July 26, 2013

July 13, 2013

Misty Update

Misty Update: The vet came and checked Misty yesterday... and I am relieved to report that she is not pregnant. He says either she is having a false pregnancy or that she recently had a foal (which makes me sad, because where is it?)... It's also possible that she miscarried... I'm looking at the bright side though... Misty has a lot of healing to do, and now we can focus on that. Thanks to everyone for the supportive comments- I really appreciate them. My first instinct was to Photoshop the wounds on Misty's face here, but I'm proud that I didn't. While I adore this moody image of her and her big sweet round eyes, it was more important to me to capture the reality of her neglect and vulnerability than it was for me to make the photo look prettier. It is amazing to me that, just like Willow, she can accept love and trust despite abuse and neglect... I love her.

July 11, 2013

I can't believe this....


Tuesday night I had the most vivid dream.  I dreamt that I was over in the mares' pasture and was noticing that Misty had gotten very fat.  Martha arrived, and as I was walking her over, I said, "You won't believe how fat Misty has gotten!"  Martha took one look at her, then at me... and then she ran to her car and brought back a stethoscope.  She put the monitor up to Misty's belly, looked at me and said, "Shana... Misty's pregnant!!"

I didn't really think anything of the dream, but I mentioned it to Amy when she came to train Misty yesterday.  Amy looked at me funny and then looked down at Misty's teats.  And without a word, she reached down and squeezed...  And fluid came squirting out!!!  I almost fainted...   Oh my gosh... "Amy, omg... is Misty really pregnant?"

Misty isn't huge... she doesn't really look pregnant to me.  But my vet said he'd have to come examine her to be able to tell for sure.  Everyone says you can't always tell.  And especially since she was real skinny not too long ago...

Martha came to see Misty today... and she noticed that Misty's teats had grown in size.  She expressed some of the liquid as well.  She said it was clearish, yellowish and sticky.  She said it was Colostrum.  Dr. Kimmons said if it is Colostrum, then she is pregnant, and the foal will come soon.

Tonight I called Isaac, the kid I got Misty from.  I asked him if he though it was possible that she was pregnant.  He replied, "I have no idea, Ma'am."    Then he reminded me that he'd had her less than a month and said, "Well, I suppose she coulda been out in a field with a jack stud or somethin' before I got her... hahahah..."    Yeah, that wasn't funny.

So I grabbed the one piece of paperwork I have on Misty and called Daniel Smith's number.

Me:  "Hi Daniel... it's Shana, the one who had your Cheyenne.  Do you think there is any way she could be pregnant?"

Daniel:  "Well, ma'am.... I wouldn't be surprised.   Yeah, we were kinda wonderin' the same thing.  You know it takes a year or so... and we didn't have her for all that long."

Me:  "Oh my gosh... well why wouldn't you be surprised???"

Daniel:  "Well the other mare we got from there was thinner than Cheyenne was.  And she spit out a colt one day... surprised us all.  The colt died... I guess 'cause she was so malnourished...   Hey if she has a colt, let me know, will ya?"

Me:  "What? So she didn't look pregnant and you didn't know she was, and then she just had a baby?"

Daniel:  "Yep, she just spit out a colt one day right there in the field."

So I texted back and forth with Dr. Kimmons, Martha, Amy and my friend Erin for a while...  then upon everyone's advice, we opened the stalls to make a large double birthing stall... we put in fresh water and food and lots of clean straw on the ground.  We put the other mares on the other side of the fence and let Misty have extra hay and a bowl of the mother/foal feed we had left over from Mirabella.

Everyone is on call... and I am so nervous.  How can this be happening?  I feel excited, sad, nervous, anxious, and scared all at the same time...

And I don't know nothin' bout birthin' baby horses!! lol! ♥


July 9, 2013

Misty's History - 6 owners in 6 months



Two days after Misty arrived, I received her Coggins report in the mail.  I was glad the kid followed through and mailed it to me...  The report was dated 5-8-13 and listed Daniel S. as her owner.  It said her name was Cheyenne and listed her age as 17.   If there was ever any doubt, now I was totally sure...  Isaac (the kid I bought her from) was a horse broker.  He'd had her less than a month... and told me she was 15 and that her name was Misty.   Wow, maybe this wasn't even her report?  Determined to find out more, I called Daniel S....

Daniel answered the phone and seemed happy to answer my questions about Misty.  Of course my first question was, "So when did you sell the horse to Isaac?"  His answer.... "Who's Isaac?"

