Tag Archives: The Golden Carrot

A lovely tribute to Inch.

I read this and it touched my heart so I wanted to pass it onto you this Sunday…

First off, though, I wanted to express my gratitude to Casey from THE GOLDEN CARROT.  She takes in old horses with needs that no one else wants.  Consequently, Casey ends up dealing with death  more often than most of us.  That has got to be trying on the soul…  Even though we know that when the horses pass, they move out of pain and into a better place… that knowledge doesn’t take away the pain of missing them.

From my point of view, the older horses are just so wonderful!  They have that ‘been there, done that’ attitude and they are mostly willing to let down their guard and make friends with you.  They seem so wise and I just adore them.

Here is a beautiful tribute written by Casey about “Inch”, the lovely TB mare she lost this week at the ripe age of 32.  Bravo Casey!  (To learn more about THE GOLDEN CARROT or to sponsor a wonderful older horse, click here.)

Won’t Give an Inch is gone

Many of you are supporters on Facebook, and know that Inch was bitten by a snake on October 24, 2010. After a valiant and at some points desperate struggle, Inch succumbed two days before Thanksgiving. I pushed her to try much longer than I should have – she told me 4 days after the bite that she wanted to give up. Knowing that the same thing killed a horse half her age, I put my wishes above her needs, and as she always did for those she loved, Inch went the extra mile. But at 32, she didn’t have the strength, and I finally let her go. This extraordinary mare was my friend, my love, for almost 17 years. Losing her has taken the heart out of me. Let me tell you what I know of my girl’s life…

Inch was a 17.1 hand gorgeous chestnut Thoroughbred Mare, foaled in 1979, with tip-tilted oriental eyes. Inch had raced a few times, without any shining success, so she was taken to a breeding farm, where, sadly for her, she was bred a few times unsuccessfully. She was then sold and began her jumping career. I knew Inch at Portuguese Bend Riding Club in Palos Verdes, where she was owned by a couple as the husband’s horse. Although Inch and her owner got along well on the ground, this man was too heavy handed for this sensitive mare, and their rides were a misery for both of them. And one time in particular, I saw that with her enormous stride and general unhappiness under saddle Inch was even too much for the exercise riders at the stable. Combined with a little ringbone, it was felt perhaps Inch should retire. So when I started The Golden Carrot informally, Inch was one of the first horses who came to reside here. I rode her a few times, just for my own thrills, and omg, was I thrilled! I distinctly remember the first time I asked Inchie for an extended trot – the wind blast she developed with those long legs brought tears to my eyes! I wish I’d tried that on the road – as it was, it was hard for that speed and power to be contained in the small riding arena I had to work with.

Despite her athletic ability, which was only slightly lessened by her ringbone, it was clear to me early on that Inchie would have been ecstatic if she could spent her life having a baby or ten. She wasn’t an aggressive mare or timid – more middle of the road – until someone she loved was in trouble. Unable to have babies, she loved little horses, and all during the time she was with me, she was caretaking one or another. And in defense of her ponies, she would place herself between them and any threat. If they were taken from the herd for farrier or vet, she would stand and call for them desperately, and circle and inspect them when they came back. She started with Bobby Sox, the horse who inspired me to begin the Golden Carrot.

When Inch came to TGC, Bobby fell immediately in love with her. Never mind that he was 13.3 hands to her 17.1. Never mind that she was half his age. She was his woman! It was the jockey/ supermodel syndrome! And in her tender care of him, she never laughed, made him chase her or made him feel small. She tolerated the presence of her little Napoleon with kindness and grace. As Bobby aged, she was always close to him. And in his final year, when he began to have difficulty with his vision, and he cried for her, my heart swelled with pride as I saw her move to where he could catch her scent and find his way to her side, saving his face. How kind she was. Inch was distraught with me when Bobby died. Until the day I broke down in tears in her stall and begged her to forgive me, she turned away from me, wouldn’t rub her forehead on me as she loved to do, and wouldn’t talk to me at all. On that day, however, her kindness surfaced again, and she put her head in my chest as we remembered Bobby together.

