An Update on Our “Quadruple Whammy” August Bucket Fund BHFER Horses — The Magnificent 16!






I guess the first and foremost thought I have while writing this is the obvious… When we started fund raising this month, there were 16 horses in need.  So, let’s just put it out there that it is terribly sad and tragic that poor baby Passion didn’t make it.  We all know that Theresa and BHFER did their very best.  But, she was too far gone before she arrived and although little Passion had much love during her short life, she was not able to stay with us.  So, now there are 15.

But, I’m sure Passion would suggest that we continue the fight for all of her friends at BHFER.  So, onward with today’s update.

To read the original two posts with more information and photos about these horses, click here and here.

STARLA AND PASSION

A very sick Starla and very sick baby Passion

Just to refresh you, Starla was a mare who foaled at her previous owners ranch just as the “Original 7” horses were being rescued.  Starla was not part of that initial rescue but she was also not forgotten.  Immediately plans were in the works to get her and her newborn.  It took a few days before the previous owner relinquished the pair for Theresa to help.  Sadly, during that time, Starla was sick and not able to feed her baby well therefore little Passion became very ill.  All the Kings Horses and all the Kings Men couldn’t put her back together.  An army tried and the army failed.  Little Passion succumbed to septicemia after only 9 days of life.  Tragic.  And, truth to tell, a bit of Theresa went with her.  Passion was dearly loved.

Starla now with her new friend, Armani

The good news is that Starla is gaining weight and has made a friend!  After several days of bewilderment, Starla has joined back with the farm and is ready to heal!  Hallelujah!

THE ORIGINAL 7 – THE NAPLES HORSES

The story is long.  Evidently, there were many, many horses who were starving on a Florida farm.  Hoarder?  Dunno.  But the horses didn’t have food and they drank out of a dank pond.  Ugh.

The Original 7

Animal Control seized some of the worst of the worst and called BHFER (and another equine welfare group) to pick up the first herd of mares and babies.  As you can see by the photos, it wasn’t pretty.

Their only water source

Alas, the good news is that they are all doing very, very well!  All have gained weight and are thriving!  The bittersweet news is that 3 of them are pregnant – again.  Bummer.  But, at least those three will have much better care this time around and those babies will be loved and homed.

One of the 7, an older broodmare and baby, upon arrival

All of these horses have received hooficures, dental exams, shots and wormers if tolerable, baths, love and everything they need to heal their hearts and bodies.  As you can see by the photos, all is peaceful to them.  They are settled and happy!

Lana, 4 years, on her rescue day

I’m sure they never knew this type of life was available to them.

Lana and another of her group, now...

Wow.  It really makes me swell inside to know that they can experience this now.

SHAKER, ASIYA, KANDI (Momma, Granny and Baby)

This trio came in right after the initial 7 mentioned above.  They were all skin and bones, filthy, and had skin diseases.   Shaker was the young mother who was no longer producing enough milk for her baby.  The baby was starting to bond with a 28 year old mare.  They moved in a group of 3.

Shaker, Asiya and Kandi upon arrival

BHFER took them all in.  All three were bathed for their skin diseases, fed, trimmed, loved and nourished.  Momma, now Shaker, is doing very well and gaining weight.  Baby, now Kandi, is gaining strength and becoming a little lady.  Granny, now Asiya, is also recovering.  They all still live in a little huddle of 3 and they all are extremely bonded.

Shaker and Kandi getting a trim.. looks who's watching!

In the photo, you see Shaker and Kandi being trimmed… but look outside the door and you will see Asiya looking in.  She is never far away!

BANDIT AND TRISHA

Great news!  They may have a forever home!  You can be sure Theresa has taken great care in placing them…

Trisha is a very well bred mare who was then bred to a well bred stud.  After that, however, for some reason, her owners tossed her out into a field and forgot about her.  Forever.  She was left alone to forge for food and to foal on her own.  The baby was born but immediately received an eye injury.  That injury was never tended and the poor guy suffered daily from pain and flies.

Trisha and Bandit arrive

Finally, a neighbor asked the previous owner if she could treat the mare.  She was told she could “have the useless mare” since the previous owner could see she the Trisha was in bad shape.  The neighbor called BHFER and they immediately brought the foal to hospital.  It was too late for the eye, but not too late for Trisha and Bandit.  They would both be given a green light to recovery!  All they needed was some TLC.

Bandit after surgery (you can see how he got his name...)

Little Bandit had his surgery and is now tearing up the place!  When you think about it, he has never had both eyes so he doesn’t know he’s handicapped.  He has never run into a fence or anything at all…

Bandit now, making a friend...

Another road paved towards a happy ending at BHFER.

