Friday, December 30, 2011

Misty Mornings....

Road trip!  We left the ranch in the dark of night, soon to be daylight but the need to get on the road before the commuter traffic was the goal.  We had a long drive ahead of us, over 630 miles to deliver Misty and Bambi to their new adoptive homes in the wine country of Lake County, just north of Napa valley. 

We were all still half asleep when the trailer loading started.  Bambi, at only six months old, is the more seasoned traveler of the two horses and she walked right into the trailer and stood, tied eating hay while we brought Misty over and loaded her.  

Only her second trailer ride and she walked right in too.  I have to give Debbie Steglic credit for that.  She volunteered many hours working with Misty to give her the confidence to follow our lead.  Rewarding as it is that they walked so trustingly into the trailer, it’s also a little sad  they won’t be returning with us.  Knowing they are headed for people who are impatiently waiting their arrival makes this departure easier.

Travel was fabulous, we ran into hardly any traffic and when we got up to Woodland, north of the bay area, we had enough day light left that we chose the scenic route to get us to our cut-off highway.  So we took highway 16 from Woodland north through the small turn of the century towns with tiny populations on a two lane road leading us nostalgically back in time.  After 500+ miles of interstate this was just the picture we needed to see out the windows.  We went through a beautiful gorge along a creek with several parks for hiking, picnicking and even a cowboy camp.

Tall, steep rock formations with outcroppings of trees just reaching for the heavens and perfect with the shadows of the sun as it was starting to set in the west, bright shafts of sun splashing through the branches making the leaves and pines vivid colors of greens and golds warmly pop against cold, dark rock.   Rolling around one of the many sharp turns in this windy road we opened up to a rolling glen and one of the biggest herd of Elk I have ever seen in my life.  There were over 40 sprinkled throughout the glen grazing on the lush, green grasses as though there was no one in sight.  The leader regally lifted his head and I swear he looked right at us, considered us and then went back to grazing realizing we were no harm to the herd.    Takes your breath away, seriously, I am sure I held my breath when he looked at us hoping they wouldn’t all turn and run.

It was dark by the time we pulled into A Gift Horse Rescue in Kelseyville and a group of the volunteers, young, teenage girls, giddy with excitement that we had finally arrived with new horses for them to care for and love on board, met us at the road and showed us how to get to the barn through the walnut tree grove.   Bambi will be part of the rescues program for children to learn horse husbandry and training and she will thrive in their loving care.  I suspect she will be groomed and dressed up in ribbons and bows in no time.    Misty will belong to CC and her son and stay boarded there with CC’s other adopted horse.

No drama with the unloading or settling into the round-pen for the evening.  The girls were more interested in the food (though they had plenty in the trailer) than they were with their new surroundings and the resident horses didn’t even acknowledge them with a nicker or whinny.  Misty warmed right up to Valarie as she got a big hug after her halter came off.  Misty seemed very confident that she was in a safe place as did Bambi.  Makes it so much easier to drive off when you see the horses have no concern over their new digs.   

                                                       Misty walking out of the trailer

Clearly there is lots of love to go around at A Gift Horse rescue and these well-loved horses are being left in very capable hands.   CC texted that she was doing a ‘happy dance’, knowing the horses had arrived safely and could hardly wait to meet them.

Our stay was short, but we did learn that there were several vineyards in the area and some of the other fun touristy things to do like bass fishing, seeing the tall Redwoods, horse camping,  and wine tasting.  Which as long as we were so close to Napa valley was definitely something we wanted to do on our way home with an overnight stay at the Twin Pines Casino & Hotel en route.   First casino we have been to that offered wine tasting.  What a great way to relieve the muscle strain from hours in the truck. 

We woke to a foggy morning as we could see from our window that the local mountains were partially covered with the low clouds.  The trip down the mountain side was reminiscent of the drive from Julian to Santa Ysabel or the tight turned road from Flagstaff to Sedona.  Two lanes with no shoulder much of the windy way. Not a road for those in a hurry.   Tucked in the hills between the trees and rock formations were turn of the century cabins mixed in a with a new home here or there and a few ‘view points’, where you could see the valley below. 
We came around one sharp curve to see a fawn standing in the on-coming lane, I yelled, “Bambi, Bambi” to Lary so he would see her – though in afterthought the Bambi we had dropped off last night was much cuter than this fawn.  We slowed way down and she eventually went prancing off into the hills and as I watched her, a car sped around that corner and had it been a moment earlier or if we had not come when we had, the outcome would have been tragic for sure.  Timing – God puts us in the needed place once again….

As we descended the mountain side and looking out over the valley heading into Calistoga and on to Napa, I was struck by the wisps of clouds like fingers reaching through the trees as the sun rose making the fog look like angles hair draped over the boughs of a Christmas tree.  Prisms of light reflected off the clouds making it look so serene and magical.   We stopped for me to take a picture, but I know it doesn’t do justice to the quiet beauty of the morning but the memory of it will always be there.  

