The Golden Carrot Newsletter's Archive



February 27, 2007


Today the rain is drizzling down, and the horses stand butts to the wind, heads down, except for Shine and Buck, playing bite my face. I’m frozen in the house, had to start a fire just to keep my fingers warm enough to type. I’m sitting in three layers of clothes and an ongoing eye problem is making it hard to read some work I’ve got to do, so I’m taking a break to keep TGC patrons updated - if there are typos in this, forgive me.


I am so bored by the kind of person that never has a word to say that doesn’t relate to the weather but the sadness of my life is I’m becoming that person. I blame this area I live in, which has the MOST impossible weather - 70 degrees in the day, and 20 degrees at night; warm sunny one minute, blowing arctic wind and sleet the next. This morning at 7AM I worked up a sweat and had to take off my coat, just spreading the horses’ breakfast; and now I’m freezing sitting in the house! Saturday was a glorious warm So Cal day, and Sunday, when my visitors arrived, it was sunny and warm but with a cold wind, which in one hour blew in heavy clouds, and rain.


The difficulties this brings in horse care are myriad - feeding more when its cold, and less when it’s warm becomes almost impossible; blanketing or not is an hour to hour decision; whether to let the horses out in the morning is decided mostly on footing (too much rain, sleet or snow make for slippery conditions which can cause injuries) - but this can change so quickly. Struggling with flapping tarps to get feed prepared; I have to wear gloves to hold metal cart handles, but they then get wet and freeze hands anyway; slipping and sliding in the muddy part of the stalls while trying to clean, and pushing a wheelbarrow through the muck when you can’t keep your feet - I really truly hate the weather sometimes.


But I did have some visitors this last weekend before the rain who worked hard to groom a lot of the mud left from the last storm off the horses, along with pounds of hair. My friend and equine chiropractor Laurie Henkel brought her kids up for the first time, and Eric and Sara were a great help to me in preparing and distributing the evening feed. And the next day, Trasi, her son Zane, and two teens, Jennifer and DJ, who were kids of Trasi’s best friend, came up. Despite a complete lack of knowledge about horses, they groomed, and petted, and also prepared and distributed feed like pros. I hope to see this group again, and was happy to sign Jennifer’s school charity requirement form for her help.




Finally, finally, Joshie has a sponsor! Abandoned by his prior owners almost 10 years ago, after a mere year of support, Joshie has been overlooked time and again by potential sponsors. His elegant good looks are offset by the obviously deformed legs which, filled with arthritis, explain why he’s here. He’s also a lover, not a fighter, only showing his strength of personality when protecting his girl, Shawnee, so he doesn’t push forward to meet visitors the way others do. But he loves attention, and finally, he has a sponsor, in Sue and Larry Friley, in the name of their grandson, Cooper. You can see a photo of Cooper on Josh on Joshie’s page. This was good news for me. You know, if you’ve been a patron for a while, that Josh is an emotional guy. He’s hard to keep weight on, because he worries so much. He’s usually the first to get a blanket, partly because he doesn’t grow much hair, and partly because it so obviously comforts him. He loves massage, as every muscle in his body is hard with the tension he feels - but I really believe it’s more anxiety and worry that keeps him tense, because even bute doesn’t make any difference, which you would expect if pain were the cause. For the past month Josh has been on arthrisoothe, a gift of NaturVet for whom Sue Friley works. I see that he moves easier - but he’s still a block of cement every time I go to work on him. Just that kind of guy. I told him he was being considered by the Frileys and Cooper for sponsorship, and for the first time ever, he and Shawnee were right at the fence when we walked down to look at the herd. And when Cooper had looked at everyone else, and came back to decide in Josh’s favor, and we put Cooper on his back, I saw a softness in Josh’s eye that I haven’t seen in a long time. When other horses came to crowd around, Josh did a clearly restricted, but very threatening buck in their direction, along with the snake neck, laid back ears to drive them away. And little Cooper just sat on his back, completely self-possessed like a real cowboy. Josh has laid claim to Cooper now, and I hope Cooper will be able to visit a lot during the coming months, so they can enjoy each other’s company.


Daphmar’s sponsor, Jill Phillips, got together with her friend Kristen, who teaches a 3rd grade class, and gave a little talk at the class about The Golden Carrot. The big hearts of these kids resulted in donations of $550.00, collected in cash from the kids, and checks from their parents! I have invited the class to visit, and Kirsten and Jill are working on a date, so I can show these good hearted children how much their money helps. I will keep you posted on this little event.


Daphmar himself has gained weight, and is devoted to Topper. He and Ronan play each morning, and the other new horses, Anna and Tango, are doing fairly well. Anna is eating very well, finally, but Tango continues to be code for "Trouble". He is fussy about what he will eat, and so hasn’t gained an ounce, and he’s hurt himself several times - shimmying under stall chains and catching his hips in the chain, scraping hunks of hair off his back, and somehow jamming his right hind leg - that’s why I’d asked Laurie to come out, and she had to make a few efforts to get the hip adjusted back to normal as he felt this was inappropriate activity. He doesn’t exactly fight, he just doesn’t cooperate sometimes.


