The Golden Carrot Newsletter's Archive



June 23, 2004 Newsletter

1.Recent Rescues - News

On June 22, 2004, Officer Townsend of the Riverside County Animal Services came by to drop off the microchip information, and ownership certificates, for Belle and Beau. Turns out, Belle’s name was Maggie May, and she is approximately 28 years of age. Beau was "Tommy", aged 20 years. Ofcr. Townsend didn’t know if these were names they were born with, or were given to them by the California Horse Protection outfit. I have a superstitious fear of changing a horse’s name - I’ve heard it is bad luck. This time, I’d done it inadvertently - and they are used to the names I use. But we will put up new plaques for each of them, in addition to their current name plates. Maybe we’ll consider Belle and Beau to be their ‘stable names" neither of them looked up when I used the new names.


Belle has had the slowest recovery from her 2 year ordeal with California Horse Protection (more understandable in light of her age)- but this week she went into season (often a sign of renewed vitality in abused mares). She abandoned Beau for Jack and Luc, and oftentimes even Orion (her stablemate). Each of them follows her around abjectly, even backing away from food if she wants it. Beau, left behind, has found solace with his best friend and stablemate, Navigator.


Luc is still cranky about unwanted activity related to his back end. Sometimes a pat on the butt is ignored. But sometimes, he reacts with squeals, bucking and a quick retreat. Along with a horrible termite habit, and a pathological need to do all his business in his stall, he remains a high maintenance hassle of a horse - but so cute and cuddly on the front end that he makes up for everything. And he’s made an amazing recovery - with a clean white coat (other than old scars) a big beautiful dark Arabian eye and a bright interest and curiosity in all around him. He and Jack remain best buds, huddling together when Belle drives them away from their hay in the mornings, and hanging together when she leaves them for Orion. Luc remains the braver of the two, and has brought them out into the herd several times for breakfast - it’s always Jack that heads back to the stall line first.


Beau and Navigator are best buds in the field and in their stalls, eating breakfast together each day. Beau’s shoes are starting to fix some of his conformation problems. Beau has been pin-fired on his left foreleg (the good one) in the past. He’s just brilliant - and made friends with Mike when, as we completed construction of the new stalls, Mike was able to lead him calmly right over 4x8 plywood panels, and around buckets of nails. Sounds easy? Believe me, Beau is one in 27 - I don’t think I’d try it with too many of my horses. Beau and Navigator are put in the corridor leading to their stalls every night, and spend 10-15 minutes cleaning up hay bits dropped by me in the prior evening’s feed, and dipping into everyone’s feed bucket to see if anything was left behind. But, they don’t fight over it. They share - it’s great to see Navigator finally has a friend.

2.Cuervo once again is available to sponsor

Cuervo’s previous sponsor simply stopped sending his monthly support check. I emailed twice to discover what happened - but I have no answers for you at this time. Please understand. A sponsor is still a donor. A donation is a gift, and no obligation holds. But, it would be nice to know ... At any rate, Cuervo is once again available - anyone interested?

3.Jet’s shenanigans

On Sunday, June 6, 2004, Jet went down in his stall, probably sometime in the very early morning hours. We found him at 6:45 AM. This 1200 pound 16.1 hand Appendix Quarter gelding was folded up into a packet about 4 feet by 8 feet, with his neck bent sharply up to his left. The wall he was folded up against was damp and stained with blood, where he had hammered his head and feet trying to get up. He was covered with sweat stains, and his back legs were coated with urine.


We promptly tore the stall apart, and his first relief came when he could lay flat. I sent Mike to see what we could find in the way of help, as it was clear that Jet was exhausted, and badly hurt from his own exertions. I couldn’t reach a vet - of course not, it was a Sunday. Rogelio, and Mr. Yoho and his tractor, were nowhere to be found. I was again able to reach Gordon Lee, a neighbor who helped me rebuild the stall in December when Jet was last down, and he hurried right over.


Between the three of us, we were able to flip Jet over. This placed him in a better position to get up - with open space in front of him and a slight downhill allowing his legs to be underneath him with less effort. We gave him a rest and squirted a drink of water down his throat (Holding up a head that weighs about 100 pounds, in such a way that his throat will be open to swallow, is harder than you think!). We then asked him to get up, and he was able to get about half-way up, but his best, strong, effort and our support wasn’t enough to get him on his feet - he was just too tired.


