Saturday, February 28, 2015

River's First Pedicure Session

 Before I start with River's progression here at Blue Fountain Farm, I want to reflect back on how far she has come since she was taken from the kill pens in Fallon.   I was looking at her images on the Safe Haven Horse Rescue site, and discovered that Jessi and I brought her here one year and one day from when she arrived there - when her journey in life took it's first good turn.  I can't say enough positive words about all those who were a part of her rescue, Marjorie, Shirley, Linda, and whoever else may have been involved - I still have so much to learn about her past.   This is what she looked like the day after she arrived:

It just kills me to see how thin her poor neck is in these two images.....

And  how ratty and matted she looks in the image below............but you can still see in her eyes the sweet soul that she is - inspite of all she had been through ............

But, take a look at the image below to see what a change  Safe Haven brought about in her by last summer - sleek, shiny, and a  very healthy weight on her.  The images that we are putting up now from here at BFF show a somewhat rough, winter coated horse, not unlike most other horses this time of year - but underneath that she is still happy and healthy.   She, like all our other equine friends this time of year, are shedding out their coats, and I look forward to seeing that sleek, shiny coat again that you see in River below.

So, now on the River's 5th day at Blue Fountain Farm - her first "pedicure" session.  Again, I can't believe how much she is letting us, still strangers to her in a strange place, ask her to do.  I would hazard to guess that she has never put her foot on a hoof stand before, and, though she did let us do it for awhile, it wasn't really her cup of tea ..........    

It seemed best to go on to Plan "B", but first she needed a little rest and some smooching from Jessi.

She was much happier with Plan "B", which was to put her up next to a wall, and she tried her little heart out...... first Steve did some paring,.................

And we  got a little bit done with the nippers..................

But, as you can see below, that was a  little more than she could handle.  However, even though we were pushing her a little,  she never blew up, never tried to run through us, or kicked, or did anything nasty - she just told us her quarter was running out, and can we try this another day?

We just asked her to hold her foot up one more time, then she got some loving and soothing..............  thanks so much to Jessi's dad Steve for being such a calming influence on our River, and for offering to help with her needs.

After her session, Jessi gave River her favorite thing (besides carrots), a grooming session.  That was a big relief to River....................

River has been through a lot of changes in her short life, but her curiosity is still there - she thought for a short minute about going in to the tack room, but I think it looked a little too much like a trailer from her perspective!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Great Strides

Great strides in more ways than one!  Yes, River is still LOVING her time out in the arena in the mornings, (as you can see from the next few images), but more than that, she is making great - no, make that HUGE strides in opening up, and trusting, and being a "normal" horse!  First, enjoy River's joy............


She sure has the moves!  Anyway, River is exceeding our expectations with how well she is progressing day by day.  She has only been here for 4 days now, and look what she can do..... she can pick up all of her feet - hinds, too!  Jessi's dad, Steve Morrill, came out to see her, and, being a shoer himself, tried his hand at seeing how she would do.  As you can see - River was fabulous!

She was a little nervous, but didn't set a foot wrong (pun intended).  I really  thought it was going to be much longer before we could do this with her, but she is becoming so relaxed and at ease here at the ranch, I'm starting to think that what seemed like a really  long road ahead of us won't actually be that long!  We are going to try to trim her feet this coming Sunday - it will be so nice for her to be able to walk and run on normal sized feet, and not on those big platters!

It doesn't hurt that Steve is a confirmed lover of horses - and River knew that!

Another thing that is happening is that River now comes when called - yes - she wants to be caught now!  Here's a little video from this morning's arena session.............

No more turning the other way when she thinks she's going to get caught - she's actually getting a little pushy, so it's time to teach her that I have a bubble around me that she can respect and ask to come within.

After her run, I took her out back to meet the critters - Asston Martin the mini donkey, Rose Royce the mini horse, and all the goats.  I thought she might be alarmed, but, No!  She thought they were great.  They kinda liked her, as well!

