The Golden Carrot Newsletter's Archive
Thanksgiving approaches TGC
A little good news for the Holiday coming up. A chance for me to thank again those of you who continue to support The Golden Carrot.
My last newsletter reported the loss of some sponsors, and I am thrilled to report this time that new sponsors have stepped in to fill the gap.
Some of you may recall Terri Edwards, who provided a lot of general support for the Golden Carrot last year. Terri took time off from TGC to adopt two PMU mares, and care for them through the successful delivery of their beautiful foals. She works about 16 hours a day, takes care of her own family, and took on these mares against my advice. She did find out that these mares had been barely trained, and of course, with the treatment they’d been subjected to, were mistrustful and difficult to handle. But she persisted, and the mares came to love her, and even trusted her, within reason, around their babies. For a woman with her schedule, this was an impossible amount of work to keep up for long, so she eventually found two excellent homes for her girls and their children. She keeps in touch with the new owners, and wouldn’t have given up the experience for the world. Her ‘horse mania’ continues though, and when she read of the loss of sponsorship here, she contacted me. I’m thrilled to report that Terri has chosen my precious Inch to sponsor. Thanks Terri!
Carolyn and Turner Brown of Missouri are now sponsors of Malika and Victor, respectively, thanks to their grandmother, Marlene Brown. Carolyn (age 8) and Turner (age 11) are both horse lovers, but not in a position to own their own, and have been kind enough to make the final years of these deserving horses a little easier. Thanks Kids, and Marlene too!
As I mentioned in the last letter, circumstances can conspire to make sponsorship difficult. Mary’s sponsors had faded briefly, but have returned, and renewed their commitment to make Mary’s retirement years more Golden. Thanks again to the Hinsch Family for continuing your support - Mary was deeply distraught at the loss of Jet, and I was feeling badly for her. As I always do, I took the time to speak with her and tell her that someone cared for her - and as I always do, I believe she ‘understood’. OK OK, I KNOW they don’t speak English - but somehow they seem to express relief, or a sense of comfort, on hearing news like this. Am I just insane, or does Mary sleep a little better knowing? I know she keeps her head out each night until I come back down the stall line and she hears me say good night to Jet - knowing he’s remembered seems to help her too. It’s weird stuff - or maybe I’m just weird. Hum....
Sue Friley of NaturVet has not only found a wonderful donation of lumber (23 2x6 planks 12' long) for TGC, but is organizing the "Jet Memorial Used Tack Sale". Sue was helpful to Jet in his final months with donated medications and magnet therapy, and was deeply affected by his passing. She is organizing a location, and all of her friends, to hold an annual used tack sale in his name. I have a lot of tack that has been donated over the years that I can sell, and she is collecting tack to sell. In addition, NaturVet will be donating some of their excellent products for sale to benefit TGC. We hope to have a date and location in late January or early February.
Despite the loss of Jet, I can’t bring myself to accept more horses here as long as my own income is so minimal. Despite the wonderful support of the sponsors which has helped TGC to continue, still more than half of these horses are supported on occasional donations and my income. Occasional donations have been far too low this year, and my own income has me holding on by my fingernails. Still, every week I get another call for horses looking for homes.
I am happy to report that I was able to place Carlos Salgado’s 25 year old QH mare, Lacey, with Robin Montgomery, and that Robin also is looking at Chubb, a 20+ Arab gelding. Robin knows that horses need the companionship of their own kind, and she plans to use these horses for posse duties. She can avoid working either one too hard by having both, as well as providing them with companionship when they are not busy. Both of these horses, unlike most that I hear of, are basically sound, so with luck and good care they should last many more years. Thank you, Robin, for providing a forever home for these sweet horses!
Report on Rescues
You may recall the four horses TGC took on at the request of Animal Services, refugees from the California Horse Protection horror. 14 months after being seized from the CHP "rescue" by Animal Services, these last four horses had not been placed, and were desperate for a home. Beau, Belle, Lucifer and Jack have now had 9 months at TGC, and the change in their appearance and behavior is amazing, as always.
Belle, despite being the oldest at approximately 28 years, is absolutely gorgeous, and appears to be physically sound. My guess is, however, that she was used as a broodmare, and her excitable nature made her unsuitable for other work this late in her life. She is also, like a lot of broodmares, very willful. Recently, she was due to have her feet trimmed, and would not allow me to catch her. I can approach her, pet and groom her, and just hob nob with her, anytime I want as long as I don’t have a halter in hand. She doesn’t want to leave the herd, despite being quite low on the totem pole. In the past, I’ve had John trim her feet in the paddock, but she needs to learn she can go get her feet trimmed, or see the vet, or just get a grooming, and will be allowed to come back to her family. Madie Cline, despite some serious life changes, has continued to be Belle’s sponsor, and deserves appreciation for helping me to bring this lovely mare back to life.
