The Golden Carrot Newsletter's Archive



February 2003


Not a whole lot has happened in the last four months since you last heard from me. But some of what did happen has been amazing.




Nancy Antioch donated her horse trailer to TGC, and R&De Trailers in Perris sold it successfully, generating enough money to support TGC for THREE MONTHS!! This generous donation could not have come at a better time, as my inability to find work continues. Along with the generosity of Kathryn Mohan-McDonald, and Kim Nelson’s annual donation on behalf of Joyful, TGC has been able to continue despite my problems. And if her donation of the trailer wasn’t enough, Nancy also dug into her tack boxes and donated a large horse blanket, lots of brushes, saddle pads, a couple of bridles and other miscellaneous items, all of which are a great help to me, as my old tack is just about worn out. Ginny Talucci donated a wonderful dressage saddle, extremely comfortable for the boys riding with me, to provide a little relief for my own almost worn out saddles, along with some other miscellaneous tack (fly mask and sheet for instance, and dressage bridle).



The donations for 2002, by the way, were the best ever, totaling $9,445. If only I’d been able to make a reasonable living, 2002 would have been the best year ever. As it is, I am deeply grateful for all of these donations, which kept feed in the buckets. I hope you can find it in your hearts and pocketbooks to do at least the same this year - the need is still here.

My best donors continue to be Kim Nelson, Ann Brauchi, Susan Squires, Ginny Talucci, Donna Gawne, Sara DaCosta, Marion Bochner and Kathryn Mohan-McDonald. And only half of these ladies have donated a horse to TGC. But everyone who has sent money to me and the horses is deeply appreciated - every penny counts. A $5 donation will buy another bag of pellets; $10 will buy a bag of much needed senior feed; $15 will replace a fly mask. One donor gives $20 per month - less than a dollar a day. How does that help? That’s $240 per year - it pays for all the bagged feed I buy for all the horses for an entire WEEK. Just 25 people doing that would cut the feed bill up here in half. What’s $20 per month? It’s $5 per week. Cut out that candy bar each afternoon that you know you don’t need - both your waistline and TGC will thank you!


How Are These Donations Spent?

In large part, the donations I receive are all applied to the feed bill here at TGC, the largest single expense. After feed, which is about $25,000 per year (very little more than $1,000 per horse per year, due to the kindness of my hay supplier giving TGC very good deals, and the help of Alex and Mary and Mike in hauling the hay and stacking it for free), the farrier expense is the next largest, at approximately $4,800 per year. Then vet bills, increased electric to pump water out of the ground for them, lumber to replace broken or worn stalls; fly masks, fly spray, vinegar, thrushbuster and topical antibacterial creams and shampoos; carrots (50# a week is barely 2 carrots a day per horse, and costs about $312 per year!), plumbing and automatic waterers in paddock, and replacement hoses for the stall lines; replacement manure forks, chains, and other miscellaneous items.


Some people know that I feed three times a day, and wonder if that means I’m overfeeding or wasting feed. NO. I determine for each horse the optimum amount of feed they need to maintain good body weight, of the type easiest for that particular horse to consume (some do well with just hay, most need at least some pellets and senior feed, and some can ONLY eat senior feed), taking also into consideration the individual’s emotional needs (for instance, NEVER give Shawnee hay cubes - she can’t figure them out and becomes mental with the effort, and hunger!), and I then divide that amount and type of feed into three portions. Why? Mother Nature designed horses to eat tiny amounts of feed all day long, practically all of their waking hours. The reason for this is that a horse’s primary survival skill is FLIGHT - and we all know it’s hard to run with a full belly. So she designed horses to operate best with a small amount of feed distributed throughout their very long digestive tract all the time, constantly flowing. Feeding twice a day will encourage a hungry horse to bolt their food, not chewing properly, and stuffing their digestive tract with a big block of improperly processed feed. Choking can occur; not having enough water in the system can cause blockages and colic; bloat can make a horse toss and turn, perhaps twisting a gut; and assuming they eat their portion without any of these incidents, the horse spends all but about 2 hours of the day standing and staring, bored to tears. Feeding smaller amounts more often gives them more to look forward to, they eat more slowly as they didn’t get near as hungry, and it comes closer to the natural existence they evolved for. I don’t deny that I’ve got a couple of FAT horses - but I defy anyone to get weight off of Sara - like me, she has no metabolism and is a big girl to start with! Now that her feet have recovered from a serious abscess problem, I’ll be working her more in an effort to reduce that thundering behind.


My feed bill is as high as it is only because I feed a great deal of senior feed - at least 10 bags per week ($10.95 per bag - and believe me, that’s the best deal out there as it’s often sold at up to $17 per bag); alfalfa/bermuda blend pellets - about 13 bags per week at $5.95 per bag, and about 100 pounds a week of A&M and O&M, which is absolutely necessary to help disguise the taste of medicines. I also feed a bran mash to everyone at least once a week as a colic preventive measure. Grass hay feed in paddock in the morning, and alfalfa hay in the stalls at night, completes the nutrition plan at TGC. I don’t want to change any of this, because so far, IT WORKS! And like an oil change being the cheapest insurance you have against automotive failure, good nutrition is the cheapest way to avoid vet bills.