My heart sank.  Then Daniel went on to explain that he sold her to some sort of sales barn or auction house.  And he sold her for just a couple hundred dollars...   When I told him about Isaac and how much I paid for her, Daniel said he felt bad that I got so ripped off.   I told him I had no regrets, but was just sad about her poor condition and her history of obvious neglect.  And I told him that I loved her.

So I asked Daniel to tell me everything... I had so many questions.  Why did he sell her?  Where did he get her? Who named her Cheyenne?  Was he sure of her age?  What was her training and experience?  Medical history? How did her face get like that?  Her mane, tail, the scars, etc.?

I took notes as Daniel told me all he knew....      He told me that he named her Cheyenne and wasn't sure of her age or medical history.  He sold her because she was too fast and rough... riding her was hard on his back.  When describing her, he used the word "spirited".  He also said that she had a hard time getting along with other horses... that she was always the dominant one and would fight other horses off.  He said that was probably why they kept her all alone in a small pen at the sales barn.  By the way she looks, I wondered what else they had done to her at that sales barn...

As for Misty's history...   I was shocked to learn that Daniel had only owned her for  4 months before selling her to the sales barn who sold her to Isaac.  The guy he bought her from didn't know her name or her age and had "rescued" her from some other sales house (although I thought he said slaughter house...  and looking back, maybe he did) just a month earlier...   at that point, Misty was very very thin and in bad shape.  He also mentioned something about her and another horses being sold as a pair for $400... both underweight, etc. 

Though I was taking notes, I couldn't believe what I was writing and confirmed it with Daniel.

-  6 months ago,  Misty was starving & thin and owned by some sales barn / auction house (owner 1)
-  Some guy bought her and another thin horse as a pair and kept her for a month (owner #2)
-  Daniel S. then purchased her and kept her for 4 months (owner #3)
-  Daniel sold her to another sales barn / auction house where she stayed  for two weeks (owner #4)
-  Isaac bought her, kept her for a couple weeks and then listed her on Craigslist (owner #5)
-  And of course just this week, I bought her from Isaac (Lucky owner #6 who will keep her forever)

Amazing how many times one horse can change hands in a matter of months...  And I thought of  the story of "Black Beauty"...

Martha and Dr. Kimmons think Misty is 12.  Isaac said 15...  no one really knows I guess....   but if she could have 6 owners in 6 months... how many times did she change hands before that?   We all agree that she has surely been "cowboyed" pretty harshly in the past....  and I know that Isaac did a little barrel racing with her.  But I still wondered how she got her scars and why her face looked so battered....  why she was missing half her mane and if her tail had ever been brushed.  So I asked Daniel about her condition and obvious neglect.

Daniel seemed shocked and told me that he had taken good care of her...  he declared that he was never going to use that "sales barn" again.  I texted him a couple photos of Misty....  and this was his reply:

"I can't believe her face and tail.  My wife didn't like her back then but she even feels sorry for her now."

And that made me cry.  And I wondered.... is this the first time in her life that Misty is being loved?

July 5, 2013

Riding Violet


She's such a good girl... she takes good care of me. ♥

July 3, 2013

Misty Blue

Oh, It's been such a long long time
Looks like I'd get you off of my mind 
But I can't, just the thought of you 
Turns my whole world misty blue...
                                        -Bob Montgomery 

Misty Blue is one of my favorite old songs.. and it's always reminded me of Willow and my love for her...   

And when I was a little girl, my Grandpa had a horse named Windy Blue...   I think of my Grandpa every day, especially now that I have horses.  I know he would have been so excited and proud that I'm somewhat of a country girl now and especially that I love horses just as he did.

I have so many wonderful memories of our summers at Grandpa's ranch.  He was an amazing man...  I miss him so much.  Sometimes I wish I could call him to ask him for his advice, and now that I have horses of my own, I wish I knew more about how he took care of his horses... his theories, his methods, etc.

Mostly though, I just wish I could call him to tell him about Willow, what I've learned from her, and all of the miracles she's sent to me.

And I wonder if he and Willow are up in Heaven together...


That's me on the left riding my favorite horse, Dan.  My Grandpa with the sweet baby... and my Dad and little brother riding Windy Blue.

So in honor of my Grandpa and my love for Willow, my new mare's name will be Misty Blue...

Misty (part 2)

I think the kid was shocked at how easily he had just sold this horse.  I could tell he was thinking, "What does this girl want with a horse like this?"  And he probably wouldn't understand that I just wanted to love her...