At this point, I became at least partially hysterical. I was terrified for Jet. I felt guilty - how could I NOT have heard his struggles in the night - I’ve heard so much banging before, how did I miss this when it must have gone on for hours? I felt helpless, and worthless - why hadn’t I been able to get a tractor somewhere before this day? It’s not like I thought it would not happen again. I should have prepared for it somehow. I believed that Jet wanted help - I saw nothing that said he’d given up. It was me that would be causing his death.


Gordon suggested calling a tractor guy that he had used, that he believed was more or less local. He did reach Dave, who finally arrived around 9:45AM. During the wait, Mike and Gordon and I had done what we could to get water down Jet’s throat - as it was hot, and it was our best guess that he’d now gone at least 5-6 hours without a drink. Dehydration was becoming a real threat, and making him less and less able to get to his feet, or stay on them if he did get up.


During the next two hours, we had to flip Jet over approximately 8 times, in order to position him on the webbed straps we used to hoist him. We had to grab his tail and pull him around three times, to change his orientation to the tractor, and the stall itself. We actually lifted him up, and got him on his feet twice, and then threw him to the ground because we couldn’t get the straps unhooked from the tractor, because lowering the bucket to release tension would cause the bucket to hit him. Even the third time, despite some ingenious plans, we still couldn’t release it but he had thrashed to the side of the tractor, Dave was able to lower the bucket enough, and Jet just ran out of the straps. Jet and I took off to the cheers of Dave, Mike and Gordon.


Out in the field, Jet headed like a bullet to Inch, with Mary gamboling along one side, and Joyful on his other side. What a ladies’ man this guy is. I was able when he reached Inch to take stock of his injuries, and they were myriad. His right eye was puffed shut, and his right cheekbone was lost in a huge swelling; his nose and lips were scraped raw, and there was a little bleeding at the root of one right incisor. His chin had two deep wounds. The right side of his neck, which had been crimped up, was also clearly swollen and hyper sensitive to any touch, as was most of the right side of his body. His hip bones were marked by large round scrapes, and his whole back end trembled as he stood. It was clear to me that he was in a lot of pain, and once I was sure that he was on his feet, and saw him get a big drink of water (which, wise fellow, he took in multiple sips), I gave him 10ccs of Banamine.


I watched Jet over the next few hours, while he mostly just dozed. He lipped up a little hay, but he was more exhausted than hungry. I started him on bute that evening, and only his very stiff neck kept him from fighting this as always. I found, however, that powdering up a peppermint with the bute helped a lot - Jet loves his peppermints. I put wound dust on his owies, rinsed his back end clean, and put him to bed with senior feed and pellets soaked in water. In addition, because he loves it, a large fluffy flake of alfalfa.


I woke up twice in the night, and ran out thinking maybe the sound of pounding was waking me - but each time found Jet on his feet, dozing in his stall with no problems. The next morning, he was bright eyed at his gate (even the puffed eye was partially open), and he followed his harem out to the paddock with just a shorter stride than usual.


Over the next five days, Jet’s eye opened completely, and his wounds started to heal. His appetite was good, although it did seem he ate a little less than usual. He stood in the paddock with his head stretching out in front, as he attempted to ease the strain, and moved twice an afternoon, to get a drink of water. I kept him on bute for the first four days, and then let him off it for 24 hours before Laurie Henkel came to adjust him. She found not only the neck problems we expected, but his left hip, always a weak point, had gone out again. She felt that probably, we’ll adjust that hip every time from now on. The visit before this she had felt it was OK and didn’t adjust it. Now it seems perhaps it was just about out, or went out shortly after her visit, making his weak back end that much weaker. By the time she was done adjusting and massaging, Jet walked a little freer, was able to turn without snatching his hind foot up to complete the turn, and was able to hold his head properly.


Since Laurie’s treatment on June 11, 2004, Jet has seemed brighter, and his appetite has returned to normal. I’ve reduced the bute by half, but am keeping him on it a little longer. Today, when Inch couldn’t find Mitey Nice and galloped around looking for her, Jet did his little canter right behind her. He’s looking a little thin, but bright eyed and lively.