REVA AND FOAL

This was gut wrenching.

Reva was brought in several months before.  She had been protecting a colt who was almost starved to death.  When BHFER went to rescue the colt, they couldn’t not take her, too.  So they did.

Reva helped nurse Evan Almighty through his re-feeding program and has been his protector ever since.

Reva and her newborn, all seemed well...

In a twist of fate, soon after her arrival at BHFER, Reva was shown as pregnant.  And, as fate would have it, she foaled right when all of the above stories were happening at BHFER this month!  The birth was easy so everyone sighed a sigh of relief.  BUT, after 24 hours, Reva, sweet/wonderful/selfless/lovable/kind/gentle/everything you want in a mare Reva was showing signs of major distress.  No colic remedies were helping.

The DR came out and said he feared a twisted gut.  Oh no.  Passion had just been lost and now this!  Theresa was beside herself.

Reva was brought to the hospital for an ultrasound.  No gut twist but also no relief…  What was wrong?

Well, we will never know because she got better.  Yay!  Probably just a very, very bad case of gas colic, thank goodness.

Little Man, Reva's colt... she is very, very proud of him I'm told...

That is the update of our Magnificent 16 who were all rescued or aided by BHFHR.  All of the care, hospital visits, food, transportation, remedies, wraps and whatever else … cost money as you know.

THIS JUST IN TODAY AT 10AM FROM THERESA AT BHFER:

“Oh my goodness, I just got home from physical therapy and read this and cried all over again!  Thank you for doing this – very much.  I’m so proud of the Naples crew.  But I’m very sad about Passion.  And OMG should something have happened to Reva, we won’t even go there.  This mare is so kind and almost human at times.  She seems to be able to read your mind at times.  Now, she’s mothering Armani, Kami, and her own bright baby boy.  We are so blessed.  I just got off the phone with a gentleman that contacted me via the local news station about 30 to 50 horses on a large piece of property that are looking pretty grim.  It never ends.

Thanks so much and the Bucket Fund will be of so much help.  The expense of caring for 40+ horses is huge.  I can’t believe we’re up to this amount or that we took in so many with the Naples group – but I just could not walk away.  I keep the faith and with help of others, somehow, we’re able to manage.  God bless and hugs to you!!

Sincerely,

Theresa

Beauty’s Haven Farm & Equine Rescue, Inc.”

GIVING

A huge, sincere thank-you to all for giving so much and helping BHFER as our August Bucket Fund Charity!  If you would like to donate to BHFER through our August Bucket Fund Charity drive, please click the Pay Pal donate button below.  Obviously, the horses all receive excellent care at BHFER.  Money well spent!

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I Learned Something Today… Inmate Gentled Mustang Adoptions.






Yesterday, I went to the Western States Wild Horse and Burro Expo in Reno, Nevada.

The Expo is all things Mustang.   It has exhibitors, clinicians, famous speakers, a 3-day all-mustang horse show plus…  several “Inmate Gentled Mustang” competitions which then culminated in those mustangs being auctioned off to approved bidders via the BLM.

Hmmmmm.

Now, I have my own issues with the BLM.  For my dime, I’m not really sure they have the best interest of the Mustang in mind.  So, I started out with trepidation regarding this adoption event.  I also thought that a wild mustang and an inmate would not be a very good combination… kindof an accident waiting to happen.    I also had a picture in my mind of this really tough and mean inmate just hammering a poor, wild mustang into submission.

After some time and education on the matter, I now think the inmate and the newly captured mustang have something in common and can make unlikely but succesful partners…  ;)

All the inmates with their newly gentled mounts and Hank - posing calmly

SETTING THE STAGE

The person in charge of the Prison Mustang Gentling Program at Northern Nevada (Warm Springs) Correctional Facility is Hank Curry.  I don’t know him personally but I did see him at the Adoption event.  He was speaking and telling the crowd about each horse.

I’ve gotta tell you, if he ever gives up this gig, he could go into the hypnotism field.  I swear, his voice was like butta!  I practically felt lulled while I listened to him.  Hmmm, perhaps a clue to his natural ability with the horses.

Anyway, the Cliff Notes of it is that the Correctional Facility is next door to the Stewart Conservation Camp which currently maintains a 600-horse holding pen for the wild horses rounded up by BLM throughout the mountainous ranges of northern Nevada.  Approximately 10-15 of these horses are then selected and brought to the Warm Springs Correctional Center where inmates gentle the horses through the Comstock Gentling Program.  These are the horses that are then placed for adoption.

