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!

I Received a Letter from United Pegasus Today…

The sun is shining and it is a beautiful day…  But, I feel a bit sad because of a letter I received from the United Pegasus Foundation.  Do you know them?  Well, if you are busy and don’t have time to read about them, but you do have $5 to spare, skip to the last two paragraphs or just click the donate button below. But, if you have time to read, let me tell you what they do…

The United Pegasus Foundation was created by Helen Meredith.  She’s a woman equestrian, just like you and me, who’s breed is the Thoroughbred.  Well, in 1995 while visiting a feedlot full of off the track TBs, the excess waste and discard in the TB world came to her attention.  Helen took it upon herself to start a 501 (c) 3 which she named the United Pegasus Foundation.  Helen called everyone she knew and rallied the troops to start rescuing the OTTB  (Off The Track TBs) from feedlots and trainers who were ready to let go of certain horses or injured horses.  Helen’s initiative helped bring awareness to this deficit in the TB world and many are very grateful to her.

So, after I received the letter, I went to the United Pegasus Foundation website and read about several horses that can be adopted and others that can be sponsored.  One that really caught my eye was a TB named, Sand Lizard, that has been there since 1999!  Now, that isn’t the thing that is so interesting to me, it is that he had earned $420,402 in his career!  OMG!  And, there are several similar stories — horses that earned money for their owners only to find themselves dumped on feedlots.  You can go to the sponsor page and read those stories here.  Helen has 65 horses in residence there…

But, it isn’t only TBs Helen helps…  United Pegasus Foundation shined their light on the Premarin industry and upon the thousands of PMU mares (Pregnant Mare Urine) on Canadian Premarin ranches.  What is Premarin?  PREgnant MAre urINe.  Premarin is an estrogen replacement drug that is derived from pregnant mare’s urine.  That doesn’t sound so bad until you discover how the mares are kept…  Since they have to be pregnant, they are all constantly pregnant.  Since they have to have their urine collected, the mares are hooked up to catheters 23 hours a day in a stall.  Since the companies want as much urine as they can, they usually pick large breeds for this (and they are more docile).  But, the most tragic part is that these mares give birth every year and those foals are removed and most often sent to slaughter…  unless, someone like Helen steps in and organizes mass rescues of the spent mares and their babies.

In 2002, a report came out that Premarin wasn’t very effective for women.  That news sounds like it would really have helped the horses, and it did in the long run… but the short term effect had all these Canadian ranches closing and dumping thousands of mares, babies and stallions at the slaughterhouses.  Helen sprung into action creating awareness across the country and organized for thousands of these Canadian horses to be brought down into the US and adopted out.  I have first hand experience with this as I adopted the sweetest baby draft gelding from them in 2004.  I named him Willy and his picture is the second one from the top.

Anyway, back to the letter I received.  It seems that with this awful economy, UPF is struggling.  Now, I know there are several rescues that are struggling so I’m not playing favorites… I’m just trying to think of another way to help them all.  And, today, I thought I would tell you about Helen, what she has done and then ask for a very small, manageable ($5) donation.

You see, I think that it is sometimes easier to donate a very small amount anonymously.  I think that sometimes if a person only has $5 to spare, they are embarrassed to admit that since their name shows up on the receipt.  Or, they feel like a cheapskate even though that is truly all that they have available.  So, I thought that maybe if I set up a larger bucket account and asked you to donate only $5 into that bucket, as a group, we could donate one larger chunk.  I have no idea if this will work.  But, I am adding a button at the bottom which only allows for a $5 donation.  (You can click it a few times… or go to the United Pegasus donate page and donate all you want and get a tax deductible receipt!)  In this way, at the end of the week when most of you readers have read this post, I’ll have a fund bucket full of $5 donations.  I will then let you know how much we garnered as a group and then I’ll send it off to Helen via Pay Pal and you can all view the receipt.

I have no idea if this will work, but if it does, I will do this fund bucket every month.

Anyway, it is truly anonymous and I will absolutely send every penny off to the United Pegasus Foundation.  The donation button for your $5 is below.  I will keep very careful tabs.  Thank you all, in advance.

(Photo credit for the two photos which have babies from the website Spring Hill Horse Rescue.  Thank you!)
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

What does my Shetland Pony have in Common with Secretariat?

