A Sunday Update on Little Honey Bandit…

Hello all!  This was supposed to run on Friday but got lost in the huge and catastrophic hiccup with my ex-hosting company.  I feel like I just went through a very fast and nasty break-up with my previous web host!  And they took more than they should have when they left!  ;)

Do you remember Honey Bandit?  Here is the original post with his story.  In short, he was found in a BLM holding facility, not doing very well.  He was only 6 weeks old.  No one could find his Momma…  The poor little guy had been trying to nurse off of anyone and he was totally beat up.  97 cuts on his body.  So sad.

HB was standing at the holding facility, but just about as soon as the good folks at Miracle Mustang Rescue got him home, he crashed.  Very touch and go.  The original post has that blow by blow… and below we have what has happened since told through emails from his human Mama, Palomino.

Honey Bandit and Mom in the hospital.


Today we had an improvement in the blood work, or at least a little one.   HB’s potassium levels are dropping slowly.  But they keep saying “brain damage?”.  I don’t think that, but he is just very lethargic sometimes.   He is very weak.

We also have some sad news.  HoneyBandit appears to be completely deaf.  There is absolutely no reaction to any noise or stimulation whatsoever.  My heart is breaking for him.   How cruel this world has been to him.  Stripped away from his family, so severely injured, and when he calls out “Where are you?”  No one answers.  His world has been totally cruel. But not anymore.  I have notified BLM of this new development, and we will have the vet do more work to find out the extent of the damage and if she thinks it could be temporary.

On one hand this is horrible, but on the other hand it could be why he is so non reactive to normal stimuli.  He is getting no normal stimuli.  This is by no means a death sentence, and again we will take whatever steps we need to so he has a comfortable and (as happy as can be) life.

Every day that passes seems to indicate that he might always be a “special needs” horse, and since that is what we specialize in, that is okay.  At some point he could be placed with an adopter, but for now the only thing I care about or am interested in is getting through one day at a time.  The vet stated that each day he lives gives him a better chance of survival.

The flesh wounds are healing...


Today is Saturday, and I am trying to catch up with everything.  We have to wait til Monday to talk to the vet about his hearing, or lack thereof.  We also had some mixed news from the vet yesterday.  His heart is getting stronger – yeah! – but his potassium level is again on the rise. We will be taking him in on Monday.

BLM offered to pay for the vet care up to the day that CHILLY PEPPER – MIRACLE MUSTANG, Equine Rescue & More formally adopted him so we could continue to provide whatever treatment he needs to stay alive.


Last night was pretty rough.  As the tears slid down my face, I looked down at HoneyBandit.  Lying so still, in a solitary world of loneliness, his life so brutally changed.  Only a month ago, he was running along on his tiny hooves, flying along side his mom, surrounded by his family, free to run in the California hills.

Now, his mama is gone, his family is gone, and his world has turned silent.  He doesn’t hear the pounding feet as he flies across the hills.  He doesn’t feel the warmth of his mother’s breath against his skin. There is no more playing with the other foals, frolicking about, kicking up their heels.  Instead, he lays quietly on his blanket, an IV running into his catheter.  It doesn’t hurt, but this is not the way things were supposed to be.


Later, after we helped him up, he walked over to the fence.   Chino was standing on the outside.  He went up to the fence and started nosing the dog.  (HB has been so “shocky” and stressed that a wild life specialist had suggested he could be stressed from the dogs as he is still a wild animal).  However, he would not leave the fence.  So I opened the door and the dog ran in and laid down on his bed.  HoneyBandit slowly walked over and laid down on the bed beside him.  You can be sure the dogs are back, and this morning he seemed to have a little more spunk in his step.

He can stand long enought to nibble on hay

Adam & Celeste Deem, good friends and author of SAVING LI’L SMOKEY, stopped by to visit and brought a wonderful surprise.  They brought some of their “signed” books to sell and all the proceeds go to HoneyBandit’s care.  For anyone who has not read their book, it is awesome and Adam, while working on July17, 2010, fighting a forest fire, found the bear cub with his paws literally melted off.  The story is about their rescue, rehab and release of the badly injured bear cub.  God bless them for all their awesome care.


Today started a little bit better.  He seemed to have more energy today, probably because he got his family back!

Wow – today we got some good news, and some not so good news.  The good news is that HoneyBandit, for the first time in 10 days does not have a catheter in and does not require fluids every hour.  Yeah…..  He still has to eat (syringe fed milk) every hour, and has to be either gotten up or “flipped” every two hours.

When we get him up, he walks off of his bed, goes potty, eats, drinks and then returns to his bed and flops down for his nap.

The scary thing we found out today is that he has another issue.  BLM told me, and showed me where, he has a hernia.  It seemed to disappear and didn’t ever seem to come back.  But yesterday and today he had a huge (handful) of edema ????.    The vets checked it and said that it was not an actual hernia yet, but we have to be extremely careful or his gut will come out.  The diameter is pretty big, and you can feel where the circle will be if it tears.  Right now it is just a paper thin layer of skin protecting it.  It’s almost like there were several layers of skin and now there is only one left.  It is a very weak spot.

