Posted on January 1, 2018
Posted on January 1, 2018On the 1st day, there was the AAE Residents!
The heart of our volunteer activities begin with our residents. it all begins with our minis, ponies, and our full-sized horses. Our new volunteers learn about basic care and handling with our most reliable, trustworthy, and dependable horses. They have their stories, too, but we don't often talk about them because their story came and went. Let's revisit....
Rusty is our 31, soon to be 32-year old Arabian gelding that came to us in 2010 due to a financial distress and an impending deployment situation. Rusty was loved beyond words, but his mom knew she couldn't give him what he needed, and she worried that when she was deployed, there wouldn't be anyone experienced enough to provide the care he needed for as long as it might be. So she made the difficult decision to find a safe home for him.
Shortly after he arrived, we discovered some really nasty summer sores on his "private parts". Sadly, they were well hidden, and they were discovered during his vet exam. It took several vet visits for cleaning with sedation before he healed. A while later, we found a sarcoid in his ear that started getting irritated and growing. Ear sarcoids are challenging to treat because the meds can spread into the ear canal and damage the inner ear. Once again, Rusty had several rounds of treatment with Dr. Stolba until his ear finally healed. Fortunately, it has been several years, and the sarcoid has not returned.
Rusty has been an AAE steady since he got here. Early on, he gave lessons. Then he became our go to guy for birthday parties and kids programs. He has given many a child their first horseback ride! He's also one of our favorites for new volunteers. Many of our new volunteers come to AAE with no horse experience. Some haven't been around horses since they were a child. Rusty is one we can count on to take good care of the newbies. They love him, and so do our veteran volunteers.
Some call him Grandpa Rusty or Uncle Rusty, too. He loves the youngsters. When Rusty is turned out with the herd, you might find him acting like Rico Suave, as he swaggers up to the girls. Or, you might see him acting like a young buck, rearing and playing with the boys. He's the best. We love this ol' guy to the moon and back! Typical of a older horse, he's worth his weight in gold!
Kaya came to AAE in 2014. She was rescued by another group at auction in Nevada after outbidding the slaughter-buyer, then placed with AAE. Kaya was a 20-something ranch horse that had been neglected. She was lame in front when she unloaded, but it shouldn't have been a surprise. Her hooves were excessively long, and she had on an old pair of shoes. It looked like she was months past due for a trim and new shoes. It took considerable time to work through her hoof issues. Initially, you could see she was sore if you asked her to move any faster than a walk. She would trot, barely, and surely couldn't lope. Fortunately, we stuck with it and when we finally got her hooves "unjammed", we noticed her running with the herd. This girl could gallop!
Kaya is a true gem. She was a diamond in the rough. She IS the most dependable, trustworthy, reliable, and safe horse we have at AAE. Ask her for anything, and she'll give you everything. She's a party girl, too. The kids love her. She loves the kids. They could dress her like a doll, if they tried. Kaya is another senior horse worth her weight in gold.
Kasey came to AAE in Spring 2016 with his big buddy, Angus, and his little pal, Daisy after a family health issue. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Angus earlier this year. Kasey is a 21-ish Clydesdale. A gentle giant is truly what he is. Kasey has a working history as a driving horse. We were told he has a tremendous amount of experience working anywhere from a team of two to a team of eight. Prior to retirement, he competed at the Draft Horse Classic.
Kasey is a big, handsome, lovely hunk of horse. He loves attention. He loves being groomed. He's simply a big happy guy that enjoys every moment of every interaction. Well, maybe not every, like standing patiently for all four of his big heavy hooves to be trimmed or shod. He's got some arthritis so sometimes it's hard for him to stand on any one leg for an extended period. As big as he is, he's pretty agreeable to most anything you ask, but beware of the head. You don't want to be on that side when he turns to see what the heck that noise was. Big head meeting little head: big head wins!