Beau is the next best result. This ex-race horse has been pin-fired on his right front leg, and his other leg probably would have received the same treatment if his age hadn’t caused his former owners to give up on him. But proper shoeing has brought this beautiful gelding back, and every morning he and Navigator thunder out of their stalls, racing each other down the chute to the main paddock. They are an impressive sight - very tall, long legged thoroughbreds, one black, one red, manes and tails flying. They are best friends, as they are an excellent match and neither is successful in bullying the other. Beau shows very little lameness now, and I am hopeful that I might be able to ride him next year. Beau has a personality similar to Bobby Sox and Jet - with a kind eye, lots of good training and a tough, no-nonsense attitude.
Lucifer would be the most amazing result if it wasn’t for his left knee. He is fat, bright eyed, and absolutely devoted to Jack. Despite an obviously damaged knee, he scampers around very well, with a true Arabian lack of response to pain, and my biggest problem with him is keeping him from overeating, and continuing to keep an eye on his back end. This horse will never be safe for the uninitiated to be around - like so many Arabian horses, he ‘reacts first, and thinks later’. And his back end is fast and agile - even standing to the side is not a safe place if he thinks he’s threatened. He has great courage - despite his knee and fears, and his self-appointed duty as Jack’s protector, he was the first of those two, frail and frightened as they were, to join the herd. It is not food that draws him - while they wanted to be separate, I fed Jack and Luc in the back. Lucifer wanted to be part of this herd - and insisted that Jack join him. Lucifer has Nick Cuevas, and Cheryl Cuttineau to thank for their continued faithful support. He will never be sound enough to ride, and with his defensive actions will always be too dangerous to be around kids. But at 25+ years old, this horse deserves a few years of gentle retirement, and earns his keep by helping Jack stay safe in the herd.
Jack is the biggest problem I have now - mostly because I simply don’t know what the problem is. I’ve had Laurie Henkel out to adjust him; Sue Friley looked at him; John Meza has found and opened abscesses in his feet several times for me, and he has many days when he seems completely sound. And then, he walks and acts as though he’s aged 30 years overnight. This will last a few days, doesn’t affect his appetite and temperature at all, and then goes away. These episodes don’t coincide with the abscesses, and don’t seem to be specific to any joints. He’s a big and slow moving horse at best, although if you get between him and food you risk your life. He doesn’t so much run you down as mow you down. He and Luc are inseparable, although he’s beginning to show some interest in Sara, his other stablemate. On his sound days, if I have Lucifer handy to keep him feeling safe, this horse might be a good ‘big horse’ ride for children, on leadline. He has taken the longest to gain weight, but I believe it has to do with his size. Although Beau is a little taller, this is a bigger boned animal - almost a warmblood in build - and it will just take longer for him to build muscle to flesh out his bones.
Thanks to you ALL
I am grateful as can be to all who continue to support The Golden Carrot, and allow me to bring these poor starved horses back to life. I am glad to be able to report that they will possibly still have some useful years to offer - but even in the case of Lucifer, the bright eyes, lively manner and snorts of satisfaction when they drop their noses into a pile of hay, or root through their buckets for a carrot or treat, more than make this endeavor worthwhile.
Today I went out into a tremendous snowstorm to feed the horses who will be spending the day in their stalls for a change. My hands and feet froze, as like so many native Southern Californians I’m too stupid to wear my gloves until it’s too late. Pulling the cart through 4 inches of snow, and holding frozen gate latches in my bare hands in order to melt away the ice and be able to open them, doesn’t constitute fun to me. But each eager face, laced with snow, looking for breakfast, made the effort worthwhile. I’ll probably prepare a hot bran mash for everyone tonight, and blanket several of them (those older ones like Mary and Malika, those with less hair coats like Ori, those like Josh who need the blanket for emotional security more than anything). Each day I’m tied to this property, to feed three times; to get the horses out for farrier and vet; to groom when I have time; and to clean stalls, and repair fencing each day. No vacations from this stuff for me, and I won’t pretend sometimes it doesn’t bother me. People who have known me for a long time know that I value freedom - and here I’ve tied myself down harder than any family or job commitments could ever have done. It’s a measure of how much I feel this needs doing, that I do it.
Believe me, I wish I could find volunteers or help; I wish donations would roll in by the thousands so I could have more facilities to rescue more; I wish that the protection and care of horses was more of a priority in this mechanized paved-over world of ours. But each gentle soul saved is worth all the effort - and with the help of Golden Carrot sponsors and patrons, I can continue to help them. As I approach my 50th birthday, I get tired. I wonder what will happen to these horses if I keel over one day. I wonder if I’m banging my head against a wall, putting so much effort in to a cause doomed to failure. And then I watch Beau and Navigator thunder out of their stalls in the morning, playing ‘bite my face’ and romping around; I see Victor and Malika for the first time finding someone to care about; I watch pretty Belle trotting ahead of me, saying ‘no, I’m fine here, I’m not leaving"; and dear Lucifer, with his fears, and his courage, still taking care of Jack. They deserve this safety, however short lived it may be. They deserve our support, and effort. No one deserves to die because they are no longer "useful" by someone else’s standards. No one deserves to starve because someone responsible for them doesn’t want to be bothered. Let’s keep going - it’s the right thing to do.
Thanks again - and have a happy, and safe, holiday season!