever.

So, the first 7 arrived at the rescue and they were called the “Lucky 7”.  Here are photos.  As you can see, very skinny and malnourished looking.  But, at BHFER they were given wonderful care, easily digestable foods, they had their feet done, a bath and each horse got lots of love and a fly mask.  Life was looking good…


The next three... Granny Asiya, Shaker and Baby

As I stated previously, there were many more horses from the neglectful farm.  While she was at the farm, Theresa noticed a very old (28 yrs) and

A closer look at very skinny, 28 yr old Granny

very skinny Arab mare who had a baby at her side… but that was basically impossible… and then Theresa noticed a skinny young mare a few feet away.  The young mare was the mother whose milk

And the Baby... not looking very well.

had dried up.  The older mare was acting like Granny to the baby and all three moved about together.  It was tragic to see all three in such bad shape but trying to make it together.  Of course, Theresa gathered these three into her nurturing arms.

(As a side note, on this visit, Theresa notices a young mare that has just given birth…)

Anyway, back to the new three… Granny, now named Asiya (one who comforts) and the young mare (Shaker) and the little filly have moved into the fine digs of BHFER.  The young mare is still not producing milk but the filly is old enough to eat solid food so they should be OK in time.

The Lucky 7 has turned into the Lucky 10…


Now, as you can imagine,

DR examines Bandit's very painful eye

BHFER was pretty busy at this point.  There were 10 new horses that required extra care as well as 110 degree heat with humidity.  Ugh.  The poor

Bandit needs immediate surgery.

new horses who were so stressed from the everything thus far started to have trouble breathing in the extreme heat and humidity.  Theresa and all of her

Poor, skinny Trisha tries to nurse Bandit

wonderful volunteers were working around the clock keeping all the horses cool and comforted.

So, of course the phone rings… again.

A woman from far away said that she needed Theresa.  because she noticed a very sick mare with a very sick baby at a nearby farm.  This mare had been bred to an important stud but then just left

Little Bandit's back, full of scabs and rain rot

out in pasture and made to fend for herself.  The mare was alone, she delivered the baby alone (a colt) a few months ago and had no support or food.  The neighbor asked the owner about the mare and the owner said that the mare was in such bad shape that she really didn’t want the horse any more.  Go figure.  That’s what happens when you throw them out to fend for themselves…

Anyway, the kindly neighbor offered to take the two.  She was told

Bandit is happier but Mom really needs some help...

by the owner that the baby had a runny eye but was OK.   But, in reality, the runny eye was much worse.  The vet came out and said the eye would need around the clock care.  Since this kindly neighbor didn’t have the time for this, she called Theresa…

Well, what are you

Newborn Passion with sick Mama and no milk

going to do if you are Theresa?  How can you turn down a baby in pain?  So, Theresa had her vet go out there for a second opinion and the vet said that the baby’s eye was terminal.  There was no way to save it.  From his estimation, the eye had been damaged for a very long time, probably just after his birth, and the poor colt had been suffering for a very,

Newborn Passion, still standing

very long time.  Well, that is all Theresa needed to hear.  That little baby was going to be helped.  And 24 hours later, his eye was out and the little guy, now named Bandit, was on the road to recovery.

His dam, Trisha, was at the hospital,

Passion with Theresa at the hospital, too weak to stand.

too, and the DRs all agreed that she was in bad shape.  The poor mare was skinny, had skin diseases, her milk was not sufficient and she was horribly stressed.  Hopefully, once she is back at BHFER (which is in process today), both the the Trisha and Bandit will recover.

From the reports about Bandit today,

Passion getting milk but she doesn't want it...

they say he is active and happy.  I’m sure having the painful eye removed (can you imagine the flies?!) was the best thing for him.

So, that makes 12 newbies at BHFER…

Passion and Starla receiving excellent care at the hospital but they are both very weak


Ugh.  So, here is the heartbreaker.  This baby may not make it.

Theresa gets yet ANOTHER call.  Remember that mare who had just had a baby three days ago from the neglectful farm full of horses?  Well, the owner was on the line saying that the mare and baby were not doing well.

Passion gets help to stand and tries to nurse

Gee, y’think?  They have no food or water… Well, that’s not true… As soon as the authorities got involved, hay, grain and water were brought in for the remaining horses until they could all be placed.  But, still, if you do not feed or water a pregnant mare, the baby will not be very strong, if he makes it through birth.