He didn't bring any paperwork with him.. not even the coggins report which he promised me he had.  I typed up a quick bill of sale and handed him a copy along with a self addressed, stamped envelope so he could easily send me the coggins report.  Everyone said I'd never receive it, but I chose to believe that I would.

Martha showed up shortly after he left.  I think she was a bit shocked at Misty's condition.  Her tail looked like it had never been brushed and was like one big dreadlock.  Half her mane was missing, and she had open cuts and scrapes on her face where she probably was reaching under a fence to get to some grass.  She also had scars on the sides of her mouth from the bit that someone had obviously used a heavy hand with. She was dirty and cut up, and her feet were in dire need of a trim. But what I noticed the most was her big, round, amber eyes. She had kind eyes and long eyelashes... And something about her reminded me of Willow.  Martha and I wondered what else we might find and just what this poor horse had been through.  We knew for sure that she'd been through a lot and that it might take a long while before she would really trust us.  She lowered her head and was so sweet as she drank water and ate some hay.  And after giving her the once over, Martha said to me, "Shana, I know you have been helping that other rescue horse.. but I've met her; and this horse needs you way more."

Martha could see how much I already loved Misty... "I need her too," I said as I leaned in for my first hug from Misty.... "She's my white Willow."



July 2, 2013

Misty

The other day I decided I should check in on the girl with the bay mare that needed help.  To my knowledge, her feet hadn't yet been trimmed.  I had offered to pay for the farrier but hadn't heard from the girl in days.  I couldn't find her phone number, so I went on Craigslist to find the ad so I could call her.  I used my regular search terms but couldn't find the ad.  Knowing that she changes the ad often, I decided just to type in "Quarter Horse Mare".   Well, I didn't find the ad... but what I did find intrigued me for some reason.  The very top ad was for a grey mare:

Hi, I am selling my 15 yr old QH trail mare. "Misty" is approx 15.1 hh, built nicely with correct conformation. She is very sweet and love attention, being petted, groomed, etc. Stands well for farrier, baths, saddling, grooming, etc. Loads and trailers great, no problems. Misty is currently without shoes and does fine barefoot, not tender footed or stumbly. She has a nice walk, trot and lope. You can neck rein or direct rein her. She has a soft mouth, very easy to control and handle. Also has a great stop and reverse. No problems crossing water, ditches, bridges, puddles, logs and anything else you might find on the trail. Misty rides good in a group or alone.  Serious inquires only.

And she was beautiful.   There was something about her.... Something that called to me.

I emailed the ad to Martha and texted her:

Me:  If I email you, will you check it right away?  You might think I'm nuts... and you have to keep this on the down low for now... don't tell Michael yet. :)

Martha: Uh oh... sounds serious.

Me:  Keep an open mind.  You know my feelings... and Willow....

Martha must have checked my email right away...

Martha:  I think I might cry!  If you don't get her, I think I should!!!  What a GREAT horse!!! Takes me straight to my childhood...

Me:  Omg will you go see her tomorrow for me?  Guy has lots of calls on her... Omg... I KNEW it!

Martha:  Don't think I need to look at her.

Me:  Why not?  My feelings? Your feeling?  Or you just trust mine?

Martha:  She is perfect.  I love her.

And that was enough for me. I called the guy and offered him full price + $100 to bring her to me in the morning.  I already knew before I told Martha that this horse was meant to be with me.  What I didn't expect was for Martha to be so gung ho.  I pretty much broke ALL her rules on buying a horse:  Don't buy a horse off Craigslist.  Don't buy a horse you haven't ridden.  Don't buy a horse unless you've seen it twice. Don't buy a horse without a vet check, etc. etc.   Her reaction was amazing to me... still is.  But I know that Willow had something to do with that.... 

And when Michael walked in the room a few minutes later, he recognized my "Guilty Lucy" smile right away.... "Lucyyyyyy.???  What have you done???"   I explained it to him and rationalized that this way, we could take two mares out on the trail, and one could stay back to watch over Mirabella.  It really was a good plan, if I don't way so myself.  And I guess Michael must be getting used to my craziness...  because he merely answered,  "Okay... but this is the LAST one."  :)

I woke up in the morning so excited to meet Misty, and I texted Martha.

Me:  Oooohhh you are  in SO much trouble with Michael.  You are officially now my ETHEL!  She'll be here tomorrow at 11am.

Martha:  Does Michael know about this?

Me:  yes lol.  He says I, noooo WE are nuts.

Martha:  Yeah, I'm starting to feel a little nuts!