Once Bobby Sox passed, Inch became attached to Mitey Nice, a tiny quarterhorse mare. Mitey was an independent older mare, who normally had no problem protecting herself, but in 2004 she foundered and became slow to move, spending a lot of time lying down. Inch assigned herself as Mitey’s bodyguard and friend, and stood always close, to make sure no one bothered her or trampled her. In particular I recall a sudden storm that came up, pelting the herd with sleet and hail, so I ran out to bring the horses into their stalls early. Normally I find one unexcitable horse like Mitey and lead them back, giving the cue to the rest of them that we can go in early, so I tried that. But the hail was huge and had everyone pretty amped up, crowding too close behind Mitey and I, so Inch, also freaked out, tried to get between them and Mitey, knocking me to the ground and tap dancing up and down my left leg in the process! Dang that hurt! And Inch felt totally justified – I mean, look, something got Casey, I’ve just GOT to protect Mitey! My leg was hamburger… but you have to give her props. Scared herself, facing the whole herd that wanted past to get to their stalls, Inch made herself a big obstacle between them and Mitey Nice…

Inch forgave me more quickly with Mitey Nice – she knew too that it was time for Mitey to go. She mourned a short time, and then looked around, and decided that Mary and her friend Debbie were just barely small enough, and took them under her wing.

She and Mary developed a true friendship, taking care of Debbie together. The three were bffs and Inch wouldn’t go into her stall at night until they were in theirs; and she and Mary would go to the corner of their stalls that met and ‘hang together’ after dinner. As this shows, the girls were by Inch’s side through all of her last hours even if it meant not joining the herd during the acute phase of her injury.

Inch was always a lady, perfectly behaved for the farrier and the vet, accepting her blanket (although fiercely biting her feeder when I fastened the belly bands). She wasn’t dominant enough to lead my herd, but she was our grande dame, and periodically Beau would swagger over to tell her she was a great lookin’ broad. She wasn’t mare-y, was even tempered and truly a delight to have around. Her favorite little joke was to gently start rubbing her head on me, particularly liking the scratching from the back pockets of my jeans, and when she was done, tucking her nose under my butt and giving me a little boost! I’d look back laughing, and see her laughing back …. and I couldn’t resist brushing the loosened white hairs away from her tip-tilted almond eyes, twinkling at me.

In 2003, Inchie got a sponsor, Terri Edwards, who has been her faithful supporter ever since.  Terri was with us through all of Inch’s time here, especially her last few weeks. And Inch was a favorite of the tiny kids, with her gentle motherly ways.

On October 24, 2010, Inch and her girls were standing where they always stood waiting for their chance to come back to their stalls. When they started back at my encouragement, I saw that Inchie was limping badly on her left fore. Once we reached her stall, I checked her leg and saw a small walnut sized lump on the inside of her leg, half way down from her knee. I thought at the time it was a splint, and wondered how she’d done that. I put some bute in her feed and went off to finish putting everyone away ……

To my horror, when I came down to see how her leg looked the next morning, she was standing exactly where I’d left her, hadn’t touched her food or water, and her leg was hugely swollen from just above the knee to her hoof. She had a 1000 yard stare in her eye, head held high, and didn’t acknowledge my presence at all. I blanketed her, pushed bute down her throat after taking her temp (101) and of course I called Dr. Zadick immediately. Our best bet after his exam is that she had a snake bite.

At this point, I should have quit. Years earlier I lost Daphmar, half Inch’s age, to snakebite. I pulled him thru the first crisis, but the venom caused damage to his kidneys and they failed on him only 4 months later. I can only say that the thought of losing my girl was more than I could bear. I had to try.

