The Golden Carrot Newsletter's Archive
December 2008 Newsletter
Although I heard from only two patrons about offering some help for a work day, I was lucky enough to get a directed donation from Lynn and Lloyd Wells, to be used for materials and labor to refurbish the stall line. I contacted a local outfit, Victory Outreach. Their mission is to help men, down on their luck for various reasons, to get a new start. The men they sent me were mostly fairly young, but unskilled workers. I was able to pay for 4 days of work. Mostly, I had them working on the roofs, at least re-securing panels that had come loose; replacing the worst panels, and patching some holes. As it turns out, I’m not much as a foreman, but we were able to accomplish much with the Wells’ donation, and I and the horses do appreciate the help. We had a couple of evening rains right after the work was done, and most horses had dry stalls, and the winds since have not blown off any panels. Thank you again Lynn and Lloyd for your continuing kindness to The Golden Carrot horses!
There are many many repairs still left to do but except for Chacha’s roof, most of the work needed is at ground level. Please let me know if any of you may now have time to help make these repairs. Larry Friley came out by himself and was able to help me catalog the repairs needed on each stall (for use with the VO workers), as well as make several repairs on his own and with Sue’s help. And remember, Larry has a bad knee (good luck, Larry, with the upcoming surgery!). Last year, even 8 year olds were helpful in moving rocks and dirt. Anyone can help – and if we can get enough people to come at the same time, it could actually be fun! Many hands make light work…..
Some weeks ago, November 7, another horse came to The Golden Carrot. Surely was one horse away from loading onto a truck to Mexico when she was rescued. Because she was a little older, and at the time had a bad limp, she came to me.
This approximately 16 year old QH mare, christened Surely when she arrived, appeared to be ridiculously healthy, with just a little booger in her nose, and a sore on her right pastern which had been an abscess, causing her limp. After a 20 hour trailer ride, back to back with a trailer ride across the state from the feed lot that she was rescued from, back to back with her trip from a former home to auction, and then to the feed lot, she was obviously exhausted. For 3 weeks, she seemed quiet and shy, mostly staying in the stall line. She ate, slower than I’m used to seeing, but steadily finishing her feed. She didn’t like pelleted feed some days, but I purchased a bale of alfalfa for her. She seemed fine. Just quiet and shy.
And then, on November 29, she completely fell apart – her forearms swelled up to twice their normal size, hard but not hot; her nose was dropping enormous amounts of slightly bloody mucous and boogers; and her breathing became loud and labored. Obviously, I called out the vet, but at the end of his exam, we were stumped. Her temp was almost normal; lung sounds normal; no lumps in throat or mouth; gums pink with no darkened spots. Dr. Z’s first diagnosis was "?? Strep/myositis acute". We started her on twice daily injections of Penicillin; once a day steroid injection; bute 1 gram twice a day, and her prognosis was "serious, guarded". Dr. Z called to see how she was doing Sunday, which was pretty much the same. On Monday eve he came out again, finding her mostly the same, but with more swelling not just her forearms, but her chest between the forelegs and the upper part of her hind legs as well. We discontinued steroids as they were clearly making no difference. He felt that the diagnosis was "Looks like ‘dryland’ now, plus upper resp involvement". We continued penicillin until Thurs morning for the respiratory problem, and now, it’s a waiting game. Drylands distemper has to ‘run it’s course’. Three years ago, Prophet had it, but with none of these symptoms. He went off his feed for one day (which is like you or I not eating for several days!) so when I went to listen to his stomach to see if a colic was the cause, I ran my hand along his belly’s midline and got a handful of pus from a burst abscess. That was the only real symptom he had. But that abscess did take several weeks to drain completely and close and heal – we think we are looking at the same thing with Surely now, combined with this terrible swelling which doesn’t seem to respond to the usual medications. I gave her massage which helps a little, and then Manual Lymphatic Drainage which helped a lot. With freezing nights, I’ve also been blanketing her with one of the blankets recently donated by TDNAHA.