What a cute place Calistoga is, a blend of old and new and vineyards for miles and miles.  Ramona has some relatively new vineyards and I enjoy looking at the rows of vines gracing our local road ways, but these were vines that have been producing delectable grapes for decades I am sure. The trunk of the vines had such character, thick, nobby and rich in deep color rising to new vines that stretch each season to bring a new crop of fruit for the bottle.

The valley moves on to St. Helena and that is where we found a sit in bakery called, Model Bakery, where there was just too much to choose from without making a pig of yourself.  Rows of glass display cases showed off the biggest selection of fresh baked, hot out of the oven, breakfast pastries I have seen in a long time, not to mention fashionable cupcakes, pies and artisan style fresh breads.  I’m talking nose to the glass good…..  

I opted for an Apricot croissant and a Bear Claw and Lary a sticky roll and chocolate cookie, some to eat now and some to take on the road for later.   A freshly brewed cup of Peets coffee and the fresh ground almond paste in the Bear Claw about had me moaning like Med Ryan in ‘When Harry Met Sally”.   Yummm, doesn't even begin to describe their pastries.  

Wishing we had a place like this in Ramona, I was memorizing the set up and d├ęcor of the place and heard a little girls squeal of delight, "look mama, a huge gingerbread house", and turned to see a beautifully hand crafted  house that no doubt was built in the bakery in the back just for this holiday season.  When we left, we stopped to take a look and it was even decorated on the inside.   I’m wondering after New Year’s do they all sit down with a huge pot of coffee and start eating this masterpiece?   Seems like the best way to honor such a beautiful and no doubt, labor of love.   

St. Helena is collection of boutique stores, chocolatiers, niche restaurants, art galleries, Bed & Breakfast Inns and spa’s, even the hardware store looked unique.  As you leave town the vineyards continue with tasting rooms to show off their wares. Some old, some new and trendy, Tuscan, Tudor, architecturally modern, great diversity as you probably see in the wines themselves. 

I was telling Lary about a trip I had made over a dozen years ago up here and a happenstance stop at a vineyard called Sequoia Grove, where I tasted my all-time favorite Chardonnay which was smooth, oaky with a buttery finish that was so creamy going down.  I have never seen Sequoia Grove in wine shops in the San Diego area until a few days before Christmas we stopped at the Major Market in Fallbrook and they had a bottle of their Cabernet there.  I scanned the shelves for their Chardonnay, but they didn’t have it.  I was so bummed.
But here we are in Napa Valley and the winery is on our way home.  While we were talking about it, we actually drove right passed it.  In this part of Napa they have a center lane so people can pull to the center to make left hand turns without impeding traffic.   Passed it, not a problem for my husband who is highly skilled at the task of backing a trailer, he pulled in the center lane, checked the other lanes of traffic and backed us up right to the driveway.   That’s it, the cute ‘A’ frame building sitting in the middle of towering Sequoia trees and the sign says they are closed……  

We pulled in the driveway and we tried to figure out where to put this compact little F350 Dually with a three horse stock trailer in tow (bet they don’t get many of these pulling up) so I could at least get a picture after all these years.   Lary dropped me off while he turned the truck around and I headed for the door, just a peek inside, what could that hurt.  I cupped my hands to the side of my face so I could get a good look just as someone opens the door – OH! Hi!  

“We are closed and don’t open for another hour”, the man says..   “I know”, I said and told him how it had been over a decade since I was here last and we were headed all the way to San Diego and I just had to stop and see the place again and show my hubby…   Silence, then he looks at me and smiles, “oh, come on in, but we are just setting up so don’t mind us while we get ready for the day”.   I squealed just like the little girl seeing the Gingerbread house and started waving my arms to Lary….come on – they are gonna let us in!!!! 

Much to my delight it was as I had remembered, beautiful wood bar, tall windows of the ‘A’ frame, big beautiful bottles with gold etched Sequoia’s on them.  We started talking and the man, I didn’t even get his name, told me what had changed since last being there and told me their Chardonnay is still made with the same process as back then and as a special treat set out a wine glass and poured a glass for Lary and I to share.   Drinking this early?  Was it even 9am, oh heck, who cares!  All this way from home and I was getting a chance to see if the wine was as good as I remembered and yes, yes it was.  I savored my first taste as it graced my mouth with a softness I had thought about for years.  

Lary is not a Chardonnay drinker, but even he had to admit it was nummy.   I know that’s not a wine snob way to describe fruit of the vine, but we’ve never aspired to be snobs, so nummy it is!  We tried the reds too and knowing we had a long way to travel yet today, we bought one of each and headed on our way.  Thanking him for making our short lived trip to Napa such a brief but fun memory. 

Thinking of the horses and missing them already, knowing they won't be there in the morning, nickering for attention when we go out to feed I will always remember this as our Misty trip.   Bringing Misty up to her new mom, CC, in wine country, waking up to a misty mountain top in the morning as we looked out our hotel window and our drive down to Napa valley as the fog laid on the rolling hills like mist on the vines.   What a great way to spend a couple of days during the holidays!

Every mile a memory......

Add captionBambi & Misty the next morning

                                                     Bambi with one of her new friends

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's the Trimming time of year!

