Category Archives: Horse Stories

Oy. Sometimes You Just Get Emotional. Any Helpers Out there?

I have to say that I am very careful about these kinds of posts because I don’t want to become a rescue blog.  I’m not saying I’m not all for it —  I am.

So, standing on the shoulders of my byline, “Exploring the bond between equines and their people”, I’m going to post about an equine that needs people.  Now, there are many, many horses out there that need help, but babies and skinny, pregnant mares seem to really tug at my heart.  Well, they ALL tug at my heart…

I was sitting here on Saturday morning, musing about my topic for Sunday when this came into my mailbox.  Oy.  Another starved baby on Craigslist.  The sad part is the owners think the foal is just fine and want $100 for his purchase.  Luckily, a wonderful rescue in that area, Beauty’s Haven Farm and Equine Rescue, is going out to get him today.  As of right now, I have no idea if they will get there in time…  If you want to watch the progress of this rescue, you can go to the BHFER  website for updates.  Or check in with this Forum (you might have to sign up… if so, look for the header, “BHFER: Starved baby needs help” under HORSE RESCUE ISSUES) that is taking donations and keeping everyone abreast of the situation up to the minute.  It will take many man hours, man power and special care to nurse this baby back to health.  If you feel the desire to donate, I do know that BHFER is a  501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization so the donation is tax deductible.

So, if this moves you, please go to either of the sites above to watch this story unfold or to  help with his, we hope, rehabilitation.

HOW DO YOU RE-FEED A STARVED HORSE?   Did you know that you cannot just give them a bunch of grain and hay?  There is a method to re-feeding a starved horse.

WHAT VETS SAY (I have two vet links highlighted here)

.  Most vets recommends this:

“The best approach to re-feeding a starved horse is to give frequent (every 4 hours) meals of high-quality alfalfa hay,” Stull says.

One pound or about one-sixth of a flake at each meal will provide a good source of protein to begin rebuilding the body. Because alfalfa is high in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, it helps provide electrolytes that reduce the risk for catastrophic system failure.

This diet should be maintained for 10 days, though the amount of alfalfa can be increased (up to four pounds) and the number of feedings decreased (to three) for Days 4 through 10.

After 10 days the horse can be fed as much alfalfa as it will eat in two feedings, and it should be allowed access to a salt or electrolyte mix. Feeding grain or other supplements should be avoided until the horse is well on its way to recovery, which can take 60 to 90 days.


I’m going to tell you about his incredible feed for starved horses.  I’m not saying the vets aren’t right, I’m just saying that this works great, too!  This is an easy to digest, complete feed for horses in general —  but for starved horses in particular.  So, you will know if you ever come upon a starvation case…

I first heard about this feed when I was watching a starved horse story on one of the rescue boards.  Then, I saw THRIVE pop up several more times on other starvation cases.  What really got me is that the manufacturer of this feed, DALE MOULTON went above and beyond the call of duty.  I know he traveled the feed himself to destinations where the starved horses were being rehabilitated.  He would do whatever he could to get the feed to the horses!  I remember that he once met the rescuers half way between a far away starved horse and the Thrive distribution center in Texas.  I was amazed!  He won my heart after that!  But, not just on his grace, on the success of the feed.

One Thrive starvation story that I will site here is the case of “Dolly”.  When she came into Rainbow Meadows, she couldn’t even stand up.  The rescuers picked her up, loaded her into the trailer while she was laying down, drove her for 3 hours and tended to her like a Faberge Egg.  (This was Oct 31st pictured.)  I can remember how the first five days were touch and go as they waited for the Thrive to get to them.  (Pictured as Nov. 1st.)  As you can see by the pictures (third pic is Dolly on Nov 25th), Dolly thrived (last pic was Jan ’10)!

Here is an excerpt from the Rainbow Meadow website regarding Dolly:  “Dolly came to Rainbow Meadows in the most dire condition of any horse to arrive here. Saved by two wonderful volunteers, who trailered her in from Missouri, Dolly had almost nothing left in her. So thin and so weak, she couldn’t even stand for the three-hour trailer ride to the rescue. For the first days, she spent much of her time lying down, and could only rise when given the assistance of being hoisted up with a tractor. But by less than two weeks later, she was already trotting, gaining weight and healing from her wounds caused by her struggling as she laid in the trailer for transport. Her recovery will be a long one, but she has already proven that she has a true zest for life and Rainbow Meadows is doing everything it can to give her the chance she deserves!”

So, in conclusion, this post holds a few stories of man helping equine.  I sure hope this little nameless starved Craigslist colt will have the same happy ending as Dolly.