Kasey and Angus were the first drafts to come through AAE, and we hope they won't be the last. If you've never had the pleasure of meeting one of these big guys, you must. Be sure to visit sometime or get out to the Draft Horse Classic. They are special. Kasey is special!!!
Sierra was one of the founding horses of AAE. She was a feedlot rescue that came to AAE with her two boys, Dayton and Clayton, in July 2009. She's gotta be getting close to 20 by now. Clayton's mom had shipped to slaughter, and he was left behind at the feedlot to fend for himself. We can all imagine the horror that must have been for him. Sierra and Dayton adopted him. Actually, Clayton nursed on Sierra, and neither Sierra nor Dayton objected. Reality, they were probably too weak to care. The trio came to AAE in such sad condition. Sierra was depleted. She was skin and bones, and the boys were thin and pretty banged up. Sierra's body was working overtime feeding two lil guys, and she had little energy left for herself. Her eyes were weepy, as if teary, and her head hung low. Her hooves long, her hair falling out, and her mane dead. Poor mare, but she fought so hard to live.
At AAE, we were only able to halter her because she was literally too tired to resist. It wasn't until a little later that we realized she probably hadn't been haltered before, and she surely didn't know how to lead. Thankfully, she was willing to learn. She took such amazing care of the boys, watching over them with her wisdom, always. Slowly, she gained weight and started looking like a horse again. Much to our shock one day after she had been here a month or so, we looked over, and she had a long, bloody strand hanging from her vulva. My heart sank. We had only been in the horse rescue world for a couple months, and we hadn't established with a vet yet. We called all the nearby vets, but none could come on an emergency call. After hanging up from the last one, much to my horror, there was the reason in the distance. Sierra lost a baby. Sierra had passed a stillborn fetus that looked to be about about four months along. It was horribly sad. Not only for the loss of baby and mom's loss of baby, but for mom. What she must have been through. It sheds some light on how hard her body had been fighting for life. Not only her life, but she was supporting her lil' guy and another mama's little guy, and baby, too.
That IS Sierra. She takes care of everyone at the sacrifice of herself. That has been Sierra from day one. In 2009/2010, we had 12 foals at AAE. Our focus was mare/foal pairs and pregnant mares. Sierra was like Grandma to all, even some of the moms. You'd look out in pasture, and you would see Sierra eating from a tub, and she would be surrounded by five or six foals and another mom or two. Always!
Even today! Sierra has since been the matriarch of the herd. No matter how many horses come and go, she is queen bee. Everyone looks to her. She has that presence; she has the look. She's had several mares challenge her along the way, but in the end, Sierra it is!
Sierra has not been an easy mare to handle. She has some deep seated trust issues, and no doubt someone did her seriously wrong at some point. She's got a strong spirit; it's palpable. She's one you recognize the privilege it is to be in her presence, to touch her, to feel her. Sierra is a very special mare.
We shared Danny's story earlier, but he's so special and now a resident, he's worth sharing again for anyone that may have missed it. Danny's story isn't one of neglect, abandonment, abuse, or poor care. Sadly, it's one of human health and aging. Danny was loved beyond words. So much, his former owner considered euthanizing him rather than risk him having difficulties transitioning to a new home, ending up in a bad home, or worse, the fear of auctions and the slaughter pipeline.
Fortunately, the timing was right and Danny has a couple special people in his life that paved the way for him to get to AAE. Danny is the most kind, mellow, and affectionate horse we have known, and we are grateful he landed with us. Danny's owner's health was failing, and she was unable to provide ongoing care for him any longer. Danny is 27. He knew no other owner, as he was born to her mare. Mama rejected him for four days, and on the 5th day, she finally accepted him. Danny spent those four days with his surrogate mom while she held mom and made sure he was able to nurse. It was a rocky start, but Danny and his other mom grew a bond like no other. She trained him; she rode him; they competed together. They spent 27 years together until they had to say good bye, and not because of death. To say it was a sad day when we loaded Danny in the trailer is an understatement. We all shed tears.