After the first week, Inch put her head in my chest again, and I believe she asked me to give up and let her go. She had a lot of pain from that swollen leg, and no interest in her food. I lied to her. I told her if she would just eat her dinner, I would consider letting her go, but would miss her so badly, as would Mary. Emotional blackmail. She ate most of that meal, but the next three weeks were a nightmare of ups and downs. Although I was able to get a lot of the swelling to go down, and thus make walking possible so she could join the herd, her appetite was so tentative that she lost a lot of weight. Trying to tempt her appetite, and provide enough pain relief that she would eat, and hot poultices on her leg, meant I was forever looking at her, bugging her, calculating and cajoling about her feed, until we were both exhausted. Knowing I would cry and whine, she just made the decision herself one day – laying down in the field with Mary, and then at day’s end, encouraging Mary to take Debbie and go back for dinner without her. Mary did as she was told, but when I saw her and Debbie alone, with Mary looking back over her shoulder and calling softly every 5 minutes or so, I knew the time had come.

Yes, I cried, she was right. I held her head in my lap and begged her to forgive me, and told her I loved her and would take good care of Mary and Deb for her. I had a while to talk with her, and we recalled many good times we’d had over the 17 years. I told her she was the best mom ever, and she nodded. And I encouraged her to find Bobby and Mitey and our other friends who have passed over these years. I hope so much that there is a place they can be together again….

I couldn’t feel more empty, and the cold that followed her death has frozen me to the core. I’m not the kind of person who has a lot of friends, but those I have I love dearly. My girl was a wonderful person, kind and caring for others more than herself, and a quiet gentle soul. She made the world around her a better place. I miss her.


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INSTANT KARMA DO-GOODING! Our December Bucket Fund
HELP WITH PAYBACK!!   Donation Gift Certificates are here (link)!  Yup, if you donate to help Tullie (the burned horse), Gump (the ugly horse), Dixie (the starved and sick horse) or the Wild Mustangs/Burros (the gathered horses), you can now get  “A Donation has been made in Your Honor” certificates to give as gifts!  You can give them to coworkers, family, friends or even in lost pets’ names… for this Holiday Season. Yay!  INSTANT KARMA!


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A Sponsor’s Golden Heart.

Giving to horses in need is a very noble thing…  I honor anyone who helps the horses.

For me, I tend to dump my Piggy Bank when I hear of horses in desperate situations.  You know the type… THIS HORSE IS GOING TO SLAUGHTER IN AN HOUR or, THIS MARE IS GOING TO FOAL ON THE WAY TO MEXICO or, THIS HORSE WHO WAS A KIDS’ PONY IS GOING TO THE KILL BUYERS TONIGHT!…  You know the drill.  The ones in immediate peril usually pull on my purse strings.

But, what about all the other horses who need ongoing help?  Who helps them?  Who are the tortoises in the human group, eh?  Who are the people who drop a coin in their horsey bank account day in and day out?   The Sponsors.  Those who sponsor a horse have decided to put their pennies together for the slow and steady long haul.  God bless ’em!

It is the sponsors who guarantee the rescues.  It is the sponsors who pledge to keep the sanctuaries running.

So, today, I’m going to tip my hat towards a couple of wonderful sponsors of THE GOLDEN CARROT, our Bucket Fund Equine Charity for this month.  (If you’d like to learn more about THE GOLDEN CARROT, a sanctuary for the old, sick and abandoned horses, please click here.)

Now, onward to these very moving stories of why these women help…

First up, in her own words Shela tells us why she sponsors both Cha Cha and Duke.  Cha Cha is a 34 year old Appy mare whose previous owners called her anorexic because she was losing weight in a paddock with three other, younger horses who were stealing her food.  Luckily, with the great care at TGC, Cha Cha recovered from her “anorexia” as soon as she was fed alone.

Duke is a 22 year old QH who is very crippled but is thriving at TGC.

“I came to TGC about 6 months ago…only at the request of a disabled friend who had heard about it and wanted to see the horses.  The person who left the ranch that day was a different person than the one who entered it a couple of hours before.  I had no previous experience with horses…I’m a dog person…and a little intimidated by the bigger guys.

Cha Cha, the "anorexic" 34 year old Appy mare...

But, there I was, in the middle of a herd…having a tour…seeing horses that had been worked to the point of injury, used-up and discarded…some would see them as broken-down old nags…I saw beauty, grace, dignity, spirit, love, gratitude, trust.  Their stable area, which is more about function than form and Casey jokes about its less than pristine appearance…well, I saw a clean, safe place to have dinner and spend the night out of the weather.