As I noted in my last newsletter, for some reason, this last 2-3 months has been horrible with the number of horses looking for homes. I’m a little freaked out about it - I am full and have been having to turn away even people offering full support for their horses. Since the last newsletter, I’ve rejected another 7 horses. In the interests of trying to help, I’ve discovered some new sites, and have joined a couple of networks. I will have links to , as well as I should be able to post horses looking for homes, and hopefully reach more rescues as well as prospective homes that way.


At this point, I’d like to address the slaughter issue. Many people simply assume that I’m a bleeding heart who thinks horses should never die, and that I resist the slaughter industry for sentimental reasons which are impractical when I’m inundated by horses that are no longer "useful". C’mon. Some of you KNOW me. And patrons of TGC know that when the time comes, I kill them. I won’t allow them to suffer until the end. I do what’s necessary. I don’t jump on it, I don’t enjoy it, I don’t do it easily. But all things die, and what I strive for is quality of life, and a reward to those who have worked hard all their lives. Not endless, pointless, suffering existence.


On the one hand, I cringe at the slaughter industry. The brutality of this death is beyond description - so for those of you who can face it, please go to . Do NOT go there if you’re not ready to cry. Even more affecting to me than the injuries and violence was the obvious good quality and health of the horses being killed. Their trust and obedience as they lined up to die. Damn our race for the horrors we inflict on everything we touch. This is simply not right.


On the other hand, I cringe at the number of horses whose owners are calling me trying to place them. You know I hear of the horses who most often can’t be placed due to different physical or personality problems. But more than one-half of TGC horses are quite useful, for people who will take note of their limitations and disabilities. And certainly, I get calls constantly for horses who simply shouldn’t be here, but should have busy productive and "useful" lives. The slaughterhouses kill tens of thousands of horses per year. Do I really want those extra calls? Of course not, but only because I have so little help both physically and financially.


So where do I stand? I think the slaughter issue is more complex than simply stopping the slaughter. I want to do that. When a horse has to die, I want him to die quickly, painlessly, in the bosom of his friends and loved owners. I know it can’t always be that way, but it should be more often than not. But we need to make provision for those animals who are alive because we bred them, we trained them, and we’ve taken away from their species the natural order of their lives. This is what I think:


1. LIMIT breeding. It just has to stop. Every goofball with a stallion is responsible for hundreds of horses being born. Very very few breeders have an education in crossbreeding, linebreeding, and other specific techniques required to achieve a successful result, and far too many backyard breeders not only don’t have that technical knowledge, but barely know how to properly care for a pregnant mare. As a result, one defective horse after another is born, and shipped out to live an uncertain life, struggling with their disabilities to meet the unreasonable and incomprehensible demands of their owners. And plenty of perfectly fine horses, who don’t meet some peculiar "standard" of their breed or need of their owner, are also being produced, and sent off to die. For instance, the tens of thousands of 8 month old Premarin colts sent to slaughter because unlike their sisters, they weren’t useful to the Premarin producers. You see, the fillies could be bred, and used to produce "pregnant mare urine" for the manufacture of Premarin. But the colts were just a ‘byproduct’ of the drug, and sent to die. And I personally believe if there were less horses out there, people would work more compassionately with those that they have, leading to less breakdowns, and work with them longer, instead of just bitching that "this one is no good, let’s get rid of it and get another".


2. EDUCATE people. People should be required to take and pass an exam showing basic education on how to care for and use a horse before they are allowed to have one. They are children. And they are children who are very DIFFERENT from us. We need to understand their needs before we can meet them. Why are people allowed to own such an animal, without any training or education? They can be hurt, as well as the animal. It just makes no sense to me. And I believe any rescue such as TGC would be happy to develop a course of hands-on education and experience for anyone to take, in order to pass on the skills necessary to care for and understand your horse.


3. ASSISTANCE. I would like to see some type of legislation introduced IN CONJUNCTION with the end of slaughter, that provides some sort of financial assistance to rescues/adoption facilities. That assistance could be based on the per capita population of the facility, and the number or type of educational programs offered to the public. It should be provided only to facilities that are 501(c)3 charities; and only facilities that have been inspected and found to meet basic levels of care and safety.


These are the kind of ideas I’ve been having. One individual indicated to me that she feels that once the end-the-slaughter initiatives are passed, that the efforts rescues and other interested individuals are making to pass that initiative will then be directed to provided support to rescues. She also feels no limitation on breeding will ever happen. Hum...... I hope she’s right about the first part; and wrong about the second.


Do you have any thoughts in this regard? I’d like to hear from anyone about what you think. Don’t worry if you’re not really up on the horse industry - common sense is common sense and we need plenty of it in this matter. I know that limiting breeding is the beginning of success in the cat and dog over-population - all reports indicate that the aggressive spay/neuter programs are really helping. And networks, and funding for shelters, has helped to provide homes for many many homeless dogs and cats. Why can’t these same techniques work for horses? Tell me what you think - either email me, or put up a blog on my site, OK?


Finally, I’m so pleased to report that patrons for TGC are up from 42 to 50 - the word is spreading! Keep telling your friends; your co-workers; have your kids tell their classes. The horses are counting on us - let’s not let them down! And as always, know that each and every one of you who helps the Golden Carrot are shining in my heart - you are doing the right thing!