Hindsight is 20/20… A comparison of MamaTess from 2011 and now.

I was looking through old blog posts today and I found this one (posted below “My Mare is a Hoarder”) about MamaTess originally posted April 2011.   … long ago.

Y’know how sometimes you don’t notice something is happening because you see it every day?

Do you know what I mean?

For example, getting older or gaining weight.  To yourself, you think you look about the same – maybe a little older or a little heavier.  BUT THEN you look at a photo taken at a recent shindig and you are aghast!  What the?… When did that happen?!  Do I really look like that?!

Well, now that I look back at this photo of Tess at the end of this post – and I see what I was writing about her… it is so obvious that she had Cushings.  Even though she had been tested negative, clearly the test was inaccurate.  I should have tested again… MT looks horrible – fat, fuzzy, cresty.  She was only 21 in the photo at the end of this post, yet she looks much older.

It is amazing (but it shouldn’t be) what a better diet (for her) and accurate medicines have done to bring her body back to health.    (I’m not a big pill pusher – at all – but the Prascend has been a gift for her Cushings.)

So the moral of this story:  Take off your ‘see them everyday’ glasses and really take a look at your animals.  I wish I had.  I think if I had been more astute and more dedicated to this type of daily awareness back then, I could have prevented her laminitic cascade into founder.

Learn from me!

This photo of MT was taken 4 years AFTER the one at the bottom of this post... She looks so much healthier now. I wish I would have been more observant.  If I had caught the Cushings, she might not be where she is today.  At least most of her is healthy now... that will help her feet heal.

This photo of MT was taken recently, 4 years AFTER the one at the bottom of this post… She looks so much healthier now in this photo. I wish I would have been more observant previously. If I had caught the Cushings, she might not be where she is today. At least most of her is healthy now… that will help her feet heal.

My Mare is a Hoarder! (Originally posted 4/2011)

Have you ever watched that A&E show, HOARDERS?

Well, here is a brief description taken from the website:


If you have never watched the show, it is about people who cannot let go of possessions and keep gathering things, even though keeping these items might interfere with their relationships.



As I was watching the show, something was ringing a bell.  Something about this topic was starting to become familiar to me…

And then it hit me!  They were describing my mare, Tess.

Aha!  That’s it!  HOARDING.  Finally, I can put a name to it.

Mama Tess is a hoarder.

There, I said it.


Well, the show described hoarders as those who need to go through everything or to touch everything – to feel the memory attached to it- but cannot part with anything.   Most have ruined family relationships in favor of their stuff.  Hoarders feel secure having ‘too much food’ for example.  It gives them comfort.  And, they keep gathering and piling.  In fact, it is an obsession.  They cannot help themselves.

That must be Tess’ problem.


You see, I was identifying the same behaviors in the humans of HOARDERS as I have seen (on a daily basis) in my mare.

For example, Tess hoards all the food.  ALL OF IT.  It is all hers.  She will run around to every bucket in the pasture and push every horse away from their meals. Tess will gather all the grain dishes and keep them all for herself.  Same with the hay.  She does this hoarding behavior even to the detriment of her favor with all of the other horses.  To be honest, the other horses don’t really like this about her.  I can tell…

And another similarity, Tess will investigate anyone that comes into her pasture and not let them leave until she has made sure that that person doesn’t have anything to add to her collection – like cookies, carrots and apples.  And, if anyone decides to leave her pasture, she does the same compulsive/obsessive behavior.  (I saw this, too, on HOARDERS!)  Yup, Tess will check every pocket of every human that enters or exits her pasture.  Obviously, she is very concerned about what comes in or goes out of her home – just like the people featured on HOARDERS!

OH, and another thing!… If someone is getting scratches, let’s say,  Tess has to have hers FIRST.  If another horse is getting brushed or having any kind of attention, Tess demands all of it for herself.  Attention, grooming, love… is all hers and hers alone.  She cannot give any of it up to anyone else – ever.  I think this is very unhealthy and the experts on HOARDERS agree!

I must also bring up that Tess is furious – to the point of hysteria (also something I saw on HOARDERS….) – if someone takes away anything that is hers and gives it to someone else.  This simple benevolent action of ‘giving’ actually sends her into a frenzy only calmed when she is given a sedative (alfalfa cube) or brought into a comfort zone (wherever she wanted to go in the first place).

And, I also saw on HOARDERS that most of those affected with this awful syndrome don’t like others to enter their areas of hoarding.  Well, that is Tess TOTALLY!  She is horribly offended when any other horse comes near her pasture or her grass  (which encompasses any part of the ranch that she can see).   Truly, how insensitive was I to allow others to come into her ‘space’, now that I know how fragile she is due to her mental condition?  I’m ashamed of myself.

If I really look at her and peel away the onion layers, it is now so clear to me.  She fits the profile completely… I’ve just been to obtuse and in my own world to notice.

Why hadn’t I seen it before?!


I have totally misunderstood my poor mare.

Previously, I thought that perhaps she was a Diva.  I thought that maybe she was spoiled – being the Grand Dame and all…  I have even wondered if she was a bit pushy and maybe a tad demonstrative.

And, in my defense, most other humans who have ever met Tess have also missed all the clinical signs of her hoarding.  When they’ve met her, most leave quite rapidly (I’m sure her condition makes them uncomfortable) and grumble something about ‘witch’ as they walk away…  So sad.  They just don’t understand.

But now we know the truth.

She isn’t spoiled or pushy or a diva.

A&E has finally given me the excuse answer that I’ve always needed to help me understand her and her “condition”.

My Tess is a Hoarder.

She just needs love, understanding, therapy… and all the food in the barn! ;)

What?!!  (This photo of MT was taken 4/2011.  Look how awful she appears – total Cushings presentation.  Yet, she tested negative so I ignored it.  I was wrong.  I should have tested again.)

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