We were not expecting to welcome any new horses this month, but we found ourselves with an unexpected open stall. We had expected to rescue a horse in September, but we had to move that timeline up because her stablemate was moving to a different stable, and she would not be happy alone.
We were also called by a rescue about a horse in immediate need and they were unable to take the horse, but were hopeful that we would be able to take her.
So, we are happy to announce that we have rescued two more horses!
Horse #1: Sierra
We received a call from another rescue last week, telling us that there was an 11 year-old Quarter horse in need in Whittier. That rescue was full, but she was hopeful that the horse was sound and we would be able to adopt her out. Elizabeth called the owner and he said that he knew very little about horses, but he bought the horse for his 11 year-old daughter, who was not interested in doing things like cleaning the stall everyday.
Horse ownership requires a lot of work. Most children want to ride, not spend their time cleaning the stall (yes, I know there are those amongst us who are just as happy doing that, but I would argue that we’re the minority).
This is why Hanaeleh does not adopt out to people with no horse experience- instead, we suggest those people take lessons and then lease a horse before they take the leap to horse ownership.
- Even if the person is a fast learner and are dedicated to the horse, maybe they decide that they don’t want a trail horse, but instead really would like a dressage horse.
- Or maybe the Quarter horse is too slow out on trail, and they really want an Arabian.
The only way to know what kind of horse you want is to get experience with horses.
Sierra’s owner did not have anyone to be the voice of reason for him. Horses like Sierra unfortunately often end up at auction and potentially the slaughterhouse because they just keep being shuffled from one person to another. Sierra’s owner was aware of this and did not want that to happen to her.
Sierra has been through a number of owners over the past few months. Her latest owner told me that she was sound, very sweet, but just that she was not being turned out or worked by his daughter and he felt sorry for her. He gave us the name and number of the owner before him- he said that the woman had sold Sierra because she was not trained for trail riding.
I called her and she told me that Sierra was originally from Oregon, then brought to Southern California. She also conveyed that Sierra has high ringbone, and she may need shoes to be comfortable. She said that she had offered to pay Sierra’s farrier bill, but when we picked her up, we noticed that Sierra’s feet had not been trimmed for over two months.
Ringbone is just a fancy term for a bony overgrowth that is often formed in a ring around the horse’s pastern. In looking at Sierra’s conformation, poor hoof trimming probably contributed to the ringbone. The positive news, however, is that the ringbone is high on Sierra’s pastern and is not affecting any of the hoof movement. Horses with high ringbone like Sierra’s can often lead completely full, normal lives and can be sound. Low ringbone around the coffin joint however causes a lot of pain and can prevent the horse from moving normally. Proper and regular trimming is necessary for either case.
Sierra Comes to Hanaeleh
Elizabeth arrived to pick up Sierra from her stable, and wasn’t sure what to expect. She was told Sierra was a sorrel, but she is actually a very pretty strawberry roan.
Sierra trailered very well and we walked up to Hanaeleh with no issues. I turned her out in the round pen, and while she said hi to Ollie and Tamahome and Ruby over the fence, she didn’t squeal at all – just walked away after a short greeting. I was very impressed at the complete lack of drama. I put her in Stetson’s old stall, where she also said hi to everyone without squealing. She seemed shy, but wasn’t spooky at all, so we are hopeful that she will make someone a great horse with some additional training.
We had Sierra’s feet trimmed, and we saw an immediate difference in her comfort. Our farrier suggested that we work her in boots, and once we put those on she was much more confident. We purchased a pair that she can wear whenever she is turned out or worked.
Sierra Gets Roommates
When we brought Sierra to Hanaeleh, we put her in Stetson’s old stall. The idea was that Garnet, the horse that came after her, would live with Hope and Grace. Unfortunately, Garnet did not do well with Hope and Grace, so we put Sierra in with them, hoping they would get along.
The first few days, Sierra was the bottom horse on the totem pole, and Hope enjoyed pushing her around. After a few days, however, Sierra moved up the ladder, and was the middle horse in the herd. This weekend, however, Sierra became the lead mare, with Grace and Hope beneath her. The girls all seem to get along and other than a few ear flicks and head throws, there have been no issues, even at feeding time!
Sierra Needs Training
We are allowing Sierra some time to decompress and relax and learn the idiosyncrasies of the ranch before we start any training, but this weekend we decided to get on her back for a few minutes to see how much she knows. Turns out, she knows very little. She was scared and had no idea what a bit or leg pressure was, and crow hopped and threatened to rear, although a little hop was all she attempted.
After a few minutes I got off her because there was nothing constructive occurring, and she was only getting more agitated. When I put her on the longe line, she immediately freaked out and began running, a pretty clear indication that she has been “cowboyed” in her past- essentially a horse is run to the point of exhaustion, and then the person gets on her. There is no real training, just dominance, and once the horse is not tired, they only remember the fear.
This poor girl just needs some love and understanding, something that’s been lacking in her life for a long time.