So please pray that it gets better and not worse.   The vet said that if it got big and hard to call immediately.  I asked the vet if he could survive surgery.  He kind of smiled and said  – He’s pretty tough.  Our little man has earned the mustangs some serious respect.  Cuz we got HEART!

Hney Bandit with his buddies


Sometimes at night he is dreaming and his little hooves are moving and he is whinnying in his sleep.  Who is he calling?  Is it from a time when he could hear the response?  Or is it a nightmare when he hears the horrible sound of the helicopter bearing down on him, stripping away his family, pushing them further and further apart;  we can only pray that he will someday get his hearing back.

Today was a very big day for HB.  He had lots of his 2 legged friends visiting, and he got to hang out with Patches, (the mini) again.

Patches is lonely because the big horses don’t like him. So I think these two are going to bond very well

HB went out into the front yard and nibbled the grass and weeds.  He was out for quite a while, and then his legs started to get really weak and shaky.  My cue to bring him in and put him to bed.

His bottom left eyelid keeps turning inside out, (curls inside?) and the vet said it is because he was so skinny he didn’t even have enough fat in his eye socket to help keep his eye where it should be.  That is very skinny if you ask me.

We tried to offer him a bottle after he wanted to nurse, but he is having none of it.  So we will continue with what we are doing (he seems to be thriving – for someone in his condition).  But at least we wanted to try and see if he would find it comforting.  He was actually quite offended, so we won’t push that one.  Apparently he is a big boy now and he eats like a big boy.

Wonder how he will do tomorrow or if he over did it today.  We will see……

Hb and his new mini friend, Patches!


As we thought, HoneyBandit did so much yesterday that today he was much quieter.  But that is to be expected.   He still ate like crazy though.  He is looking much better.  Putting on some weight and his sores are getting better every day.   He still kind of looks like a deer.

He is getting more feisty.  When I take his temperature he figures he will just walk away.  That is huge because before he never moved at all.  When he gets his meds, he also shows that there is actually a little horse in there.


His blood work is looking good.  However, we are on “hernia watch”.  It isn’t actually a hernia yet, but the skin is extremely soft and easy to tear.  So we are being very careful.

He loves to eat his hay and can move his tail in every direction.  That is huge as he couldn’t move it at all before.  His little brain is turning on a teeny bit at a time.

I believe that with all of us together, lots of prayers and good thoughts, he has an excellent chance of beating the odds.

HB with his coat... getting stronger every day!


Wow, today was really something.  Headed down to the vet to get HoneyBandit’s eye checked.

Good news!

The vet told me today that Honey Bandit is no longer in a negative state.  His body is no longer “eating itself” (or his muscles) to survive and he has turned that corner and his body is in a positive state vs. A negative one.  So we like to hear that.  The issue with his eyes is not real comfy for him, but there should be no ill effects on his eye sight.  To date there is no change with his hearing.  Yesterday was his two week anniversary at our rescue.

p.s.  The vet also told me that the reason Honey Bandit’s stomach appears to be kind of bloated is that he has the same syndrome the people who were in the concentration camps had.  After such severe starvation, the stomach wall is so weak that when you start eating, the wall is not strong enough to hold in the food, and it stretches out.  That is why after the war the people who had been starved all ended up with bulging tummies.  He said that it could take several years, but he will probably get over that also.

HB sleeping with his best bud


Honey Bandit is mentioned by Madeleine Pickens!

Madeline wrote: so thankful for the opportunity to start our Pilot Program with 1,000 horses

anne: believe me when I tell you…HoneyBandit’s “mismanagement” helped with this…thnx!

— On Fri, 9/17/10, Madeleine Pickens no-reply@madeleinesmustangs.org wrote:

Wow, what a night.  I am writing this from the beautiful barn at ANSELMO VINEYARDS.   Yesterday, the showers that had been forecast for Shingletown, actually turned into a real storm.  Within minutes, we were flooding.  The driveway had at least an inch or two of rain and the carport, which had been our temporary “intensive care unit”, was also full of water.

So I picked up the phone and called the beautiful Chicken and her husband “RC” and told them of HoneyBandit’s plight.  Being the fabulous friends that they are, Chicken simply asked “Do you want me to come and pick him up?”.   I told her no, my voice choking, we would bring him down.  Thank you so much”.

So about an hour later we were all tucked in to one of the most beautiful stalls I have ever slept in. We didn’t expect quite this much rain this early.  But all is good as HoneyBandit did not even get the tiniest bit wet or chilled.

The even better news is that something happened last night.  It was almost like a teeny light turned on, and HoneyBandit seems a little bit more aware of things.  Last night instead of going to “his bed” and lying down to sleep, he was on his way to get a drink, when I thought he “fell”.  I realized later that he had deliberately stopped there to lay down.  He landed right by where I was laying.  It took him doing that a couple of times before I figured out that he was actually coming to lay down close to me.  Throughout the night he would rest his head against me, and this was the first time he had ever done that.