For many days, Surely stayed the same; swollen, difficulty breathing, poor appetite. Her urine even seemed bloody before the Penicillin course was over, but has cleared up since. On December 6 and 7, she was improving as she was developing clear defined swellings along the lower sides of her belly and a swelling on her cheek. Improving , you ask? Well, with drylands, you want abscessing to occur, and break open – improvement of all symptoms begins almost immediately. On Monday, however, she seemed worse; less appetite, a little more swelling. So I again gave her massage, plus MLD and it seemed again to do the trick. On Tuesday, her breathing was almost normal! On Wednesday, even better, plus her swellings were greatly reduced, both the potential abscess swellings, and the huge swelling of her limbs! Today, Thursday, I feel so greatly optimistic that I finally put Surely up on the website! She is still swollen in her limbs; she may still have abscesses which will either break or fade slowly away, and she won’t be well until they do. But her improved appetite, and a long sleep in the warm sun today will probably turn her course around.
She’s been better since then, but the weather is turning ugly - bitter cold winds, rain, today even a little sleet. Her legs are slightly reduced in swelling, but the damage caused to her skin by the huge edema has caused splits which I’ve been cleaning and medicating. Today, dang it, her breathing is poor again, so her sinus has filled again. I’m really gonna love the Surely Dance today, which I struggle thru every time Surely has to get her bute….. sigh.
Please have a good thought for Surely – she has ‘surely’ had a bad time of it these past weeks. With some luck, maybe we can pull her through. And remember – Surely has no sponsor …. Perhaps you could help support this poor mare?
And PS: Is there anyone like me who is sick enough to wonder how happy the Frenchman who would have eaten Surely would have been? My poor girl is a Petrie dish of bacteria …. Talk about irony…..
Many of you know that drylands can be contagious, although not as much as regular strangles. As it happens, Bruhad had developed first a cough, and then an abscess under his jaw which broke almost immediately. Yes, strangles, dang it. Even before Surely developed her symptoms! And then Ronan has had a cough. For crying out loud. I’m watching everyone. In an old herd like this, strangles is not the life threatening epidemic it can be with young horses, who have been less exposed, and have less immunity. But remember how very old some of my horses are, such as Anna (age approx 35 years); and Chacha who is older than God, and Queenie, not to mention Duke who is supposedly in his 30s also. And when you’re that old, anything can kill you. So everyone has been on Vitamin C which works for horses just as well as people, and I’m keeping them well fed and warm and hydrated. As of the day I’m sending this newsletter out, Ronan and Bru have completely recovered and so far… no one new is ill. Knock wood.
And just to make my life a little more miserable, my little dog Opie was hurt (not sure if he ran into a coyote and got away with his life, or if the neighbor’s dog attacked him, as we saw her attack my little Sassy a day later), and my little red Chihuahua Connor decided a good idea was to eat my bowl of raisins and almonds when I wasn’t looking and became deathly constipated! If it ain’t one thing… for crying out loud. So between doctoring Surely, watching and medicating and blanketing others; the usual chores; doctoring Opie and Connor, and trying to find work, I am so tired as I write this, I hope you’ll forgive any typos..
I recently worked ½ day at the community horse show of the Tierra Del Norte Arabian Horse Association, who sponsor Bruhad. These folks have collected almost all of the blankets comforting TGC horses, and have been supportive of my efforts to organize some rescues to get help for all homeless or unwanted horses. This is a great group of people, who put on a great community horseshow twice a year. I’ve volunteered at the last three or four of them. The last show was small, but the November show generated enough income that TDNAHA was able to keep up their support for Bruhad. Thanks TDNAHA, you folks really love horses, and it shows!
In addition, the new sponsor for Sara, Margaret Squires, was married on November 22, 2008, and took a page from the book of Halley Dutch-Shanahan, a youngster who supports TGC each year on her birthday by encouraging her friends and family to donate to TGC instead of giving her a birthday present! Margaret, over and above her sponsorship for Sara, asked HER friends and family to donate to TGC for Sara’s support instead of giving wedding presents! Thank you Margaret, and congratulations to you and Mooney, and my best wishes for your future!
A little piece of good news is that my member rescue, So Cal TB Rescue, run by Caroline Betts, has been approached by the President of Santa Anita, to work with her helping horses who are sent directly to auction from the track. As many of you know, tracks back East are starting to bar owners and trainers who dispose of horses who don’t win enough for them by sending them directly to slaughter. We’re hopeful similar policies will be put into effect here in California, and that the TB industry will begin to work positively with SCTB Rescue and others to help rehome those OTTBs who can’t continue to race. It’s my intent, once I can put some additional stalls together, to work with Caroline and Santa Anita to quarantine these young racers while homes are found for them. That is definitely something else that could be added to the work day! The pipe corral panels were donated by Anna’s sponsor, the Ardis family, and some fencing for turnouts was donated by my farrier, but I need help leveling the area, and then assembling everything.
