The state of things, June 23, 2016

Nice to update once in awhile, the herds and their various conditions.

Actually super fun to read in a few years, too. There are 66 here today! History shows this number going up, so maybe in a few years this will seem small. 🙂

Regular readers know that we keep our horses in herd groups, and discuss as such…beginning with the Square Peg Band; Zak, staydopted and getting regular interaction, continues to blossom as a young adult, loves riding and is very calm and happy. Still blind! But very happy. His band mates Behr (also fully blind) and Christian (half blind), spent a few weeks in the lower field to give the Maple Field a rest, but are now back home. During this move we learned that Christian cannot live without being near Behr; to say they are bonded is an understatement. Christian seems calm and nice until things aren’t going his way. Nuff said. Sometimes with these three are the mares Annie and Silver Bells. Annie is over 30 years old now, teeth are wearing away and calories harder to take in and keep. We are increasing her food radically, and several hours each day are spent on the back porch, guarding her while she eats. We are guarding her food from Silvie, who is her lovely sidekick and has gotten quite chunky from sharing all these extra meals. This does give us time to brush and play with Silvie, who has really blossomed since she arrived. These two mares spend part of their days in with the boys and the rest of their time right around the house, where they have their own run in shed and unlimited access to the humans on the back porch.

Below we have some smaller groups right now, because of medical or emotional reasons. Our newest mustang mare Senna is in charge of two others, also new, Luna and Ella. Senna is a gorgeous grulla mare, who is dropping her cynicism towards people bit by bit. She’s very smart and enjoys being protector of her chosen herd, especially the baby Ella. Our Ella is a percheron yearling filly who joined us in March. She has severe tendon issues in her front legs and is now in the middle of a course of treatment in order to try and restore her enough to save her life. All of the expense and drama and importance of this is lost on Ella, who is just as sweet a baby horse as one could hope to meet. She is much taller then her adopted family already, but grooms every day with Sen. They share their small field with the mare Luna, also welcomed this year. Luna is a registered quarter horse and was a champion halter horse, before (like many) being flipped to homes, making babies for them, then developing a tumor on her eyelid. This went unchecked and when we took her in, she needed immediate surgery to save her life. Happily, she is now sound and healthy but one-eyed. Luna is very gentle and easy going, seems just fine under saddle, so maybe the right home will come along to welcome her. Until then, she is comfortable with her small herd.

Tonight another two horses are sharing a small paddock; our boy Iron and his favorite mare Ruby. Iron has a hoof abscess and being the delicate flower that he is, he needed quiet time. Ruby had just gotten over a brief fling with the mustang Firefly and was happy to join Iron in a small paddock for two. Ruby is very calm and trusting of her immediate human and horse family now, a far cry from the difficult and sometimes dangerous horse she was upon arrival. Plus she has completely recovered from a nearly fatal joint infection last November. She is leading a charmed life.

Next to the small fields is the Gentle Band, a group of horses kept off the bigger grassy mountain fields for various reasons. Tonight it’s Rhett, Cleo and Jess, as well as Duke, Hannah, Firefly, Violet, Autumn, and the new pair  of geldings. It’s a fairly mellow group, carefully constructed to be as welcoming as possible to the new guys. We are concerned that Rhett’s cancer is back with a vengeance; we will know in a week when he returns for biopsies. Trying to not think about it too much, since we are out of tricks to cure him. His favorite mare Cleo will be going along, because she has a dental abscess. Right now she’s on oral antibiotics, which are working, and the infection is leaking down her face. While it looks disgusting, better out then in! And today, because the hole clearly runs through her cheek, the air in her mouth was causing bubbles to blow out of the side of her face. A sight one does not see every day.

Up in Stardust Meadows is the combined herds of Molly/Finn and River’s band of merry mustangs; 17 horses all told. The horses up in this field are our youngest and fittest, with almost none on any daily medications. In this field are the leaders Molly and Finn, flanked by Clover, Sawyer, Whisper, Katniss, Gypsy, Gracie, Magpie, Ava…while another herd leader, the mustang River, is surrounded by ponies, including Little Nell, Lexi, Shannon, Aimee, Leo and his momma Piper…but there is a lot of cross over in the groups. This field boasts our strongest, all wood fence, which is necessary for some of the residents. They are having a ball and looking very fit. Not a lot to say beyond that, which is amazingly awesome.

Up in Strawberry Field, Remy’s herd enjoys similar mountain views and grasses. With Remy are Hazy, Nala, Alice, Venezuela, Moon Mist, Hamlet, Kismet and Jack! This field is electric and it’s also very hilly, so horses are chosen carefully who will get along, enjoy being up there together, and can manage the terrain. It’s been wonderful to see them happy and grazing. Several on this hill are on special meds, which are prepared in the morning and shuttled up to them during the morning check in. There is hay put out each day as well, if any horse needs the roughage. Hamlet is still on daily supplements to stay healthy, Remy is on daily meds for his cushings, and Nala is on daily meds for her skin flare ups. Several others are on daily equinoxx, an arthritic management supplement. Then a few are terrific, healthy, trained riding horses, especially Hazy and Glory. Hazy was welcomed off the track after being retired and we started her under saddle. Glory was saved from slaughter, miserable and thin, and has gloriously emerged as a vibrant and sassy saddlebred. This has been a terrific summer for them.