On one side of the stall there were about 2 or 3 horses peering through the window of the stall.  The 2nd wall had an opening to the stall next to it, and “Timmy” was standing guard all night.  He would whinny softly and nicker at him.   So although once again the little Bandit kept me awake all night, it was a night filled with blessings.  I had a warm and dry little guy, and he started to make that emotional connection.

Just remember, HONEYBANDIT is going to congress so no other foals have to go through this, and we can’t do it without you.


HoneyBandit managed to get up BY HIMSELF today.   Until now, he needed a lot of help.  When I went to take his blanket off later that morning, he thought he would “leave”.  He tried to “buck”.  Didn’t work, but he actually reacted like a “normal” foal for a few seconds.  Later he actually tried to run across the driveway.  He was quite scary as he almost landed on his face, but he actually boot scooted for a few seconds.   So, he is still making improvements little by little.  He is not out of the woods, but every day he seems to have a teeny bit more life coming out.

Meeting the goat...


He was pretty much awake and up and down all night, and of course that means I was too.  He would lay there with his eyes wide open as if he was in some kind of trance.  He kept making little noises which of course totally freaked me out, not knowing if he was in pain or just antsy or what.

So after a lovely evening of getting up about every half hour to check him, clean up his stuff and just make sure he was okay after all his excitement, I am not sure that you would call it one of our more restful nights.  In the morning, he seemed a little more relaxed, but he was having quite a bit of trouble standing on his back legs while he ate.  He would move his weight from one little hoof to the other.  He kept laying down and seemed totally exhausted.

After lunch, I encouraged him to go outside in the sun.  Well let me tell you – that sun turned on his git up and go, and he got up and went.  He actually trotted quite quickly around the yard.  Then, when I was out of his sight for about 15 minutes talking with some visitors,  he whinnied really loud and actually, yes, make sure you are sitting down, RAN towards me, whinnying all the way.  His head was high (for him) and his tail was actually fluffed up in the air high above his bony little butt.  I thought he was whinnying to the other horses, but all the ladies were sure he had seen “mommy” and that was for me.  What a lovely thought.  I hope he was that excited to see me, but regardless, there is a little wild horse in there.

We have to make sure that he doesn’t “overdo” it, but after a while today, he simply flopped down into the warm dirt and laid quietly in the sun.   He is definitely not out of the woods yet, and we won’t know for a very long time how much damage was done when his body was eating itself, but he sure seems to be staying headed in the right direction.  He is getting a little bit of mustang attitude, and he thinks he is a big shot because he can run faster than me already.  (of course that isn’t saying much because I can barely walk, but that doesn’t matter to him).

Another visit with Patches


The cars are flying by as usual in front of our little place.  I can hear Honey Bandit chomping on his food.  That boy can eat.  He likes it when I “hide” his foal lac pellets under his hay.  He just walked over and is getting ready to lay down.  Unfortunately for Chino, he kind of squashed his legs when he lay down.  Those two have bonded like you wouldn’t believe.  Today HB was nuzzling the dog for a very long time.  He would actually lick him and give him a bath.

HB just laid down and put his head on Chino’s side.  Sometimes when he does this Chino looks at him like “what the heck?”  they take turns laying on top of each other’s legs etc., but I think sometimes Chino is quite surprised at just how heavy HoneyBandit is.  Yesterday HB spent about 1/2 hour “chewing” on Chino’s nails.  Not sure if he was giving him a pedicure or trying to “fix” his ugly hooves.

Today was kind of traumatic for “mom”.  I had to take Travis to a doctor’s appt and then finally go to the store.  Haven’t had a chance to “shop” since this whole thing started.  “Auntie Jennifer” was babysitting, but I was so stressed  because this is the first time I was “away” from him.

Of course he had to do something “new” because mom was gone.  He actually made it on to his back.  He has been trying to “roll over” onto his back to itch, and wouldn’t you know it, he did it while I was gone.

Each and every day Honey Bandit shows us his true mustang spirit.  No matter how tiny his new “activity” is, it shows that his brain is still alive in there, and that if we are patient, there is magic to come.

SATURDAY (back to me):

WATCH HONEY BANDIT RUN!!  I just received this video!  You, go, HB!!  Click this link to watch the video!

Click on image to watch him go!

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
The September Bucket Fund will benefit Grace, the skinniest horse still alive.  To learn all about the Bucket Fund and to donate to this incredible horse,  please click on the photo (photo credit, Trish Lowe)

Our Bucket Fund this month is the skinniest horse still alive, Grace. Click here to read her story and help!

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

Only one comment so far...

  1. Anne

    HONEYBANDIT is living proof the BLM is “all washed up; concerning the BLM’s overt lack of care for Wild Mustang Foals; thx

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