Well, nothing really.  But, maybe… I’ve been thinking about this…

Have you seen the trailer for the new Disney movie, SECRETARIAT?  If not, here is the link.  Anyway, I watched the trailer this morning and I was bawling by the end of it.  That motivated me to go to Wikipedia for the Cliff Notes and often inaccurate summaries of the history of Secretariat.  The movie trailer had indicated hardship and struggle, belief when no one else would and David slaying Goliath kind of epic stuff.  Wikipedia didn’t go into any of that but did give me his race history and life/death stuff.  I was compelled.  The emotion I felt for this horse and the people around him made me swoon.  It made me even stronger in my conviction to make a difference in the horse world.

Now, how can I make a difference?  Well, I have lots of post-it notes with famous and inspiring quotes stuck around everywhere that tell me I can do it.  Unfortunately, they don’t tell me how.  So far, I’ve only come up with HORSE AND MAN the TV series which is on hiatus…  And, this blog.  So, here I sit, feeling the need to elevate the human awareness of the value of the horse but not sure how to go about it.   How am I going to do this?  I can write about horses every day… which I am doing… but maybe it has something to do with the way I write about the horse that might make a difference.  Dunno.

You see, the human perception is different for famous horses.  Secretariat was a stellar individual with a trunkload of talent.  He was in the right place at the right time and he tipped.  It all came together for him.  And there have been other famous horses who had the same fortune when effort met with opportunity.  Those kinds of stories are easy for the human to oooh and aaaah and feel misty-eyed over.  An athlete horse or a show horse or a trick horse … those horses stand before us and we take note.  But what about your average horse?  How do I elevate the thinking around the horse in general?  I mean, not all dogs are Rin Tin Tin, but we humans are coming around to elevating our regard for the dog in general.  How about the horse?  They aren’t all Secretariats, but they are all something special in and of themselves.

So how will I go about this?  I have no idea, yet.  But, eventually, hopefully, my efforts will meet an opportunity, too.  In the meantime, I’ve been inspired by the Secretariat trailer to talk about the stellar qualities in the everyman horses.  They haven’t done anything newsworthy or record breaking.  However, they all have talent of one kind or another. I’m not sure if there are any special awards or noteworthy contests for lock picking, door opening, stealth grain stealing, fence rail breaking, trough bathing, extreme rolling, Houdini Fly Mask removal, blanket stomping, pocket searching, accurate cow kicking, bloating, buckin’ horse imitations and many other varied and sordid achievements, but all horses do have special talents.  Just like we all have special talents.  So, my effort today to elevate the human awareness of the horse is to talk about my everyman Shetland pony, Slick.

What does my Shetland Pony have in common with Secretariat…  Well, a few things, actually.  Slick is the fastest pony I’ve ever seen, he is loved by a female human and he is for sure the most proud pony I have ever met although I think pride is a pony trait.  But probably the most similar characteristic is his ability to steadfastly go after what he wants.  However, comparing my average joe pony to Secretariat isn’t really the point.   I think I need to compare him to no one.  I think I just need to talk about how special he is as an individual.  He hasn’t set any world records, but he is a champion in my book… Here’s why:

Slick was born a rank and surly high plains drifter trapped inside the body of an adorable pie-bald Shetland pony.  For that, he deserves accolades.  The poor boy does his very best to prove to all who will listen that he is the Dirty Harry of his breed, a Big Horse to be reckoned with or left alone on a grassy plain.  He’s Clint Eastwood yet he looks like Pee Wee Herman.  Imagine the difficulty in that!   When Slick sees me approaching his paddock, this pint-sized toughguy snakes his neck and grates his teeth along the pipe gate just to let me know NOT to mess with him today.  And all it makes me do is giggle.  The indignity!  Yet, he survives… He never gives up.  He never gives in.  He has the temerity of a worker ant and is relentless at getting his point across.  “I want OUT now!  Now!  Now! Now!”

Slick will remove all the tools from the farrier’s pockets without him knowing.  And, he can steal a treat or topple a grain barrel lickety split!  He is a quick draw with an angelic face.  Maybe Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday is a better comparison.  No one took Doc Holliday seriously until they saw him draw his gun.  That’s my Slick.  No one knows how fierce he can be until he swipes your wallet and slinks off silently without anyone knowing.

And for all his bravado, I know his soft spot.  He will gently let my tiny step-daughter groom him until his skin is raw.  He never bites or gives her attitude, he just gently moves away when he’s done.  Just like any gentleman gunslinger with a golden heart and a boyish grin — he captures your heart.  That’s my boy.  Adorably bad to the bone.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!