My efforts with CRU have stalled – no one is interested in animal issues when people are having such a hard time. The Governor has even proposed a tax on veterinarian services (which we think is short sighted and will create even more hardship for animals, their owners, and the vets themselves). It’s hard to make those in charge see that losing their animals is one more component of misery afflicting the citizens of this state; and that it is something that could be helped with very little cost from the state. But since that seems to be going nowhere, I ask again that you all keep your eyes and ears open – if there is a tract of land, at LEAST 40 acres, with electricity and water, that you think might be given to a rescue, or perhaps leased at a nominal rate for 99 years, let me know. If you know people who might be wanting to get rid of land, let me know. If we had the space, the CRU members could help a lot more horses. And in this regard, if ANYONE knows how to approach celebs such as Oprah, or Ellen Degeneres, or know how to submit a request for help to Extreme Home/Rescue Makeover, please let me know. These are other ways that perhaps we can get the land and/or financial aid that would translate into more horses saved. Please don’t ignore this until ‘after the holidays’ or ‘when I have time’ – we’re grown up, we know those times never come! Every day another tragic truckload of innocent confused horses begins a trip to Mexico and Canada. They need our help, now.
At the risk of boring or irritating you all, I once again remind you of the need of these poor horses - simply to eat. I know as well as you how hard times are now. To find work, to meet the bills and mortgage or rent, to feel secure. I don’t ask lightly, and I remind you again that EVERY PENNY you donate goes directly to the needs of the horses – their feed, farrier and veterinary expenses. Just the basics, but so necessary.
And again, there are so many ways to help. You can donate
via credit card,
by mailing a check at 44700 Terwilliger Rd., Anza, CA 92539,
by calling Outlaws of Hay & Grain, at 951-763-0800 to pay directly for some feed (just let me know you’ve done that).
You can do your on-line shopping through the www.iGive.com mall, after designating The Golden Carrot as your cause – it’s not a big donation, but done by enough people, often enough, it all adds up. Any holiday online shopping can really make a difference here.
You can set up a donation box on your desk at work, or check to see if your employer will match your donations, or organize your co-workers to put change in a pot to accumulate monthly.
You yourself can empty your purse or pockets into a jar at home and take it to Coinstar each month – it all adds up!
Please don’t feel that scheduling a $5 per month credit card donation is too small.
And please tell your friends and coworkers about these good horses and their need. You never know, they may just hand you $5 or $20 from their pocket – it ALL helps. I’m not clear on WHY feed prices that went up due to high gas prices, don’t come down when gas now costs half what it did during the summer, but the prices are still where they got to – sky high. And during the winter, you have to feed a little more as this is the main way horses stay warm and in good flesh, by creating body heat from food. At times like this, I’d love to be able to put shavings in the stalls too – a little bit of creature comfort on bitter cold windy and wet days and nights. But ….. if I can just keep them well fed ….
In these difficult times, I know a lot of people are feeling strain in their attempts to put together a "good" holiday for themselves and their families. Maybe the good thing about the economy is that it will make us take a good look at what is really valuable, and make us appreciate all the things we do have. I hope that we can all find something to give to others – then we won’t feel so bad off!
As a final note, here is a tremendous tribute to horses, what they mean in our lives, and all that they do and are to make them deserving of our help:
To have a horse in your life is a gift. In the matter of a few short years, a horse can teach a young girl courage, if she chooses to grab mane and hang on for dear life. Even the smallest of ponies is mightier than the tallest of girls. To conquer the fear of falling off, having one's toes crushed, or being publicly humiliated at a horse show is an admirable feat for any child. For that, we can be grateful.
Horses teach us responsibility. Unlike a bicycle or a computer, a horse needs regular care and most of it requires that you get dirty and smelly and up off the couch. Choosing to leave your cozy kitchen to break the crust of ice off the water buckets is to choose responsibility. When our horses dip their noses and drink heartily, we know we've made the right choice.
