It is with a very heavy heart that we have to report that Noelle passed away this week. Noelle was rescued in December, 2015, with the help of Natalie W. and Auction Horses Rescue. Noelle was a cute little sorrel Quarter horse who was best friends with Venus and loved her volunteer, Leslie, who had been working with her for the past several months to get Noelle to be more trusting of humans.
We don’t know exactly how Noelle passed away- we believe that she may have gotten herself cast and could not get up in a timely manner, thus leading to colic. Noelle was looking strong right up to the very end- we had turned her out in the arena everyday before it rained, and she and Venus ran around on their own. She got new shoes just a week ago, and she seemed even peppier with her new shoes. The morning before she passed it was too wet from the rain storm to put her into the arena, so we walked her and Venus around the property so she could get some exercise. Truly, she looked like everything was fine when we left her that afternoon, and there were no issues when she was fed later that evening. The next morning, however, it was discovered that she had passed away.
Noelle’s History at Hanaeleh
Noelle had been severely abused by her previous owners and permanently crippled, then dumped at an auction. Although she was only around 11 years old when we rescued her, she moved like a much older horse. It was apparent that she had been some sort of performance horse but had been injured and, instead of waiting until her injury healed, they had continued to ride her and reinjure the front tendons. Noelle had so much scar tissue on her front left leg that there was no way to feel the difference between the scar tissue and bone. Noelle had also foundered on both front feet, so she needed special shoes to keep her comfortable.
On the positive side, however, once we had her in corrective shoes and after a few months of decent food, however, Noelle started to come out of her shell and would play a little in the arena. A few years after we brought her to Hanaeleh, we started turning Noelle out with Venus, and they did so well together that were able to pair them up permanently. They were quite bonded, and Noelle would call and pace in her stall when we took Venus out without her- to the point that we just started to take them both out together!
Noelle Learned to Trust People
Noelle was very head shy, and it was obvious that she had been physically abused in her past. She had scars across the her poll (area behind the ears) where the halter sits- we were told that the previous owner couldn’t catch her so they kept a halter on her 24/7. Instead of using force like her previous owners, we used kindness and patience. Noelle was never expect to come to us (although it was nice when she did), but because of her past we understood why sometimes she wouldn’t… that being said, we just asked her not to run from us. Since we were always kind to her when we did catch her, she seemed to find this to be a fair trade off. Even so, we had to move very slowly around her face, because she would still get scared if we moved our hands too quickly near her head.
Noelle’s favorite volunteer was Leslie, and they had a wonderful bond. Noelle would fall asleep while being groomed, and truly seemed to start to love being touched and groomed- such a far cry from the horse who never wanted to be touched when we first got her! She gained weight and her coat was soft and shiny. Noelle had some allergies that would pop up every year, and we had to get her prescription sprays and salves to alleviate those symptoms. Noelle was also on a special diet to keep her sugar levels low to prevent another founder event. We worked very hard to ensure that she felt comfortable and safe.
We are going to miss this quiet, stoic girl. Noelle was very opinionated (she was a red mare, after all!), but she was very level-headed and fair as well. She helped to teach people how to groom, how to lead, and she even did some low-level horse agility! Her loss is so very tragic because we were not expecting to lose her- not with how well she had been doing. Venus seems to be at a loss as well, because her friend is now gone, so she is truly all alone. We will try to find Venus a new friend, but for now she continues to live in the same paddock, so we don’t change things up too much at once.
We will very much miss Noelle, and will remember her quiet ways and powerful opinions. She was a force in her own right, and we at least can take to heart that the short time that she was with us, she was safe, well-fed, comfortable, and very much loved.