Thanks for reading this…

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My Band of Showhorses and Raggamuffins

I thought I’d introduce you to my herd.  They live together, sort-of.  All of them are here, but each circulate in their own semi-herd.  But, one of my favorite things to do is let them all out together (with supervision).  I would do this more often but some of them ruin it for the others, if you know what I mean…  First, there is a lot of jostling.  It never changes… the ponies try to fight with the biggest horse, Bodhi.  Figures.  Or, the ponies try to mate with the larger mares.  Totally pony.  The lead mare is always the lead mare. The bully mare is always the bully mare and the wild mare is always wild.  The TWHs run around the outside, trying to get the group to riot.  Norma, the donkey, just watches in disgust.   Meanwhile, the opportunistic Icy is getting into the barn and eating whatever she can find while everyone else is distracted — and the baby is wandering over to learn her bad habits.  Ahhh, so it goes.  I love watching them when they don’t know I’m looking…  So much fun to see how they really behave!

OK, here is my herd in no particular order:

TESS – Lead mare,  motto:  “Hey, do I have to come over there and… “

Registered name:  HVK Noble Heiress, Morgan mare, National Champion, 20 years old, 6 foals:  Tess is the grand dam.  She has been lead mare since she arrived at 2 years of age.  She was bred by the Kohlers (yes, the sink people) and is remarkably talented.  But, what I love most about Tess is that she is lead mare without ever hurting anyone.  I swear, she just lays back an ear and everyone scatters!  I still have her first foal, Gwendolyn, and the last, Wrigley.  I wrote about Tess in my Equine Canker Cured post.  She suffered from this but is now healthy and muddy, just the way she likes it.  (This pic is of Tess and Wrigley at breakfast this morning, nose to nose.)

GWEN: Bully mare, motto:  “Come over here and MAKE me?”

Registered name:  Flaire’s Gwendolyn, Morgan mare, 1st foal of Tess, 15 years old, gorgeous but knows it… Trouble is her middle name.  This mare is so sweet on the ground…  Famous last words, eh?  People think she is so pretty and sweet.  Well, she can be… but usually she isn’t.  Gwen is the most trained horse here because I had lots of time when she was young, and because she needed it.  I swear that this mare did not mature and become safe until she was 13.  Now, I am comfortable riding her, barely.  She can rear like Trigger and jump over anything.  Very athletic.  Too athletic.  I thought about breeding her because of her beauty but then decided she might kill and eat her young. (This picture is of us just before a trail ride.)

VIOLET BEAUREGARD:  Busy little thing, loves to go through any open door, motto:  “Hey, I could fit in there!”

Not registered yet, Icelandic mare, 6 years old, really small and terribly cute.  My husband calls her Alfalfa because her hair sticks straight up.  I rescued her Mommy from a poor gal who had lost her job.  The mare, Glefsa, was very well bred and registered.  Inside of her was VB.  I knew I was in for it the moment she was born.  VB came out screaming.  I swear she was wailing and flinging her legs as she was coming out.  She hasn’t changed a bit.  We named her Violet Beauregard (Willy Wonka reference) because this girl is ALWAYS busy.  Teaching her to ride is like trying to wrangle kittens.  The good and bad news is that she is smart as a whip.  I can teach her anything in one sitting  — as long as she wants to learn.  I thought this photo of her was perfect.  Here she sits in the arena with lots of toys and all she wants is OUT.  Bang, Bang, Bang.  If she was a boy, I would have named her Bam-Bam.

SLICK, DODGER AND NORMA JEAN: Motley crew of 2 Shetlands and a Donkey, motto: “I’m coming, tooooooo!”

None registered.  These three stick together like glue.  Slick, the pie-bald 17 year old Shetland,  came from a TB breeding farm when he was 3.  He was the teasing stud.  Poor guy couldn’t see out of his stall.  I heard the owners complaining that he constantly picked the locks and went marauding down the aisleways.  So, I bought him and gelded the little stinker.  He is still a little stinker but I love him.  Once I cut his forelock to look like Billy Idol.  Actually, that is a good reflection of this little guy.  Rock Star.  He snakes his neck, struts around and wrecks hotel rooms (well, he would if he could…).

Dodger dodged a bullet. I got him from a feedlot when he was just 5.  Now, he is 19.  Dodger has lousy conformation for a Shetland.  He was used on a pony-ring ride, the kind you see at County Fairs.  His saddle didn’t fit (by the looks of his huge scars on his shoulders).  And, I expect from his attitude, he didn’t make his proprietors happy.  So, he was at the auction.  I got him for $26.50, his meat price at the time.  Dodger is still very aloof.  He is a good boy and does whatever he is told, but he is reserved.  However, when he is loose with the big horses, he will try to beat up Bodhi and mount Gwen, his girlfriend.  I have to be careful with him, little bugger.

Norma Jean got her name because in the winter she has a very thick, curly coat.  But, in the summer, she sheds to be a beautiful donkey — just like Marilyn Monroe.  She is a very good girl and a wonderful watch donkey.  She will alert when anything is out of the ordinary.  I love that about her.  I got Norma from a donkey breeder who was about 200 years old and going out of business.  I think her name was Jenny Sue.  Anyway, I’m not sure that Norma really likes me.  She tolerates me and comes over to be groomed.  But, on the whole, I think she loves the Shetlands and any other male horse.  You should see her eat a grape.  Her lips are adeptly prehensile.