And, to top it all off, she even let Dory do her favorite thing to do here on the ranch - help me lead the horses!  Dory was so happy, and River is learning to handle all sorts of new situations, and doing such a great job of it.

I am so proud of her, and, again, I am so thankful to all the people who made it possible for her to be here.  I am slowly starting to piece together the parts of the puzzle that were the beginnings of her rescue from sure death, and will be sharing those pieces soon.  So, the story continues!  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Settling In

River enjoying her freedom!

Our girl is settling in and appears to be very happy - yeah!  Yesterday River was sooooo tired from her exploits of the day before - the adrenaline rush of getting in the trailer, the almost 3 hours of travel, and then being plopped into new surroundings  - yet again.  Look below at how tired she was, but she still tried her best  to fit in to her new home and her new people.  All yesterday she either had a regular lead rope, or a short one for when she was loose, because she still wasn't ready for us to catch her without that.  Here she's showing Jessi that she can walk up to  her and get a rewarding stroke on her face........ 

.............and below, she's even feeling comfortable enough to pose for a photo with Jessi.

At the end of the day, she settled in to her stall and got a good, long grooming - she was a very  happy girl.

...................and the hair was definitely flying!!

Anyone who knows me knows I have a thing for horse noses and whiskers.......

We were able to switch out the nylon halter for a leather one, which we both had wondered at the beginning of the day if we would be able to do, since she was still kind of skittish.  I think between being tired, and actually starting to trust us, it was not a big thing to her after all.

River even started to "beg" for goodies, and became more interested in and aware of her new surroundings, another sign of settling in to her new digs. 

As evening of her second day  here started to fall, she  settled in to  her stall, snug as a bug with her hay and her soft shavings.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Beginning

Yes, this is going to be a "before and after" story, but I prefer to think of it as a journey - both for a beautiful soul named "River", and for myself as well.  This is a chance for the both of us to grow - even at my "older" age, there is always room to learn and improve.  River has had a rough start in life, and has nowhere to go but up.  River came into my life just yesterday, and I still need to learn a lot more about her background.  Here's what I do know about her so far:

This is the first image I saw of River - a photo from Safe Haven Horse Rescue in Cottonwood, CA., which I believe was taken about a year ago, shortly after she was saved from slaughter in the "kill pens" in Fallon, NV.   I believe Marlene Dodge and Shirley Pugh (I hope I got the spelling right - I will correct later when I learn more) were the ones to get her out of Nevada, and they brought her to Safe Haven, which is run by Linda Richards.  River was only 2 or 3 years old at the time.  Linda, through her magic and her love, was able to turn the above poor creature into this healthy and beautiful horse below :

I went to Safe Haven yesterday with Jessi Morrill (my partner in crime) to see if we could help River continue on her journey out of the darkness of the first part of  her life, into a bright and happy future.

Jessi (above) and I both liked her right from the beginning!  River was shy, but friendly.  They  had gotten a halter on her, but she knew that "you can't attach the lead rope to me" game, so we elected to run her through panels to get her into the trailer.  Well, time and patience were in order, but we eventually succeeded, and off to her new home at Blue Fountain Farm she went.  Remember that probably the only times this mare has been in the trailer were when she was taken with other mares (who were most likely also starving) to the kill pens, and then along with other horses again when she was saved.  I can't imagine she thinks the trailer is a nice place to be, so I'm impressed that we were able to get her to go in at all.

This is River in her new home - a stall and paddock at the ranch shortly after getting out of the trailer.  She has a lot of "work" ahead of her - and some obstacles to over-come.  She has never had her feet handled, so they are badly in need of a trim.  She has an umbilical  hernia and a nasty scar on her hind leg, but today she trotted out happy and apparently sound in the round pen.  

I know I will not be able to post every day - running the ranch and doing my photography job as well take up a lot of time, for sure - but I do plan to keep those of you who might be interested in River's progress up to date as much as possible.  I want to leave you with an image of me taking River out to the round pen early this morning for her first time.  She loved it.