Thursday, April 9, 2015

Short respite

I need to take a short respite from writing this blog due to an in-home accident sustained by my 86 yr old mother, who lives with me here at the ranch.  She fell in her room yesterday,  sustaining a spiral fracture to her femur, and is having surgery this morning in a hospital that is 1 1/2 hours away.  River will continue to get schooling, love and attention, but I will not have time for writing this blog for a bit, as I will be doing some daily traveling.  I'll be back with more stories and photos as soon as I can!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

There is more than one way to "save" a horse............

This past Saturday Dean and I took the voyage up to the Cottonwood area to go to the Safe Haven Horse Rescue "Whinny and Roses" fundraiser banquet.  The event was a huge success, and very well run and attended - kudos go out to all the volunteers who did such fabulous job organizing the evening.  It was very heartwarming to see so many people there to support the horses, (and the people who care for them) - I would guess there were about 400 people in attendance.  The community supported the cause with many donated auction and raffle items, and the crowd rose to the occasion and bid on everything.    It  was obvious that the founder of Safe Haven - Linda Richards - holds a big place in everyone's hearts for all her work and dedication to the cause of horses in need.  Linda started this all volunteer organization 20 years ago, and relies on this fundraiser, and other donations, to help the horses entrusted to her care.  This video was shown at the event - it's very touching and uplifting ..........   

People like Linda Richards of Safe Haven Horse Rescue, Marlene Dodge of Valley View Ranch and Shirley Puga of National Equine Resource Network (among many others nation and world-wide) have dedicated their lives to protecting and saving our equine friends who, through no fault of their own, have ended up drawing the short stick in life.  Did you know that the USDA documented that over 92.3% of horses sent to slaughter are in good condition and are able to live out a productive life, yet kill buyers outbid legitimate horse owners and rescues at auctions, robbing horses of ever having a second chance at life.  Slaughter houses are not the only place where equine rescues find their  victims - often it is in the backyard of someone who is  either willfully neglectful (in other words, a heartless, evil person), or someone who is ill, old or poor, and unable to recognize that they can no longer care for the horses in their charge.  

No matter where they came from, these horses have been given a second chance at life through these rescue organizations, and it is the rest of us who can take the next step in saving an equine life.  Yes, not everyone is able to take a horse like River into their lives - which is one reason Jessi and I chose to do so.  We have the capabilities and the facilities to take a green and formerly troubled horse like River, and turn her into a "contributing member" of equine society.  She will eventually find a home where she can reciprocate the love and energy of someone who will never let her down, unlike whoever it was who sent her to slaughter in the first place.  Horses have given so much to me in the long time that I have been involved with them, and this is my little way of paying that back.

There are more ways to help save these horses if you can't take one into your life.  You can donate to the rescue of your choice - either money or time.  These organizations all run on a shoestring, and they need our help to keep going.  If you don't have the time to get involved, then donate to the cause.  Some rescues will take donations of items as well as money, so look on their web sites and see what they might have on their wish lists.  Maybe you have something sitting in your back yard that you are not using that is sorely needed by our equine friends.  In this day of $22 a bale hay every little bit helps.

Besides the above form of rescuing horses, I believe there is another way as well - we can save them by how we ride them.  There are more forms of abuse than starvation or beating - there is the cruel way in which many horses are ridden.  Have you ever seen the vacant look in the eye of a horse who has been ridden day after day with their heads tied down so that they can only see the dirt under their feet, or with cruel, harsh hands bloodying their mouths, or sored terribly so that they will pick their feet up higher and higher for our human pleasure?  It's a terrible, haunted look - one which the owners either don't notice, or don't care about.  They think that because they are feeding and housing the horses well, that is all these horses need.  Wrong.

If we are to ask our horses to "work" for us, then we need to honor them and their willingness to do so by being kind to them through softness and harmony while riding them.  Which brings me again to Cowboy Dressage.  The founding principle is just that - being kind to our horses as well as to those around us.   