So, the neglectful

4-day old Passion awake and a bit brighter in the hospital

owner did the right thing and called Theresa.  Theresa remembered this baby.  Theresa cannot turn her back.  So, they arrange for Momma and baby to be transported to the nearby equine hospital.  Mama is weak, baby is weaker.  They name the mare, Starla, and immediately tend to her and give her nutrition and health to hopefully boost her milk production.

Passion standing at BHFER, "Can you help us?"

The baby, now named Passion, is given milk but she wants her Mama’s milk instead.  Oy.  The little filly refuses.  So, they let Passion nurse from her Mom (what little she has) and then give the filly IV fluids/support.  The hard part is that the filly cannot stand on her own.  She is so weak, she cannot get up.  Humans have to get her up every 2 hours to feed.  Hmmmmmm.

This is not looking good.  It has been determined that Starla and Passion should leave the hospital and go back to BHFER because there are more people at BHFER to tend to the baby around the clock.  So, this is where we are now… We have a very weak baby who is on 24 hour care.

14 NEW AND NEEDY HORSES, and a NEW BABY this very morning!!!…

So, what we have is a rescue that was already full, has now taken on 14 new, needy horses, 4 of which were in the hospital and now a baby that needs 24 hour care.  The initial, mal-nourished, rain-rotted, long hooved scallawags that were the Lucky 7 seem like a picture of health (kidding) compared to the next 7 that arrived.  Can you imagine if this happened at your farm?  The vet bills must be staggering let alone the extra feed, farrier and horse care items.  Addendum:  There is a new baby this  morning!  One of the mares that Theresa saved earlier in the year, Reva, just foaled a healthy (thank goodness) baby!  Good news in the sea of hardships!

CAN YOU HELP VIA THIS PAY PAL BUTTON BELOW? (If you find this button does not work, click here)

Can you help via the Pay Pal “donate” button below?   BEAUTY’S HAVEN FARM & EQUINE RESCUE is our Bucket Fund Equine Charity for August.  No amount is too small for the Bucket Fund.

I will try to keep you updated on these horses and babies.  I can also tell you that the last horse was removed from the negligent farm on Sunday.  So, all are gone to better homes and fosters.  Thank goodness.

It has been a very tough week…school fundraising ideas

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Is Your Horse Showing Signs of being Transbred?

Is your horse showing signs of being transbred?  Or, perhaps, even more specifically, transspecied?

What do I mean?

Well, do you have a horse that looks like a certain breed and has papers to prove that breeding, but acts like another breed?  Or, acts like another species altogether?  And, it isn’t as if they are trying to act like another breed, they truly, in their hearts, think they are something else.

I call that Transbred.  And, in the case of a few of my horses, they are Transpecied.  They may look like a horse, but they think they are another animal altogether…


Finn the Wild Mustang TWH

Meet Finn.  He is my 10 year old Tennessee Walking Horse gelding.  However, he does not see himself as a TWH at all.  Oh sure, he’ll gait when he’s excited and he does a pretty good job of it.  But, he doesn’t identify with gaiting.  Nope.  His identity is with Jeremiah Johnson’s horse or Daniel Boone’s horse.  He would like to be on the trail that no other horse has traversed before.  He is a Free Range Wild Mustang from Tennessee.

Finn sees no use in gaiting on a flat road just for the sake of a nice ride together.  Wha?  “You want me to just gait down this road, again?  Why?  This makes no sense to me.”  No joke.  He would rather zig zag, moonwalk or shift one foot outside the trail then go where he has gone before.  No, this horse is not your average cotton field, flatlands, “I’ll gait just to have a smooth ride with my owner”  Tennessee Walking Horse.  Noooooh.  Finn is a Free Range Wild Mustang!  Give me uncharted territory or give me Death.  He is a heck of a great trail horse, for sure!


Have you ever met an Icelandic Shetland?

VB, the prebred Icelandic Shetland

Me neither.  Until I birthed one here on the ranch. Her name is Violet Beauregard.  It fits.

I guess I should be clear.  VB is a full blooded Icelandic Horse.   I have her mother; she is a papered Icelandic mare.  And, although I didn’t watch her conception, I am pretty sure the sire was a well-known Icelandic stud imported from Iceland.  So I know that my little filly is actually an Icelandic Horse.