Dr. Patton, the vet who kindly comes to TGC when I need him, has been instrumental lately in closing down a "rescue" in Hemet. He called Animal Control out, who seized most of the horses at this "rescue" - several had died of hunger, some the owner had decided needed to be put down and she thus tied plastic bags over their heads, and one had a gaping hole in his flank, with his intestines hanging out, covered with dirt, by the time Dr. Patton got there. Not a surprise that rescues are looked at askance. He told me about this while looking over my facility, commenting that this woman had about 20 horses on 3 acres. TGC horses share about 4 acres, including another acre where the stalls are - but the difference is, they get their nights separated in their stalls, to lay down and sleep without worry, and in paddock, they have room to run, separate out, and they are fed enough both in paddock and in their stalls that they don’t feel the need to fight for food. It’s not how many horses you have, or necessarily how much room you have for them - it’s how you care for them that makes the difference.


The donations you send help me to make a difference here. Compared to those "rescue" horses, my horses live in luxury - but really, no - it is just a reasonable amount of feed, and a proper environment taking their needs into account. I am blessed to have your support in this - although the "rescue" woman did have donors, apparently she was overextended and is now using donations to pay her lawyer. And even with the deals I get, and the donations I receive from you, I’m still spending every penny I can make in the effort to provide for these horses. If you’ve reached the limit you can donate, please tell your friends, and your employers (a corporate sponsor would be GREAT!).





Finally, winter has arrived at TGC. Here at elevation 4000 feet, we get a lot of very cold nights, and just recently, rain and snow. Although it’s colder, I prefer snow - it soaks in better, and doesn’t wash away everything in sight. The last few weeks we’ve all seen these amazing rainstorms - I watch LA hubcap deep in water, and the horses stand hock deep in mud. (OK, I’m exaggerating a little). After the first big storm, I had a real problem with water flow into the stalls of Jet and Domino, with poor Domino in particular standing with his feet pastern high in water - INSIDE his stall. Alex came over with his little Kubota tractor, and between moving dirt to raise the level in their stalls, and blading and relocating dirt on the back side of the stalls to direct runoff away, he’s managed to make today’s storm much less uncomfortable. It didn’t take him long with the tractor - but if I’d tried the same repair work with wheelbarrow and shovel, I’d have been at it for weeks. AHHH - power equipment and people to operate it!


After losing a whole lot of my hay to rain damage when the high winds up here blew tarps away, I scrabbled together some money (Thanks again, Nancy Antioch!), purchased the lumber, and Mike, almost entirely on his own, has built a roofed structure to put the hay under. THANKS MIKE! It only took him about a whole days worth of work, but now we’ve got to have a week of dry weather to dismantle the existing stack, removing anything else rain damaged, and restack it under the roof. You can imagine that’s pretty low on the list - talk about hard work! Hay bales are 4 feet long, by 2 feet wide and 1 foot thick - and they weigh about 110 to 120 pounds - unwieldy and heavy and dusty and sticky - dang! Plus, as mentioned, some are rain damaged, which means moldy or heavier with water weight. Don’t worry though - I’ve found a local guy with cows to give the moldy hay to. I know it sounds yucky, but apparently cows love this stuff - it’s similar to the silage fed to dairy cows - and with their 3 or 4 stomachs, they have no problem digesting it. So, no waste!


I’m still trying to get my computer problems squared away so I can get photos of the boys riding and doing chores up, and will also post photos of the hay barn. I hope to have that done in the next 2 weeks. In the meantime, I’ll attach a photo to this newsletter of Alex training Max to drive the tractor - trying to get out of the work, Huh, Alex?




I contacted everyone with a blurb I saw in the Horsetrader about Farnam Products offering an award to 2 organizations and an individual. Let me know if you didn’t see this. I needed to be nominated, and to the best of my knowledge, Marion Bochner of New Jersey is the only one who did. (I could have nominated myself, but I hoped for kind words from someone else - THANKS MARION). In late March and April, I will be notifying all of you, requesting that you go to thewww.ivercare.comwebsite to VOTE for The Golden Carrot. If I pass the first cut, there will be another VOTE in September. Why try?? Because if I win, The Golden Carrot gets $2,500!!! So when the time comes, I hope all of you will not only take the moments to vote, but make all of your friends, colleagues and relatives vote as well. What an easy way to make a difference!





Tax time approaches - some of you will be getting refunds. Can you spare some of those refunds for The Golden Carrot horses? And try to keep in mind that I’ve got a 1989 Honda Civic in excellent condition, and a 1968 Jeep Wagoneer, also in good running condition (pictures attached) that I’m trying to sell. I’ll take $1500 for the Honda, and $2000 for the Wagoneer. If you know someone who needs a car - please have them contact me. The proceeds will help keep TGC going a little longer. In that regard, if you know anyone who needs typing done, please let me know. I’m desperate for work, and just this week was rejected for a job sweeping the floors at the local Ralphs. How low does that make me feel? Pretty low. I’m a legal secretary/word processor by trade - and willing to work any hours. In addition, there are a number of ways to provide support for an existing staff that don’t even require being in the office - using the Internet, digital voice files, messenger services etc. I’m open for anything - if you’re aware of any possibilities, I’ll appreciate hearing from you.


Thanks for thinking of TGC, and for your on-going support. I’ll be sending another newsletter in April.