Cinnabar's Story



Cinnabar is 16 years old, a Quarterhorse mare who had a bad bout with colic in December of 2001. Cinnabar and Angel (a 4 year old Arabian) had been sorely neglected for many many months and the colic almost killed Cinnabar. In late April 2002, Casey discovered the problem, and worked with Carolyn Kooken of Winnie’s Cookies to bring about the changes you see here.  The owner and Casey agreed to split the feeding schedule - Casey to feed hay and Winnie's Cookies in the morning; the owner to feed hay and senior feed, and fill water barrels in the evening.  Caroyln Kooken advised to feed Cinnabar 14 cookies per day - best split between two feedings if possible.  Carolyn and Casey felt this would enable Casey to keep an eye on the feeding in the evening.  It’s a good thing too, because in the 1st 4-1/2 months, the owners fed precisely twice.  After 30 days of this Casey spoke to the owner again, and Mike witnessed the owner say that she had mistaken the plan, and would now comply.  In fact, she never has.  Recently she advised Casey that she felt helping to do her share of the feeding would somehow be an 'insult' to Casey's efforts. At 60 days, noticing a lack of improvement in Cinnabar’s condition, Casey questioned the owner’s husband and discovered that the owner had stopped feeding senior feed entirely.  So the horses were getting two flakes of hay each day apiece, and the cookies, carrots and bran mashes Casey provided. Nothing else.  That was working fine for Angel, but Cinnabar was barely holding her own, so Casey began to bring over senior feed every night. The owner has made no offer to reimburse Casey for that feed, the goodies, or her time and effort - and ran up a month’s hay bill with Casey which was finally paid back on 9/3.

For a while in early September, the owner's daughter was feeding the horses on her way to and from school, and filling the water barrel. Since 9/4 she had only missed feeding them twice, and perhaps Casey just got there before she did. In addition, the owner has had some bales of hay delivered. However, from 9/17 to 9/21, the horses did without hay or water, except what Casey brought over.

Below is Cinnabar 50 days later.  She’s still bony. If you saw her for the 1st time, you’d say shiny coat, bright eye, more coordination in movement but still too thin. In light of the past, not bad.  It’s hard to rehab a horse as poor as she was, as it is easy to founder them. Winnie’s Cookies made the difference, and senior feed donated by The Golden Carrot, with Casey feeding twice a day and watering them every day.The owner was satisfied to leave the whole problem in Casey’s hands, an unconcerned attitude which probably led to the situation in the first place. This same owner has been cited by Animal Control for having unregistered dogs and approximately 6 dogs were taken from her, leaving her with 5.At the time, the Animal Control officer also left her a note that she had a “thin horse”. Nothing further was done.  Cinnabar and Angel appreciate every morsel Casey feeds them, and that’s the point. Casey also found a good home for these horses, and obtained donations in the total amount of $1200, plus offered to forgive amouts owed to her, but the owner refuses to sell. But if the horses are fed, that’s what counts. On 9/21 4 bales of alfalfa were delivered to the property, and on 9/26, there is part of one left. It will run out at that rate by tomorrow - let’s hope the horses are not left hungry this weekend.

The photos below were taken at 75-80 days after starting. The girls glow with health, but Cinnabar continues to have an extremely prominent backbone, and hips and ribs that can be felt with the lightest touch. Because of disruption in the feeding program set forth above, she has not made the progress she needed to before winter. I’m afraid for her as the nights begin to cool.  If I can’t get there to feed her, I have no confidence she will be fed. But I don’t know what else to do. Below I reproduce the letter recently delivered to me  from the owner of these horses - tell me what you sthink she’s conveying with this letter.