Realistically, Jet probably doesn’t have a lot of time left. I won’t put him through a tractor lift again, unless he’s stayed well, and on his feet, for 6 months. Bute helps his pain, but he hates it, and it affects his appetite. So, is he pain free, and too thin and hungry, or does he eat better, but deal with at least a little daily pain? So far, I’ve been led by Jet himself - his desire to get on his feet and join his ladies has encouraged me to put in the effort. But these horses have a lot of heart, and will to survive. Approaching his 30th year, Jet is truly near the end of the time for which Mother Nature designed him. I won’t make the decision lightly, but I am trying to prepare ...... this time.


Two weeks later, I'm telling the neighbors about Jet's recent ordeal. Mary had brought back some materials from her vacation which she intended to use to build a sling for Jet on these tractor occasions, and we worked up a plan for how it should be constructed and how we would experiment with a full 55 gallon drum etc. So, of course, when I went to feed, I find Jet half down again.


My heart in my throat, I ran for Mike and we scrambled back, unfortunately too slow to help him the rest of the way up. With some more stall destruction and flipping him over once, we DID GET HIM UP, with his help. Phew! We left the front of his stall dismantled rather than rebuild it in the dark, and he would have several bites of food, and then wander out, walking up and down the stall line - showing everyone "HEY, I'M OUT AND YOU'RE NOT!".


First thing this AM I hauled him out of the paddock and cleaned him up, redoctored his owies (he'd opened the hip bone abrasion yet again), medicated him, groomed him thoroughly and adjusted his front legs. As of now, knock wood, he's fine again. I have to wonder - did he lay down because he was feeling well enough that he thought he could get back up on his own? or because he felt bad enough that he felt he had to lay down? I'll opt for the former, all things considered.

4.New areas opened up for the horses

2 new stalls were finally completed, in order to move Luc and Jack over to the main stall area (after 3 months, I felt they were recovered enough to join the herd). However, a reshuffling of stalls was decided on at the same time, in order to put horses next to their friends, and solve some personality clashes. This meant that the new stalls were given to Josh and Shawnee, and their stalls were given to Jack and Luc. Falcon was moved next to his ladyfriend Joyful; Mary was moved next to her true love Jet; Sara was moved next to Jack and Red was moved into Ladyhawk’s stall, with Lady and Prophet moved down one. It’s a measure of how well I made these changes that everyone learned their new stall in only one day, except Mary. She keeps trying to go into Jet’s stall with him.


Since Luc and Jack were no longer to be isolated in the rehab clinic, Mike and I worked together to connect that back pen and the hotwalker to the main paddock. With creative use of 2" PVC pipe and t-poles donated by Alex and Mary, Mike on connections and me on manual labor hauling the materials around, an additional acre or two have been opened up connecting the two areas, and there has been great excitement as the horses wandered around in the new area, discovering the rehab clinic and then thundering back out to the main paddock. There are some very large redshank bushes in this area, to provide shade patches, and this new set up also allows me to lead several horses back to the hotwalker area without taking them out of the paddock; and allows their friends to be available to them while they walk.


Each of these new construction projects reduced my workload a little - just a little time management improvement that helps with the day to day maintenance of 27 horses. Thanks are due to Mike, Alex and Mary, Lori Perez who donated some materials, and me too, for getting these facilities erected. Erecting a 24x24 pipe corral pen donated by Chris McGrath by the round pen will be next, and will help with exercising horses, while their friends (less physically capable) are penned nearby.


Donations are down - losing Cuervo’s sponsor hurt. Other than the other sponsors, there have only been 7 donations made. I hope to have more visitors now that summer has arrived, and judging by last year, visitors usually means donations too, but please don’t forget us. Summer is also the time I want to store up large amounts of hay, to get through the lean and expensive winter months; and during the summer, when the horses do more work, more shoeing expenses are incurred as well.


In addition, although I hate to make this a burden for the world, I am still almost entirely unemployed, and barely hanging on. This means, if donations go down, there are no resources to dip into for the horses. We need your help more than ever - and that includes any references you can give me for work opportunities. I’ll apply for anything, and am willing to work for low pay while I train.


At any rate, please don’t forget the horses are still here and still deserving. I was able to help rescue Jack, Luc, Bell and Beau because of the donations earlier in the year - please help out if you can too.