COVETED JOB

My idea that a hardened, mean and evil criminal would be a bad match for a wild mustang is probably accurate.  Those aren’t the kind of criminals selected for this mustang program.  Their crimes cannot include murder, rape or violent crimes.  Usually it is embezzlement or larceny/thievery.   The inmates have to have a perfect record while in prison and if accepted into the exclusive program, they cannot do anything, ANYTHING, untoward while working there.  As they say, there are too many people wanting those jobs to have anyone not respect it…  For obvious reasons, these jobs are coveted by the inmates.

HANK CURRY

Hank Curry

As I said above, this guy has a voice like smooth cream.  I would gather that it might match his demeanor.  The horses and inmates were completely calm around him.  And, from his cowboy drawl to his gentle, cowboy manner, I think he is a fine match for the stress of both novice riders and wild horses.

Hank grew up in a rural Thousand Oaks (So CA) a while back.  He has always been around horses and eventually became a horse trainer.

To me, it is interesting to consider what type of guy would want to train the wild mustangs?  Does he want to help these horses fit into society in order to be adopted?  Does he want the challenge?  Does he love the image and symbolism of the mustang?

And, what would make this one particular mustang trainer also want to work with inmates?

Good questions.  I don’t have the answers except to say that it must be incredibly rewarding to watch both become more rounded members of the society that they now need to belong.

HOW IT WORKS

I actually love this part…  The inmates who are chosen are given a crash course in horsemanship from veteran mustang horses and Hank.

Gorgeous Smoke, truly beautiful and well trained. Highest bid horse.

Most of the chosen inmates have never been on a horse.  One said that he fell off 10 times in 30 minutes!  But, once they get a basic seat, Hank teaches them how to gentle their mustang.  Hank matches the horse with the inmate and each inmate chooses a name for their horse.  Then, from 9 – 4 every week day, these inmate spend all of their time with their horse.  They do every kind of ground work possible to fill up those hours.  These guys are always tied to their horses.  When it comes time to ride, the transitions are all watched by Hank.  After that comes the finish work.

Now I know that seems like a lot of work to accomplish in 90 days.  But imagine if you spent 7 hours a day, five days a week with your horse…!  I mean most horse trainers spend 1 hour a day, maybe 5 days a week, with your horse for 90 days and he’s adequately trained!  Just imagine 7 hours a day, 5 days a week for 90 days!!

THE ADOPTION AUCTION

I watched the adoption auction before I had done any research.  I didn’t know anything about Hank or the process.  What I thought I was seeing were inmates who had average seats doing a pretty good job with their horses.  I saw some somewhat rough hands and I also saw very gentle hands.  Overall, I saw 15 quiet, well-mannered, not jittery, not fretting, not wound up, relaxed, at least green broke if not trained, gentled horses… all lined up calmly horses.

Fantasma: He could bow and wave to the crowd

As the auction started, the horses were brought in one-by-one and the inmates showed their skills.  They walked, trotted, cantered, side-passed, backed, stopped and some did tricks like bowing and raising a leg like Trigger.  Hank told intimate stories about each horse to get the crowd feeling the love.  After the skill presentation, there was an awards ceremony for the previous days of inmate “shows” where they did everything from agility to equitation with these newly trained mustangs.  One horse clearly won most of the ribbons. It was particularly charming that the inmate who had trained that horse and was his rider, continued to place the accruing ribbons on his mount.  Very sweet.  And, of course, let it not go unnoticed that the horse wore all of his ribbons without freaking out or shying away…

Knowing what I know now, I have much more respect and smiles for the group…

AMAZING

I am now even more amazed and in awe of the mustang.

Kid, another very well trained horse bidders were fighting over...

Not that I wasn’t before, but seeing them in all of their glory, newly gentled and so flipping SMART!  They were solid and none were gimpy or lame, they all moved out, they all tried really, really hard.  These horses were all heart.  No attitude, no bucking or rearing, no mess, no fuss.

I HAVE TO SAY that in the other civilian arenas, there were regular shows happening all day long.  You know, your regular horse show agendas with horse show music.  They has showmanship, halter, pleasure classes… the whole magilla.  And do you know what?  I didn’t see more than a couple of civilian mustangs (granted, I didn’t see them all) that could hold a candle to the training level of these inmate horses.  There has to be something said for 7 hours a day, five days a week…

TEARS

I had tears in my eyes during the inmate trained mustang adoption auction because I didn’t think there were enough people to make sure they all went to a good home for a good price.  Me, the scardycat, left after the first horse (the one who won all the ribbons) sold for $2800.  I thought that if he was the best horse and he sold for only $2800, the rest would surely go for the minimum of $150.  I was too afraid to watch.