The guy showed up with Misty at 11am sharp.  He pulled up hauling a very old rustic black horse trailer, and he was much younger than he sounded on the phone.  As he walked back to open the trailer, I asked him how old he was and how long he'd been riding.  He answered in a very thick southern accent, "Nineteen Ma'am.  And I  been ridin' since I was knee high to a grasshopper." 

And this was my first look at my new girl...

She was super cute... but she didn't look anything like the photos I saw.  Her mane was half gone, her tail was mangled, she had scars and cuts all over her, and her face was full of grey patches where her fur had worn off... we think probably from her halter being left on 24/7. And her feet had also been neglected and desperately needed a trim. I knew now for sure that Willow had led her to me...   It was clear that she had had a rough life... and from talking to this kid, I surmised that he really knew nothing about her.  He mentioned that she'd probably been ridden hard by a cowboy or two at some point. When I asked how long he'd had her, he wouldn't answer but just said, "Non that long, Ma'am."  And it became clear to me that he was a horse broker.  Rule # 5 broken: Don't buy a horse from a horse broker.

The boy threw Misty's lead rope around her head and hopped on her bareback, "Want me to lope her off?" he asked. I had never heard that expression before.  "No, I said... that's okay... you can just trot her around a little... then I'd like to ride her." Her walk was fast... more like a march... and I noticed that she seemed tense as he rode her.  It was blazing hot, but I walked and trotted her around a bit my front yard. "I love her," I said...

And I did-  I loved her instantly, and when no one was watching, I whispered in her ear,  "You're home now, and here you will be a princess." 

July 1, 2013

Good Morning Girls

Violet is the first one to come greet me in the morning. And mornings are glorious when you have horses... ♥ Of course the morning sun always reminds me of Willow.

Violet's History

After Violet was all settled in, I decided to go through the folder of paperwork that was sent on the trailer with her.  Violet's birthday is May 20, 2004 (just one week before the day Sophie was born)!  So she just recently turned 9 years old.  I noticed that her dam and sire were not registered as Quarter Horses, rather they were registered Paint Horses! Violet's original name was "Louise", and she was born in Perry, Georgia. She was sold at some point to a cowboy who then sold her to another cowboy who sold her to an auction house. Sometime during those three ownerships, Violet was "cowboyed" and likely mistreated.  She has a terrible deep scar on one side of her belly that may have been from spurs and/or an accident.  She also has some bad scars on her left hind leg and an injury to her front right hoof.   While it's clear that she had a hard life for several years, in 2010 she was purchased by a woman who kept her for about 9 months before selling her to a lady named Lisa in Pennsylvania.  Lisa owned Violet for two years.... and Lisa sold her to Danielle in Florida just 4 months ago.  Then of course, I just bought her from Danielle.   From what I can surmise, Violet has lived in three states, and I am her 7th owner in 9 years...

Knowing that Danielle had only had Violet a short while, I asked if I could get in touch with her previous owner Lisa.  Danielle has been so kind and helpful ... she gave me Lisa's phone number and Facebook information.  It was neat to see photos of Violet with her beloved pasture mate, "Willow".  I still can't believe that connection.   It was so wonderful talking to Lisa... she told me so much about Violet... most importantly that Violet had had a rough life and had some trust issues.  I think it was probably for that reason that she was perhaps hard to bond with for some of her previous owners.  Lisa told me that Violet wasn't very affectionate, had a hard time trusting and bonding with Lisa's family... but then one day something amazing happened... 

She started telling me the story, "Willow started to choke..."  I had to interrupt her, "Willow started to CHOKE?  Is that what you said, Lisa?"   Lisa confirmed it, and then I just had to tell her about my Willow (who choked every day, etc. and all about how Willow led me to Violet).   I already had goosebumps.   Lisa went on to tell me that she had to call a vet to come save Willow during her choking incident.   She and her family were so scared... and because Violet and Willow were so close, Violet just stood close by watching the entire time.  After the vet finished and Lisa was catching her breath, she felt something behind her and then over her shoulder.... it was Violet gently resting her head on Lisa's left shoulder.  Lisa reached up with her left arm around Violet's head, and they shared their first hug.  Lisa said from that moment on, Violet was a different horse... she loved them and bonded with them... she trusted them.

Of course, the story made me cry... I am so grateful that Lisa shared it with me.  And I am so happy to know that Violet was loved for part of her life and has been taken care of for the past few years.  When I see her scars, instead of imagining her being mistreated at the auction house or those cowboy ranches, I will remember the story Lisa shared with me...  and I will work toward creating trust and forming a deep, loving bond with her. <3