I would much rather see this  at a horse show (all of these images I took at Cowboy Dressage Shows)........................



Than this - and I'm only including a very small sampling of what I garnered off the web.............

It is important to me that we save our horses from this kind of fate - each one of us can do something in our own way to stop this.  We can save horses from terrible fates of starvation, abuse or slaughter, but we can also save them from the abuse that happens in the show ring and beyond.  We can choose to set an example and care for our horses properly, help those who can't, and always, always be kind to our horses.

River had a tough start to her life, and, as her foster mother, I make it my responsibility to see that she is ready for a future life where she will be taken care of with love and respect by someone who will realize that she is a special horse, and who will never let her return to the state of starvation and deprivation that got her to Safe Haven in the first place.  What can you do to "save" a  horse?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Body Work

The last two days have been busy for River because she had a lot of "Body Work" done - she got a dental, and she got a good "rubbing"!   First, the dental.

Dr Mike McRae of Sierra Equine performed River's dental work today - she needed some work done to get her mouth ready for the bit.  She was an exemplary patient the whole time - I didn't expect anything else from her.  She accepted the needle with the sedation without complaint, she let all the work be done by Dr Mike and Lori Gould, then walked dunkenly, (with her lips hanging down) back to her house.  River is now ready to wear her bridle as well as her hackamore when we get to that point.  

Oh, and Dory helped a lot.  She got hot and needed to cool herself off in the water tub.   No one has told her she really doesn't fit in there any more!

River also had a visit from Diane Pingrey, who knew River when she was at Safe Haven.  Diane drives from the Sacramento area up to Cottonwood every Saturday (as a volunteer) and devotes her time to rubbing on the horses.   I can tell you from watching her with River yesterday that they LOVE IT!  She has a great touch with the horses, from a light, feathery touch, to a "let's get in to those muscles", body leaning rub.  You can see from River's face that she was in ecstasy from Diane's ministrations.  

Even Charlotte reaped the benefits of Diane's visit, and loved it just as much as River did.

I'm sure River was grateful to see her old friend again, and get such loving and wonderful attention from her.  River and I both thank you, Diane.

This weekend is Safe Haven's "Whinny and Roses" fundraiser, which Dean and I will be going to, so I won't be back for a couple of days to do another post.  I'm really looking forward to meeting as many people as I can who knew River when she was at Safe Haven, so I can find out more of what has happened in her life before Blue Fountain Farm.  So many people have done so many selfless things to help the horses in this world, and I look forward to meeting just a few of them.  I'll be reporting on this event when I return.  Until then, Happy Easter!  

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Stitches out and "Getting to Know You"

I've been a little under the weather the last couple of days, so River hasn't been doing much as far as lessons - there's plenty of time for that, there's no rush.  However, yesterday we were able to get her stitches out, and she really couldn't have cared less.  No surprise there!  Pat Holtan is a small animal vet, and used to working with stitches, so she did the work, and I did the "scritching".  As you can see by my hand, River is still shedding buckets of hair.

River has a new friend!  Jessi and I brought a new filly to the barn a couple of days ago, a very cute quarter horse named "Charlotte", and she and River are getting to know each other.  We want to turn them out together in pasture eventually.  We seem to have a theme of dun colored horses going here lately, don't we!  River and Charlotte  have been turned out together three times now in the arena, and are going through the equine motions of figuring out who each other is.  No squealing, no kicking, just a few pinned ears and tentative sniffs.  It's cute, though, they kind of mutually ignore each other, but they don't really go to far apart from each other either.  Enjoy these images of their process of finding out what the other one is all about, and of just plain having fun. 

A couple of the boys in the front pasture wanting to know what all the commotion is about.

This obnoxious and silly wood pecker kept trying to peck the arena light - doesn't he know that won't work?

Striped butts.

River is still my special girl.

Remember you can click on each image to see a full size version.