Danny will stay on with AAE as a resident, helping new volunteers learn about horses. He will also participate in youth activities and any other related equine programs where we need a most trustworthy and dependable horse. We are lucky to have this ol' guy, and I think he's enjoying befriending volunteers and visitors, alike. Danny, you are loved!
Finn was born at AAE in April 2014. Finn's mom, Kai, was one of a group of mares rescued from one of the Nevada auction's. Mom had been here about seven weeks when she delivered Finn. He was this precious little palomino package. Sadly, mom had dripped milk for a week before a difficult delivery, and Finn didn't get any colostrum. Dr. Stolba examined he and mom after delivery, and poor little Finn had no antibodies. He got a plasma transfusion to help support him. It wasn't enough though. At about three weeks, he contracted some "bug", and he was passing neon green diarrhea. It was really bad diarrhea, and we all know how susceptible our little guys are when diarrhea strikes. Finn was given fluids and antibiotics, but his condition worsened. We ended up administering fluids and meds, and we were with him pretty much 24/7 for about 10 days before he stabilized and we could breathe a sigh of relief.
Finn grew to be a handsome young lad, but trouble he was! He was adopted when he was bout 14 months old, but it wasn't long lasted. He came back about six months later because he was a bit of a trouble-maker. Must be why we love him so much! He's been a volunteer favorite ever since, and since Uncle Dayton left for Colorado, Finn was the perfect guy to take his place. Hoping to start Finn under saddle in 2018. He's ready! He has some time to grow into one of our dependable, trusty steeds, and look forward to his journey to a "dopey" old man.
So, many of our good stories involve senior horses. Senior horses! Senior horses are worth their weight in gold. Sadly, so many people think an old horse is a throw away horse. More sadly, so many more people won't consider an old horse when looking for a new horse because they are an "old" horse. My biggest wish for 2018 is that more people open their eyes and hearts to everything an "old" horse has to offer....the joys, the wonder, the wisdom, and the love of an old horse. Old horses may be old. They may not have a lot of years left to give, but they give you everything they've got. They've been there, they've done it. They've lived it, they've learned it. When you consider pairing a 1,000 pound horse next with a child, consider a wise old horse over a young inexperienced horse any day! For a small child that wants to learn, a few good years with an old horse is so much better than a few years with a "bad" horse or worse, a few moments with a young, not so wise horse.
If you would like to help more horses get the help they need, please donate here.
Posted on December 31, 2017
Posted on December 31, 2017On the 2nd day, there was the Mighty Mini Ones!
Every day throughout the year, our mini herd is here to put smiles on the faces of our volunteers and visitors. Our little guys are some of the best ambassadors for AAE and horses alike. Each has his or her own story of how they came to AAE.
Patches, the little princess, ha ha! Patches is an older mini (20-something) that came to AAE from a dog rescue in Fall 2012. She was on the thin side and a bit lonely. We thought she'd be perfect for the kids around AAE. Little did we know, kids weren't her forte. She tolerated them at best. Patches idea of a job is eating. Eating hay, eating grass, eating pellets, eating anything. Really, eating everything. If Patches isn't eating, she isn't happy, haha. Patches is cutest when she trots down to the barn for her morning treat. She bounces, she smiles, excitement exudes from the tips of her hair. The trail back to the "farm", on the other hand, is a slow, dreary trip. Ho hum! Really, Patches is adorable. She's a little sass, and a little sweet. She's the perfect Thelwell pony that needs a story written after her.
You met Marshmallow earlier this month, but now you can hear the rest of the story. Marshy-man came to AAE in March 2014. He was quite sickly. He had been at another rescue, and they were unable to solve his problems. He had been rescued once by this rescue, gone to a therapy home, and returned to be rescued again. The back story isn't entirely clear, but what we know is that Marshy was a sick guy when he came to AAE. This was not long after he arrived.