So, I went outside and played with the burros and mustang babies that were on display.  But, I did see something very interesting… Most of the inmates were very teary eyed and sad when their horses sold.  They were very proud, yes… but it was bittersweet.  I watched one inmate tell his horse that they had to take just one more ride around the ground together.  His voice was cracking.

GOOD IDEA

After all the horse were sold,

Gorgeous Chance, considered a Nevada Brown... awesome horse!

I found out that the new owners were able to ride their new horses in a special arena with obstacles while the trainer/inmate watched and coached.  This was awesome.  It was great to see these guys help the transition.  And, it was great for me to see that these mustangs were just as solid with their new owners as their trainers.

INMATE POINT OF VIEW

I read several articles on how the inmates who participate feel about the program.

Cowboy, he was one of my favs

All of them feel more self worth.  Many of them had never had a job for 90 days, let alone build a bond with an animal that had never known a human. Most of them say it is the best job they have ever had, inside or out.  All of them have a reason to get out of bed in the morning and they all say that these mustangs were “behind bars just like us.  They are prisoners and we are setting them free”.  By making them gentle, they can be adopted out to a better life than living in the BLM holding pens.

Clearly all the inmates feel the horses also released something good in them as well…  One said he learned patience.  Other said he learned to blow out a candle instead of bringing in a torch…  All felt the fate of the mustang was in their hands and it was an awesome responsibility.  If they did a good job, they could help this animal get out of jail.

Several of the inmates have gone on to get jobs in the horse industry upon their release.

FRAIDYCAT LEARNS HER LESSON

So, I was just too curious to not find the sales value of each mustang.  I didn’t sit through the auction to find out for myself, I hunted down someone with what looked like a marked-up sales sheet and asked her.  What she had to say really surprised me.  She said that the horse with all the ribbons sold for the third highest price.  Two other were much higher.  One at $3800 and another at $3200.

Jawz. A sweetie and built!

Most of the other horses sold for very reasonable money (between $850 – $1200) with only the two all brown horses going for $200 each.  The Nevada Browns as they are called, just didn’t have the flash to command the big money.

This is Legion... a beautiful, hard working horse.

However, the people that bought the Browns were thrilled!  They had been to the auction in previous years and knew that the best ones, “the solid brown ones”, would be inexpensive.  They love them and think these mustangs are the most solid horses they have ever owned.

AFTER THOUGHTS

First, I wanted to say that there is an ALL PRISON TRAINED MUSTANG DRILL TEAM called the The Cowgirl Way Equestrian Drill Team of Norco, California.  Love that!  These gals have adopted 13 of these mustangs and tout their glories at every performance.  Yay!

Secondly, all of these mustangs were healthy, shiny, well behaved and well maintained.  They all had their feet trimmed and everyone was utd on shots and wormers.  I have nothing bad to say about their appearance.  And, I certainly have only good things to say about their “basic training”…

My after thougths… Well, I went to the auction thinking one thing and came away thinking another.   And, after researching it, I think something even more…

J.C., another gorgeous and well trained mustang!

After walking back into the show arena and seeing all those mustangs who had not been prison gentled (or probably gentled in any way that gives such full attention as 7 hours a day for 90 days…), I couldn’t help but compare.  Right outside, in an adjacent arena were 15 of the most gentle, the most brilliant with the most concentrated handling of all the horses in the entire venue.

J-Lo, the "Nevada Brown" mare who even learned to work with cows!

it was very hard to believe that these horses HAD NEVER BEEN TOUCHED 90 days ago.  As far as I’m concerned, my biggest take away from this is the “7 hours a day, 5 days a week” formula.   Nothing beats time on the ground and time in the saddle.

And although I cannot be sure that these inmates didn’t mistreat these mustangs, I didn’t see any evidence of mistreatment.

So for me, I have no doubt in my mind that if I ever have an open stall and need a riding mount, I will wait and bid on my own Nevada Brown.  Probably the very best money spent for a horse with hours and hours and hours and hours of hands on, single focused training.

Bravo Hank Curry.  Bravo.  You’ve made better citizens out of both humans and equines.  I think that if you have the opportunity to adopt a prison gentled mustang, you are lucky.

For more information on adopting a prison-trained horse, please contact:

Hank Curry or Tim Bryant
Nevada State Prison Department
P.O. Box 7000, Carson City, NV 89701
(775) 887-9331

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The August Bucket Fund will benefit the charity BHFER.  To learn all about the Bucket Fund and to donate $5,  please click on the photo (photo credit, Trish Lowe)

August's Bucket Fund is Beauty's Haven Farm and Equine Rescue. Click here to learn their story and make any size, secure Pay Pal Donation. Easy and it means so much!


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