Marshall’s Band, morphed into “Baywatch”, lives in a large rectangular field & barn, safest for our senior horses, which is what that band mostly is. Dedicated stalls are provided for horses that need or want it, including Melody, Stella, Freddy, Oliver, Zoey, Sable and Duncan…all with varying medical needs. Some others in this herd have access to the fields 24/7, including Mira (she detests stalls), Dante and Havelah and the leader himself, Marshall. This group has most of our thoroughbreds and some of our oldest horses, including the beloved Oliver. He is getting weaker this summer, fading gently. Nothing specifically is wrong (which is amazing to be able to say!), but his strength is fading. About a month ago he suffered a strong kick that left him unable to walk for days. We are lucky to have the space to give him the rest and tlc that he needs to be a happy senior horse. Beside Oliver is the quiet mare Zoey, an ex-amish buggy horse, who has slowly opened up over the years. Like many horses here, Zoey is not sound for ‘use’ but is happy finally being a horse. Opposite Zoey is the ‘stallion pen’ (although we do not keep stallions here), a shared indoor space and private turnout area, where lately the pair Duncan and Sable spend the sunny afternoons, in the shade napping. Duncan is also a cushings positive horse, a very gentle and giving senior haflinger, who has really settled into love here, with Sable. She’s a retired polo mare, still spirited and beautiful. Both are showing age, which is why they have a separate space for part of the day, it’s helped them remain strong when they are outside. At the opposite end of the barn, Melody is the smallest horse in this group and perhaps the most fierce; Melody cut herself open over her eye about two weeks ago, in her stall. Yes, in her stall! We have no idea how, but the stall walls were sanded anyhow. Melody is not easy to care for in general and that spot is not easy on any horse, but after we got it cleaned up, we fitted her with one of our equivizor masks, and that kept the wound totally clean, speeding up healing time. Melody is stalled beside Stella, a warmblood mare who is the largest horse in this group, and with the most eye issues. It’s been 18 months since we finally removed one of Stella’s eyes and we are fighting to keep the sight in her remaining one. She has uveitis, so our odds are not good…but who knows how much time any of us have? Stella gets very very scared and reactive when she cannot see, and is not a candidate to be a blind horse. But we use a mask on her when she is in sunlight, and she has a complex daily regime, and people who love her, so we are managing alright, today. On the other side of Stellas’ stall is Fred’s stall; he is doing very well now, his lyme is in remission and with rest and tlc, Fred really enjoys his time outside. Fred is the tallest horse in the barn, a senior thoroughbred who was once a police horse and is now enjoying his retirement. When Fred is outside, he hangs out a lot with the couple Dante and Hava, who are like matched beautiful white horses. Dante, an Iberian Andalusian, has a tumor behind his jaw but it’s kept under control with a daily medication and he is slowly putting on weight again. His mate Hava is a Lipizzaner mare, turning 25 this year, and despite some old damage to her rear leg, looks fantastic. Marshall is the youngest in this herd, and a thoroughbred. Sometimes he does get a little bored, but he is way too herd bound to leave (yes we have tried). Once, years ago, Marshall was diagnosed with a neurologic issue and so is not adoptable as a riding horse, but we still give him sessions in the round pen, to keep his mind active. Lately there has been a change in Marshall, a new settling in, he really looks forward to his humans arriving and waits for attention. It’s taken years for this change and we are thrilled, quietly, to have more access to his heart.

At a nearby barn, Rosemary Farm is boarding four of our special needs horses. There are the pair of senior arabian geldings, Magic and Ice, who were part of a large group of arabians welcomed last summer. Both of these boys are thriving with dedicated love and care. They are probably past any ‘riding’ or ‘use’ but fortunately they are loved for being themselves. At the same barn is Zee, a magnificent barred buckskin QH gelding, who suffers from navicular. He is being well managed and finding friendship and soundness. Zee is a terrific riding horse but it’s sporadic right now…maybe he will find the right home but if not, he is safe under our care. Toby is also at this ‘all gelding’ property, making friends, riding regularly, enjoying care. Toby is one of our most well trained riding horses but he can be ‘studdy’, challenging other geldings for leadership, and so we are very careful about where he might go. He is my personal favorite as a riding horse, but is doing very well at this closed environment. This is the kind of decision that we make to benefit the horse first.

On Long Island with a friend is one of our newest horses, a gentle quarter horse gelding named Will. His owner died. Will hasn’t been ridden in a decade and spent his entire life at one barn, so this change has rocked his world. We had a friend who was physically nearby, and had a free stall, pick Will up on our behalf and is working on getting him caught up in his physical care. This has been a complicated save but we are glad that Will is part of the family.

Lastly, in a separate group for the time being, are Puck, Honey Pie, and the Princess Yanaha. Yanni has no physical issues now but likes to be near her adopted mother HP< who does have extra needs. She has skin issues and right now also has this head shaking syndrome, so is inside during the heat and sun of the day. Yanni takes it in stride, and the pair are in opposite stalls during the day, where they both sleep, relax, and enjoy being spoiled. Come sunset, they are turned out in a wide variety of places, depending on everyone’s mood. Tonight, they are joined by Puck, who was up in Stardust Meadows for five days but was not welcomed. Last week he was below, but the arrival of our newest geldings, Puck had a temper tantrum and was overdriving the others and was becoming unsafe. Puck is our special child, needs a lot more attention, training and care then most. He arrived as part of an abuse case which gave him a lot of mental issues, and separately, Puck was born with dwarfism, affecting many parts of his body. The combination is sometimes a lot to manage, but like any abused child, with love and patience he can show an incredibly soft and gentle side. Time, patience, and love, like any living creature.

That is the family tonight!