Sierra has been through four different owners in a year, and none of her previous owners took the time or energy to train her. She has had a lot of turmoil in her life and desperately needs some stability. Our goal at this point is to ensure that she is confident in her surroundings, and knows that we will not hurt her. After she learns to trust people again, we will work on ensuring that she has a solid foundation and is trained both in the arena and on trail before we find her a new home.
Horse #2: Garnet
We were contacted last month by a woman who had rescued a horse who had been through a lot in her past. On top of being neglected and passed around to different owners, the horse had contracted COPD- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, a degenerative lung disease that constricts the horse’s airways. COPD is usually contracted when horses are in poorly ventilated barns, where they are constantly breathing in mold, spores and dust. Once a horse has a diagnosis of COPD, unfortunately, there is nothing to reverse that damage- only to manage it.
Garnet’s owner had hoped that she would be able to offer her horse a lovely forever home, but her job unexpectedly moved her to Texas, and the vet was uncertain that Garnet would survive the trip, much less be able to breathe in the humid Texas weather.
We tried earnestly to network Garnet, but not even one person inquired. The owner originally said that she was leaving in September, and our hope was that Sierra could be adopted out by then (this was before we realized she had no real training under saddle).
The owner, however, said that Garnet’s companion would be leaving at the beginning of August, and that she needed to find her a place as soon as possible. We weren’t certain where we would put her- we didn’t have an open stall at that time, but we knew that she really had no other options.
I often pick up the horses that come to Hanaeleh, but this past week I had back-to-back doctor’s visits all week… interestingly enough, for my own breathing issues. I can definitely say that I felt for this little horse and her breathing issues- it’s like we are asthma twins. After several text messages and a few phone calls, however, I was able to find someone who could transport her to Hanaeleh.
Garnet (aka: Bailey)
There are some people who might be thinking, “But the horse you networked was named Bailey.” This is true. However, sometimes at Hanaeleh we like to give horses new names in order to give them a new start. Her owner was very kind and made sure that she was healthy and happy, but Garnet had been passed around so much, that we thought it might be nice for her to have a fresh new name with no baggage attached to it.
Garnet is a beautiful bright bay- almost a blood bay, so she is almost red, so the name fit. We often (not always) will name Thoroughbred mares after jewels (Sapphire, Ruby, Onyx), so we thought it would be nice to continue that tradition.
Finally- and the most important reason we chose Garnet, is because the stone is supposed to cure lung conditions. What better jewel to name her after than the very one that is purported to heal her condition? We’re still going to work with the vet and we promised Garnet that she will have the best medical care we can offer her for the rest of her life.
Garnet Arrives at Hanaeleh
Garnet came to Hanaeleh on Wednesday. She came out of the trailer very well, although a little wide-eyed, which is to be expected from a Thoroughbred who is in a new place with new people.
She was a little winded just from being in the trailer for a few hours, and when I walked her the short distance to Hanaeleh, she was already breathing heavily. I rinsed her off at the wash rack and turned her out in the round pen so she could say hi to the other horses- her reaction was very different from Sierra; there was a lot of squealing and snorting!
My original thought was that Garnet would be able to live with Hope and Grace in their paddock- it’s nice and shady, and big enough for them to move around a little, but not really big enough for them to kick up their heels too much, so Garnet wouldn’t run around and hurt herself. That being said, from the moment I put her into the paddock, there was nothing but squealing and snorting and a lot of posturing on the part of all three horses. If Garnet had been completely healthy, it would have been just regular mare issues that they would have worked out, but it was obvious that the stress was causing her breathing to be more distressed, so I took her out of the paddock and instead put her in the stall where Sierra was living (I took Sierra out first, of course).
Garnet immediately calmed down and seemed more comfortable and started breathing better once I moved her into the stall. She seemed to enjoy introducing herself to the “boys” (Rio, Quixote, Ulysses, and even a hi to Lou Dillon), and spent several minutes going up to them, then walking away (much less squealing than with the mares, though). I gave her some mushed pellets and beet pulp, which she enjoyed, and we gave her a mash with some electrolytes, which she loved.
Caring for Garnet
I put Garnet into the round pen the following day, and she was fine- she trotted for a few seconds, but then calmed down and walked around without an issue. This past Saturday I thought she might like to wander around in the arena, but she took off like a wild banshee, and within a few minutes her breathing was terribly labored, and I had to take her out before she hurt herself. It looks like- for now, anyway- that most of her turnouts will therefore be in the round pen (which is a smaller space) in order to keep her safe. Because of her condition, we are not going to ride her or actually push her to exercise- we will walk her around, but that will most likely be the extent of her physical work because of her respiratory limitations.
Garnet should not have hay because it can exasperate her lung condition, so we are giving her watered-down pellets along with some beet pulp. We also make sure that her daily grain mash is mixed with a lot of water. She is very good while we are grooming her, but we discovered that she can be a little pushy (she’s a Thoroughbred mare, after all), but she is respectful as long as we remind her of her manners. She gets a weekly medication to manage her COPD, and we will also consult with our own vets to see if there is anything else we can add to help alleviate her symptoms.
We thought when we first took in Garnet that there might be a chance that we would adopt her out to someone as a companion horse, but the reality is that she is safest at this point at Hanaeleh, and she is now a permanent resident.
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