Learning to care for a horse is both an art and a science. Some are easy keepers, requiring little more than regular turn-out, a flake of hay, and a trough of clean water. Others will test you - you'll struggle to keep them from being too fat or too thin. You'll have their feet shod regularly only to find shoes gone missing. Some are so accident-prone you'll swear they're intentionally finding new ways to injure themselves.
If you weren't raised with horses, you can't know that they have unique personalities. You'd expect this from dogs, but horses? Indeed, there are clever horses, grumpy horses, and even horses with a sense of humor. Those prone to humor will test you by finding new ways to escape from the barn when you least expect it.
Horses can be timid or brave, lazy or athletic, obstinate or willing. You will hit it off with some horses and others will elude you altogether. There are as many "types" of horses as there are people - which makes the whole partnership thing all the more interesting.
If you've never ridden a horse, you probably assume it's a simple thing you can learn in a weekend. You can, in fact, learn the basics on a Sunday, but to truly ride well takes a lifetime. Working with a living being is far more complex than turning a key in the ignition and putting the car or tractor in "drive."
In addition to listening to your instructor, your horse will have a few things to say to you as well. On a good day, he'll be happy to go along with the program and tolerate your mistakes; on a bad day, you'll swear he's trying to kill you. Perhaps he's naughty or perhaps he's fed up with how slowly you're learning his language. Regardless, the horse will have an opinion. He may choose to challenge you (which can ultimately make you a better rider) or he may carefully carry you over fences - if it suits him. It all depends on the partnership - and partnership is what it's all about.
If you face your fears, swallow your pride, and are willing to work at it, you'll learn lessons in courage, commitment, and compassion in addition to basic survival skills. You'll discover just how hard you're willing to work toward a goal, how little you know, and how much you have to learn.
And, while some people think the horse "does all the work", you'll be challenged physically as well as mentally. Your horse may humble you completely. Or, you may find that sitting on his back is the closest you'll get to heaven.
You can choose to intimidate your horse, but do you really want to? The results may come more quickly, but will your work ever be as graceful as that gained through trust? The best partners choose to listen, as well as to tell. When it works, we experience a sweet sense of accomplishment brought about by smarts, hard work, and mutual understanding between horse and rider. These are the days when you know with absolute certainty that your horse is enjoying his work.
If we make it to adulthood with horses still in our lives, most of us have to squeeze riding into our oversaturated schedules; balancing our need for things equine with those of our households and employers. There is never enough time to ride, or to ride as well as we'd like. Hours in the barn are stolen pleasures.
If it is in your blood to love horses, you share your life with them. Our horses know our secrets; we braid our tears into their manes and whisper our hopes into their ears. A barn is a sanctuary in an unsettled world, a sheltered place where life's true priorities are clear: a warm place to sleep, someone who loves us, and the luxury of regular meals. Some of us need these reminders.
When you step back, it's not just about horses - it's about love, life, and learning. On any given day, a friend is celebrating the birth of a foal, a blue ribbon, or recovery from an illness. That same day, there is also loss: a broken limb, a case of colic, a decision to sustain a life or end it gently. As horse people, we share the accelerated life cycle of horses: the hurried rush of life, love, loss, and death that caring for these animals brings us. When our partners pass, it is more than a moment of sorrow.
We mark our loss with words of gratitude for the ways our lives have been blessed. Our memories are of joy, awe, and wonder. Absolute union. We honor our horses for their brave hearts, courage, and willingness to give.
To those outside our circle, it must seem strange. To see us in our muddy boots, who would guess such poetry lives in our hearts? We celebrate our companions with praise worthy of heroes. Indeed, horses have the hearts of warriors and often carry us into and out of fields of battle.
Listen to stories of that once-in-a-lifetime horse; of journeys made and challenges met. The best of horses rise to the challenges we set before them, asking little in return.
Those who know them understand how fully a horse can hold a human heart. Together, we share the pain of sudden loss and the lingering taste of long-term illness. We shoulder the burden of deciding when or whether to end the life of a true companion.
In the end, we're not certain if God entrusts us to our horses or our horses to us. Does it matter? We're grateful God loaned us the horse in the first place.
- Author Unknown -
Greatest joy of the holiday season to all of you – the wonderful people who support the horses at the Golden Carrot. You deserve the best!