We are very saddened to report that we had to make the very difficult decision to help Grace across the Rainbow Bridge. Grace was a lovely little Arabian mare who was in her mid 30s, and unfortunately age and arthritis started to creep up on her, making the past year difficult. This past winter she had lost quite a bit of weight, so we have been trying to continually change her food to find a combination that would help her gain back her weight. She would do poorly, then rally for a few months, then start to do poorly, then she would rally again. Her condition was aggravated by the fact that she had been diagnosed with Cushings a few years ago, and was on a daily medication to control the symptoms.
The biggest issue this past year, however, was that Grace had a difficult time getting up, and had a tendency of getting herself cast (trapped under the bars of her stall). We tried moving her to different stalls to see if that would help, but she continued to have difficultly getting up and was constantly getting stuck. Each time she was down, she was scared and hurt herself as she thrashed around trying to get up. We were also concerned that if she were down for too long, she would end up coliccing.
Eventually, her weight loss and continued inability to get up finally led us to believe that it was kinder to let her go now, rather than wait until she did finally colic and we had a medical emergency.
Grace (and Hope) Come to Hanaeleh
Grace was rescued in February 2018 along with her friend Hope. They had been neglected by their owner, and had been cared for by neighbors and others in the community who wanted to help them. It took this community several months to finally convince the owner to relinquish ownership of both Hope and Grace to Hanaeleh.
Hope and Grace had been neglected for a very long time, and because they could not depend upon humans, they depended upon each other. Because of this, they developed a very strong bond, and when they came to us it was apparent that they would need to stay together to feel comfortable. Wherever there was Hope, there was Grace- they lived together, they were turned out together, and they were groomed together. Thankfully, they were both resilient and with love, care, and a lot of nutritious food they became healthy again.
It took longer, however, to get Hope and Grace to trust people and to want to be with people. Even through the end of her life, Grace would rarely “come in” (meaning, walk towards the person) after a round pen session. We instead came to an agreement with Grace, in that she didn’t have to come to us; just that she wasn’t allowed to run away. We came to a lot of agreements with Grace throughout her lifetime- she definitely had strong opinions and was never afraid to let us know what those opinions were.
Adopted and Back Again
Grace had been adopted along with Hope in October of 2018, less than a year from when we took them in. They were adopted by a therapist in Malibu, and were part of a program that worked primarily with addicts. Unfortunately, a few months after they were adopted, a large wildfire consumed Malibu, and the facility in which they were living completely burned to the ground. They were evacuated and were living in an evacuation center for several weeks, and we kept in touch with the owner to make sure they were safe.
Soon after, we discovered that the owner decided not to continue with the therapy program and had contacted another rescue behind our back, asking them to take Hope and Grace. When we found this out, we were absolutely livid, and immediately demanded that Hope and Grace be relinquished back to us. We ALWAYS take our horses back, and not to do so is a blatant breach of contract. One of our supporters, Natalie W., picked them up the following day because first, wanted to make sure that they were not in any danger, and second, we realized at that point that we could not trust the previous owners.
Hope and Grace came back to us, and we made the decision then that they would stay with us for the remainder of their lives.
An Easy Retirement
When Hope and Grace returned to Hanaeleh, our goal at that point was to keep them as safe and comfortable as possible. Grace had severe arthritis in her hocks that had been exacerbated by her neglect, and a few years ago she was diagnosed with Cushings. We put her on medication called Equioxx to help alleviate the arthritis, and she was on Pergolide for Cushings. Trying to get Grace to take her medication was a daily not-so-easy task.
Grace liked the German Muffins that we put the medication in, but only if they were fresh- if they were a few weeks old and a little stale… forget it. We would have to have the newest volunteers give her the muffins because she knew that the board members were putting medicine in the muffins, and so she wouldn’t eat her muffin. If we gave her grain before she got her muffin- she wouldn’t eat the muffin. If we only gave Grace a muffin but did not give one to Hope, she wouldn’t eat her muffin. We spent a lot of time trying to get Grace to eat her muffins.
We also had to give Grace liquid Pergolide because she did not want to take the Prescend pill (Pergolide in a pill form) in the muffin. For months she would refuse to let several of the volunteers give her the Pergolide, and would run away when she saw the syringe. If she got her Pergolide before we gave her the muffin- you’ve got it- she wouldn’t eat the muffin. We also had to spread out the Pergolide and the muffin so she wouldn’t associate one with the other… so we would give her the muffin with the Equioxx pill, and about 10-20 minutes later we would give her the Pergolide. Trying to stay one step ahead of Grace was always a challenge.
Even though Grace was sassy, she was always patient with new volunteers, and helped teach many of our volunteers how to groom. She was also very calm and tolerant of people who were learning how to work with her in the round pen. She was always bossy with Hope, but there was an obvious bond between the two, and Grace took her responsibilities in protecting Hope very seriously. She and Quixote (her neighbor) were also very much in love- which upset Lou Dillon very much.
You’re probably wondering how Hope is doing. Surprisingly, Hope been dealing with Grace’s death much better than we expected. She is obviously still grieving, but she is taking solace in her other horse friends who are all her neighbors: Ollie, Sierra, Andromeda, Ulysses, Lou Dillon and of course, Quixote. We have turned her out with other horses, but she hasn’t taken a special liking to anyone, so she is still living alone in her stall for now.
We are going to miss our sassy little Gracey-girl whose favorite thing was whacking us in the nose with her head. RIP Grace.