Duke, the old but handsome, crippled gentleman

And the woman with the long strawberry braid down her back…she had so much to teach, I could tell…the way the horses responded to her…her skill with them…the mutual trust.  I didn’t want to leave this place. What happens there is something quite extraordinary.

I first thought of sponsoring a TGC horse as a Christmas gift for my grandniece, so it didn’t start out as being about a particular horse. I went to Casey’s website to read about each of the horses…which one needed us the most?  I chose ChaCha Native Dancer because she was very old, a little scraggly looking and somewhat aloof…I guess no one else had thought her particularly appealing.

Shela and Duke

She is beautiful to me…and I don’t mind that she doesn’t want to nuzzle…it’s not about me, after all.  This old gal has enough spirit and leadership qualities to compensate for her disabilities and oversees the other mares with confidence.  I respect and honor her.

Later, as I got to know more of the horses as individuals, I chose Duke because I didn’t want him to leave us without a sponsor. He’s so old and disabled, yet you can see his desire to keep on moving through each day, one at a time.  He’s kind and sweet and patient…I’ve spent hours grooming him…and he allows me to hug him.  I adore this horse and feel so privileged to know him. I’m very grateful to Casey for watching over him and allowing him to spend whatever time he has left with dignity and knowing he’s loved.  When it’s Duke’s time, he will let me know which of his friends he’d like me to sponsor in his place, and I will do it in his memory.”

Let’s help her out, eh?  Let’s support TGC and their sponsors who love the unwanted horses…
Next up we have Margaret who sponsors Sara, the 21 year old Belgian/TB mare.
“I had a horse when I was a kid.  But was stupid and let my high school activities come between Bayla and I.  My father sold her to someone.  Who, I do not know.  My horse “bug” was dormant for years.  I got back to horses when I was watching the Kentucky Derby when Eight Belles went down.  For some reason her death really bothered me.  I went online to search for information on her.

Sara, the very sweet BIG older gal...

I found the Alex Brown discussion forum and began to read.  What an education I received.  I learned for the first time about the horrors of slaughter.  I learned about horse rescues and rescurers.  I learned about horses who were thrown away when they, for whatever reason, became inconvenient to their owners.  One day I read on that forum about a horse that had been abandoned in a California desert and about the rescue that took him in.  I found that rescue’s website and started reading.  I read about Casey and the residents of The Golden Carrot.  Then I saw the picture of Sara.  Oh wow!  She looks a LOT like my Bayla.  I read about her.  Oh wow!  She crashes through things, just like my Bayla did.

Sara nudging Margaret, the carrot lady...

I contacted Casey to see if Sara was unsponsored.  Low and behold, Casey still needed a sponsor for Sara.  Unfortunately I do not earn enough money to do a full sponsorship of Sara.  But each month I send what I can.  I told Casey that I wanted to sponsor her FRONT half!  I also have a “Spare Change For Sara AKA Miss Piggy” jar on my desk.  I throw my coins in it and when I get to $20, I send it to Casey to use however she needs.  I work at a music store and several of my coworkers and customers add their change on occasion.

I had the opportunity to visit TGC last year to meet Casey and Sara.  That was the first time I was in the midst of a herd of horses just wandering around.  I loved it!  I was covered with horsey slobber!  What a wonderful experience that was!  I am hoping to get back there one day, possibly to actually ride Sara.

Thank you HORSE AND MAN, for picking TGC as your Bucket Fund recipient!”

I know the horses at TGC are already “saved”, but care doesn’t end there…  I really want our July Bucket Fund to help shoulder the load for these folks who take in the abondoned horses during their golden years.

Please let’s band together and fill the Bucket with our appreciation. I’m asking you to donate to the Bucket Fund now.   Just put a drop in the bucket (anything from $1 to infinity) to hold the hand of those lovely few who carry the weight each month.

Thank you, everyone, for caring about the forgotten ones! It is so appreciated.

If you feel moved by this and wish learn about all the levels of sponsorship, please click here and meet the older horses that need you.
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