However, she thinks she is a Shetland.  This filly will turn over every bucket, unlock any door, rip open any feed bag, walk through any doorway, nibble anything, shake anything, shred anything, snake her neck and bang the gates like the best of the Shetlands (and I know because I have two Shetlands here).  VB will seek and destroy any and all things within her reach.  All the while, she will look as cute as a button and as angelic as possible.

And, she is angelic, sort-of.  She doesn’t mean to be destructive.  Its just that all things interest her for a moment until they have bored her and are no fun anymore.  Then she is “done” with that item and tosses it.  I would think she has ADD except she is always thinking about what she can destroy touch next so she is actually quite single minded.  Once someone described her as having a “high play drive”.  I almost spit up my Starbucks.  Y’think?  Understatement to me.  This girl is driven to… to… um, she’s just driven.  Period.

And, she hates to be ridden.  This is also a Shetland trait.  If you have ever ridden a Shetland, you know that their whole goal is to stop being ridden.  This is why all little girls should start with a Shetland.  If you can ride a Shetland, you can ride anything.  As a matter of fact, I put my 11 year old daughter on Violet Beauregard last week.  I kinda think they are a lot alike.  Anyway, they were both in tears by the end of it.  I’m not sure who got the best piece of the other.  I think it was a draw.  I actually heard the bell sound when they entered the arena…  ;)

Anyway, VB is Transbred.  She thinks she’s a Shetland and as many times as I’ve tried to tell her that she is an Icy, she just doesn’t “feel” it.  Sigh.


Huh?  What do I mean by this?  Well, I have a few here that are not sure they are horses.  They identify more with other creatures.


Wrigley thinks he is Nessie.  Do you know what I mean?

Loch Ness Wrigley

Nessie is the sea creature from the Loch Ness.  You’ve seen the photos right?  Dinosaur body which is huge but mostly submerged and then this loooong neck protruding from the dark sea.

Yup.  That’s Wrigley.  If I had a photoshop program on my blog I would have cropped in a wave just below his body here.  You can draw it in your mind…  Can you see the similarity?

Wrig is an anomaly.  He is a Morgan.  I know this because I have his Momma and I know his Sire and arranged for the quickie matrimonial insemination.  Yet, he is not like any Morgan I’ve ever seen.  He is a freak of nature, in a good way, but still very otherworldly.  He is very tall.  He is the tallest horse here and he is only 2 and a MORGAN.  As you know, Morgans are not known for their size, ahem.  He is very floaty and stealth.  And, his neck is alien.  Not only is is very long and telescopic, but he can rotate it and move in ways unnatural for a horse.

So, I think he has seen the faded, grey photos of Nessie and has decided to make the myth a reality.  He is a mythical equine sea creature of epic proportions.  He is Loch Ness Wrigley.


Remember Lurch from the Addams Family TV series?


Well, he has been reincarnated into my mustang mare, Remi.  That’s the truth.

Every time you walk into her field she comes over, like a good butler.  She stands in front of you and asks what you want.  And, as soon as you tell her, she rolls her eyes backwards and lets out a disgruntled retort.  You remember how Lurch did the exact same thing, right?

I mean, she has to feel a bit indentured since she was wild and then became caught and branded.  So, the butler sentiment comes honestly.  However, she does have the free Mustang spirit down deep so this whole servitude thing just really rubs her the wrong way.  However, she is a polite mare so she will come over to greet you and do the right thing.  Then, when you scratch her and tell her you are going to brush her or put her fly mask on, she rolls her eyes, gives a bit of Elvis lip curl and then lets out the Lurch grumbletude.

What’s weird about this grumbletude is that she actually likes to be brushed.  She likes to have her fly mask put on her face.  She likes a plethora of things that she pretends she doesn’t like.  Remi will roll her eyes and play Lurch no matter what.  And, so did Lurch.  You never saw him not being Lurch yet he stayed with the Addams’ and defended them often.  Same with Remi.  She loves it here.  It is just difficult to tell.  This is why I think she is Lurch.  After all, you never see them in the same room together…


So, I’m sure many of you may now begin to recognize the clinical signs of transbreeding or transspecied.  I think these syndromes are here to stay and I think we just have to, as caretakers, understand and roll with it.  If you have a mule that thinks it is a Fresian or a Percheron that thinks he is Baryshnikov, go with it.

Sometimes it is better to appreciate who they are inside instead of what they look like outside…

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