He was bony. He lacked muscle tone. His eyes said it all. Marshy was eating but wasn't holding weight and he wasn't feeling good at all. He'd stand parked out and wait for discomfort to pass. We tried a variety of things from diet to meds. He would have short periods of relief, but nothing helped for any length of time. Nothing stuck.
With the help of Dr. Stolba and Dr. Fielding throughout and an array of diagnostics one step at a time, we finally learned Marshy had an intestinal issue. His intestinal walls were much thicker than normal, so he wasn't absorbing nutrients like a normal intestine. Fortunately, once the issue was identified, we were able to help him with medication. Thank goodness!! This little guy is truly a remarkable horse. Unlike Patches (hehe), he LOVES kids. He LOVES activity. He LOVES people. He LOVES working. He LOVES life! He's a kind, curious, gentle old soul. And he is old (at least 20-something, probably more), but he would say "PTHHH, no I'm not!" Marshy has put smiles on so many faces at AAE. We were so saddened when he developed rapid onset cataracts last year. BUT, we were so thrilled last year when you all came to the rescue and helped Marshy regain sight in one eye. Marshy is a gift to everyone that meets him, and our AAE community has been such a gift to him. Marshy thanks you, we all thank you!!
Daisy is a little (not) mini donk that came to AAE in 2016 with her gentle giants, Kasey and Angus, after a family health crisis. Daisy ruled the roost with her massive counterparts, and it was quite evident in her waistline. She's lost quite a bit of weight since coming to AAE, and she could still benefit from losing a bit more. Check out that neck. Gotta love those ears!
Daisy is one of our teachers at AAE. All the new volunteers are privileged to meet this girl, and no doubt most would like to call her a three letter word (*ss) before the day is done. She teaches many of the volunteers what persistence and stubborn go together. She teaches many that not all hooved creatures are like all others. Daisy has a subtle way of teaching many what "humble pie" is. Truly, she is the sweetest, cutest, and most stubborn lil' critter around AAE. That being said, treat her with kindness, and she will oblige. We LOVE her to pieces.
ROBBIE AND FLAME
These two special boys came to AAE in 2016, not because they weren't lavished with love or not cared for. Theirs was a downsizing effort, and we're so thankful we had the opportunity to welcome these "mature" gents to our herd. They came at just the right time. Marshy had lost his vision and we did not think he would be able to "entertain" kids and teach new volunteers. Robbie is a handsome and talented guy. He enjoys working with the kids, celebrating birthday parties, walking in parades, and being a bossy guy in the mini herd. Really, he has a secret crush on Patches, but wants everyone to think he's just the big man on the block. Go get 'em Robbie, you're da' man!
Flame is more the gent of the two. He's loves attention, he loves working, he loves to entertain, and like Marshy, he loves life. He's a happy-go-lucky little one. He and Marshy make a great team, now only if they'd like each other! PTHHHH!!! These two are the perfect blend of perfect, but they're like oil and water when together. For now, they have paddocks next door to each other and they are like grumpy old men when it comes to the "two" of them. Maybe they'll become the "Odd Couple", bicker, bicker, bicker but hate to be apart. 'Til then, the four minis and the donk get playtime in the arena together, and some days, it's really a great show.
Sparky isn't a mini, but he's part of our little's crew. Sparky was one of the first arrivals at AAE in 2009. He came from a backyard breeder that raised ponies on a small lot in a mobile home development. There were about 8-10 adult ponies, including a stallion, and a few youngsters. Sparky was with his mom, and he was only a few weeks old. They were kept in small pens and had no real turnout. Their hooves were long, and they were sad. Loading onto the trailer and coming to AAE was an adventure!
Sparky is another entertainer. He's an absolute character. Give him an inch, he'll take it a mile. Treat him with kindness, and he'll do the same in return, usually. He's another teacher in the bunch.
There are lots of Sparky stories here, but he tells 'em best in person.
One more for fun...our favorite little four-legged friend around here.
If you would like to help more horses get the help they need, please donate here.