BODHI: The Biggest, motto: “Wasn’t me…”

Not registered.  Bodhi is my husband’s horse.  He is a 5 year old Percheron/Welsh Cobb cross.  Yup.  The Percheron jumped the fence.  Anyway, he is as sweet as can be but he is really big.  And, he likes to lean, chew, paw, smash or get into anything he wants.  His pasture used to have a three walled, beautiful shelter but Bodhi remodeled it.  Now just has the 4 posts and a roof.  And, he is terminally mouthy.  Fence boards, shelters, trees … are fine to nibble.  Believe me, he has all of his salts, vitamins, supplements, food, you name it. He just likes to use his mouth and to push on things.  I hope he will grow out of it.  But, even with all of that, we still love him.  He is a great match for my husband and a really solid, good guy.  He loves Remi and no one else.  Maybe Gwen, if he has to be stuck with someone other than Remi.

REMINGTON: Obi-Wan Mustang (wild caught), motto:  “Been there, done that but you can never be too sure…”

Remi has a brand from the BLM and is an 11 year old mustang mare.  I rescued her off of a feedlot.  She was skinny and her feet were very long.  I had really never gotten a mature horse without a history.  That was odd and scary for me.  But, she had a very sweet face and kind eye — besides, isn’t that what rescuing is all about?  You never know what you are getting.  What you are doing is saving a life.  I called the BLM and asked if they could read her brand. They did.  She was gathered at 2 years old from Oregon.  Her herd has Spanish Barb, TB and gaited horses in the wood pile.  Remi is the second largest horse here and she eats the most.  I find her very cool and aware.  She is a thinker.  And, she watches my every move.  I like her.  I won’t ride her (you’d feel the same way if you were on her back), but I will walk with her, practice all my equine body work on her (she loooooves that) and appreciate her for how far she’s come.  She is regal.

FINN AND BEAUTIFUL GIRL: Frick-n-Frack, motto: “Sure, I’m game… What do you want to do?”

I really shouldn’t group these two together because they are great individuals. They are full siblings.  I liked Finn so much, I went back to the breeder for another.  I bought his little sister sight unseen.  And, funny, they are not alike in ANY way.  Ha!  But, they are always together.  Always.

Finn, registered name is Bad News Generation,  is a 10 year old, easy going TWH gelding with not much gait but a lovely canter.  He isn’t built like a regular gaited horse (which is why he isn’t so great at gaiting) therefore many saddles fit him.  Finn likes to trail ride off trail.   He’s fine to walk along a distinguished route, but if you steer him off the path, he perks up and puts on his Daniel Boone cap!  Wahoo!  He loves blazing trails!  He wishes he lived in the Old West!

Beautiful Girl, registered name Bad News Little Bit, on the other hand, is not so easy going and very precise in her manner.  This 7 year old TWH mare listens very well and has incredible gaits but a rocky canter.  She is an awesome gaiting machine!  However, hardly any saddle will fit her shoulder.  In fact, the reason I demo’d so many saddles last year was to try to find a fit for her.  I’ve had to go treeless.  Beautiful Girl is a sweetheart and I think she and I will become much more bonded this summer.  She is such a polite and honest filly.  And, I love her blond mane.

WRIGLEY: The Baby, motto: “Oh yeah… well, um… MOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!”

Wrigley’s registered name is Wrigley.  He is the last foal of my lead mare, Tess.  Wrig is a long yearling and already taller than his mom.  Sigh.  I wanted an easy going, smallish trail horse and I got a HUGE show horse.  I’m not complaining but I wish he would have come out differently.  He is going to be too tall for me, with an even higher headset.  Sigh.  Still, I think he is a sweetie. However, I do notice that all the mares kick and bite him often so I think he is a bit irritating to them.  ;)  Wrigley tries to act tough but as soon as he is threatened, he goes running to his mother for protection.  And, of course, she gives it.  She loves being his Mom.  In the summer I will have to end their togetherness and banish him to another paddock.  I’ll probably put VB in there with him so they can irritate each other — or perhaps she will teach him all of her tricks.  Sigh.

SAMANTHA:  Wild Woman (she is wild), motto: “Get away from me!”

Registered?  Ha!  Now THAT is funny…  Sam is so beautiful you just want to go up to her and admire her.  But, you probably shouldn’t because she would just run away.  I wrote about her earlier as my rescue story.  I love watching her because she is so wild, but I also wish I could touch more than just her head and shoulder.  I used to really worry that I would never trim her feet or be able to care for her if she got sick… so I worked with her and even sent her to training.  We didn’t get very far.  She is a tough nut.  But, I can halter her and she will follow me.  So, in an emergency, I could lead her away.  Sam’s feet stay trimmed, somehow.  I think it is her rocky pasture.  I do have to say, in her defense, that the other horses seem to like her.  She was a great Mom (she came to me skinny and very heavy in foal) and Wrigley adores her.  I took these photos of Sam this morning.  I think they are perfect…  “What ARE you doing?”  “Stop with that thing in your hand, I think it will steal my soul.”  “What about NO don’t you understand??!”

So there you have it… 12 fuzzy buddies that live with me here in Northern California.  Raggamuffins mostly, but Showhorses some…

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