September 12, 2002
Dear Casey: It seems from your letter that you have not listened to a thing I have said! I haven’t gone back on any kind of deal with you, because we have NEVER made any type of agreement or deal in the first place. As I’ve told you before, Angel is my personal pet. I’ve had no intention of selling her and still don’t for several reasons.  Af (sic) far as Cinnabar is concerned, I’ve every intention of selling her.  My daughter doesn’t ride her anymore, and she would be perfect for a beginner. I was going to put out an ad, and start interviewing people when she got sick.  I’ve already had an offer on her for $2,700.00 cash and they are still interested in her for a spring/summer adoption. We have signed no papers yet, so that I may accept a sooner offer (to help my finances) if one is presented.  A neightbor has also heard of this, and would also like to have Cinnabar. They are trying to get up $1,300 cash before I sell her to someone else.  I will extend you the same offer of $1,300 cash. If you would like to trade Cinnabar for your old Jeep, that would also be ok. This offer is for Cinnabar, only!  As I’ve told you before, previous offers were to low (sic), and involved both horses.  I am only accepting half price for Cinnabar now, because all homes considered would give her proper care in her final stages of recovery.  If this cheap of a price cannot be met for the horse in the next few weeks by any interested party, then it makes me believe that they cannot afford the horse and couldn’t take proper care of the horse. In that case, I would rather sell her in the spring to a proper home at full price.  So, if you and/or your friend wish to purchase Cinnabar within the next two weeks at a price of $1,300 cash please let me know.  Horse Feeding  Lately you have expressed some difficulty in driving back and forth (gas) and hay problems. So, I have arranged to have hay, and grain delivered to my house by someone else.  In Cinnabar’s final stages of recovery, the cookies are no longer necessary. I will provide the Cookie lady with a final picture when she is fully recovered. I thank you for your help with Cinnabar when she was so sick! The extra effort, and cookies really made a difference in the beginning.  However, now it is unnecessary and I know you have more important things to do with your time. Again, MANY MANY THANKS! If you wish to contact me in the future, my address and phone number are: Deborah Harbert, 58540 Mica Rd., Anza, CA 92539, 909/763-4977 Ph & Fx.
So, what do you think? Did this ungrateful woman just give me the brush? So many lies in this letter.  "My friend" and I both heard her say YES to my question "do we have a deal". She came TO ME asking for the $1000. Of course she doesn’t have any offers for Cinnabar at any price - and if she’s trying to sell her, she’s not telling prospective buyers the whole truth about Cinnabar’s condition.  I never expressed "difficulty in driving back and forth and hay problems"  I simply kept asking her why she wasn’t at least feeding at night; and told her I couldn’t continue to front hay costs for her indefinitely. And how interesting that she refers to Cinnabar as "the horse" so often, and indicates she always meant to sell her.   She also refers to Cinnabar as having been  "sick" - why did she never call a vet out for her?  And if Cinnabar doesn’t need any more cookies, why is it a prospective home has to take care of her during her "final stages of recovery", and why is she going to send a photo to "the Cookie lady"  when she’s all recovered?  This woman would not have Cinnabar to sell without me and Carolyn Kooken - I wonder if that even enters her mind?   And to suggest that if someone doesn’t pay her $1300 for this poor damaged mare, that shows they "cannot afford the horse and couldn’t take proper care of the horse" is shocking.  Is it possible this woman believes SHE is taking 'proper care' of the horses?  And apparently, she feels no compunction about separating Angel and Cinnabar - leaving Angel to live in squalid conditions without proper care, ALONE - because "Angel is my pet".  What a horsewoman this one is.

On the morning of 9/18/02 I walked over to check on the horses again - as I’ve done each day since I received the letter.. As I expected after yesterday, I found (1) water barrel almost empty; (2) no food - all hay gone; and (3) very hungry horses.  I scraped up the hay bits to give them a snack and filled the water barrel.  On 9/25/02, when I stopped by the horses while in the neighborhood to give the girls some cookies, the owner’s husband approached me asking "didn’t I tell you never to come around here again?"  I was amazed and said no, you did not. He said "it was in the letter".  While I can see the letter definitely tells me I’m not needed anymore, I didn’t take it as a complete brush off, and said so. He stated "I told you we were taking care of it", and stated that they knew I called Animal Control on them. He stated that I must have called Animal Control, because I’ve been helping them all this time. (?) He also yelled that he’d always paid for the hay for these horses. I agreed, and neither of us mentioned how many weeks would go by before he did.   As I started to leave, I stated, well, I didn’t know you wouldn’t allow me to visit the girls and bring them cookes - and he said "I didn’t say that".  I don’t know what to think now.  Will they hurt me if I go there again? Is it OK if I check on the horses and feed them cookies? Imagine not wanting help, of such a benign and unobtrusive nature. Imagine being willing to let the horses do without, rather than accept help from someone who has done you nothing but good for months. Imagine showing such an aggressive face to someone who helps you.


The letter refered to in the owner’s letter was written after she had rejected the $1,000 cash I obtained at her request. I had obtained further promises from my patrons to up the cash offer to $1200, and I offered to forgive the $80+ she owed me at that time for hay, bringing the offer almost to what her husband had indicated they paid for these horses before their ordeal. Alternatively, I offered to trade my 1968 Jeep Wagoneer, which is in good shape, registered and insured, and as an antique is at least worth $2000 to $2500 as is.  You see her response.

I returned the $1000 donation, sent by a friend of mine out of the goodness of his heart, as horses are not particularly an issue of his, and I told my other patron to hold on to the extra $200 she offered - these people want to keep these horses, never mind what is best for them. The neighborhood is pretty upset at the whole thing tho, and with me will continue to keep an eye on the situation, and I have three families ready to make the calls to Animal Control  along with me, the next time there is no food on the property; or it appears the horses’ water barrel is empty; or they are not being fed; or are ill without a vet’s care. It’s a sad thing to know that it continues to be necessary. They’ll feed for 10 days, then leave the horses without food or water for 4 days. But, we won’t forget - and this time, having seen that assistance and education is not the answer, the full force of the law will be invoked.

If you have any thoughts on this issue, please send me an e-mail or letter - I can use that public outrage in my campaign against this sort of abuse and neglect.  The public needs to speak out on these issues.
At one time, women were considered to be property. beating them, abusing them, marrying them off for property consolidations or political alliances was accepted practice.

At one time, black people were considered to be property. Buying, selling, breeding, torturing, using and abusing them was absolutely OK.

At one time, we considered criminals in jail to be animals - and beating, abuses and starving of prisoners was OK. Now, even criminals have more rights than animals.

Maybe someday we will realize that animals also are NOT property - they deserve, even have a RIGHT to, the basics of life - food and water, shelter if the climate or their condition requires it, and a little respect and kindness.

WE need to change our views, and WE need speak out against this sort of treatment.  Not one of you would shrug if this woman was treating children this way. Every single person I’ve spoken to agrees this is abuse, and unacceptable. It can’t always be 'someone else’s problem'. I’LL DO THE WORK - WILL YOU BACK ME UP? Please let me hear from you.