I still have yet to put the ornaments up on our Christmas tree.  It's been up for two weeks and has lights on and a few ornaments on it that I got at a recent holiday party ornament exchange, but with all that has been going on I haven't found the time to all out "trim" the tree.  But that's not all the trimming that needs to be done this time of year and today we had the opportunity do a little different kind of trimming for the holiday's.

A gal I hadn't seen since the 2007 wild fires when we both worked with Emergency Animal Rescue and helped with the 160 horses that were housed in a local arena (among other various animals) having been evacuated from their homes and helped get food out to other animals still left at home with absent owners (shelter in place), Amanda Kohr came to check out Bizzy's feet for her new soon to be foster family.

How good to see her again after so many years.  While she was giving Bizzy the once over and telling Ted what great feet Bizzy had, we talked about what was going on here at the rescue and each of the fallon foals Bambi, Diesel and weanling Cinnabon.  I asked about their feet and if she could take a look at them and thankfully she had the time.   So off we went so I could introduce her to each of the babies and give them their holiday trims....

Bambi & Amanda - first trim 12-21-11

Bambi has had lots of practice having her feet handled with me cleaning her feet, but doing the trim takes a little longer and the nipper and rasp were definitely a new feeling.   She really didn't fuss about it much.  Just a little bit because it does take longer to do the trim than just cleaning them out, but we would give her a break between feet and move her so she could square up again for balance.  Amanda said that whoever ended up adopting Bambi was getting a horse with good feet, they were in great shape and the thrush she had a few weeks ago is totally gone.

Diesel & Amanda - first trim 12-21-11

Diesel did awesome too.  I have been a little worried that his hooves would have problems because of the mal-nutrition and infection that he suffered for so long, his pasterns were really weak for a while, but have been firming up better as the weeks go by.   Because of his low pasterns his hooves seemed very long with low heals.  Other than a small bruise on his right hind foot (sorry I didn't get a picture) his hooves were overall in good shape and the thrush is totally gone too.   Phew, what a relief.  

Now that the first trims are done, I can do touch ups with the rasp every week and that will help extend the time between trims and get them used to the feel of the rasp and their feet being handled.  I sure am glad to know both their feet are fine and I just need to keep an eye on that small bruise on Diesel's foot.

Amanda was kind enough to give us a discount for the horses at the rescue which is a nice way to help the donated dollars go further and we really appreciate her helping out like that.  I also want to thank Lisa, Jan, Lois & Paul,  Miya & Steve, Joanna, Michelle, Stef and Celia for their donations to help the horses at EqWBR, so I was able to schedule Dr. Christi for next week, and she will be coming out to do a check up on Diesel and pregnancy check on Shala.

Christmas is my favorite time of year, probably because it's my birthday too and I do love trimming the tree and I have a wonderful collection of ornaments that bring back memories every time I unpack them.  In fact on my facebook page I have an entire album I posted last year with each of the ornaments pictured, that's how much I love trimming the tree...   But I have to tell you, I loved doing today's trimming just as much!!!


If you are considering year end donations, we would sure appreciate it if you would help support the horses here with a donation, every dollar is put to good use for the well-being of the horses.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A very Bizzy day! She gets a foster family

Today was Bizzy's day. A gentleman came out to talk to us about adopting her. Tabi was out to work with Chance and had the time to warm Bizzy up and then prep her for Ted to ride her. She hasn't been ridden since August and Tabi only had her for one month of training = about 15 rides in a round pen. 

Ted wanted to try her with his saddle on which had a rear cinch, breast collar, saddle bags and covers on the stirrups and his bridle is one of those "bitless" ones that cross-pulls under the chin. She has never experienced any of these things. 

While the most confusing to her was the bitless bridle because she kept thinking she was supposed to stop when she felt the pull across her chin. But she kept trying and trying and eventually both Tabi and Ted rode her with all that new gear. She didn't get fussy, no swishing the tail or stomping her feet, just try, try, try. She is such a good horse. 

So good that Ted called and they want to foster her for a few months and if she fits with his family like she thinks they will, permanent adoption. He is very excited and wanting to pick her up yet this week... A new horse for Christmas. 

You could see the connection between the two of them and he was so patient with her - common with women, not so common with men.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Reflection on Frost!

We have had a series of really cold nights.  Our bedroom is on the second floor and I can look out over the roof of the garage from up here.  This is important this time of year because when I get up, I can look out the window and see if there is frost on the roof and how thick it is.  This morning it was really thick and took some time to melt even with the sun out.

Tonight is supposed to be another really cold night with a chance of sprinkles....that means lots of moisture to freeze and turn into frost.  All the mature horses don't mind the cold because they have nice thick coats to keep them warm, even if it is drizzling.  I come from Minnesota where we didn't blanket our horses in the dead of winter, let alone just when it gets down in the 20's, so unless there is some medical reason they need a blanket, they aren't getting one.   We will feed alfalfa at night to give them the extra protein to burn during the night to keep warm.

Even Cinnabon and Bambi (both less than a year old) have nice thick coats.  If it is drizzly and cold out for Bambi I will put on the blanket that a beautiful angel sent this way, just for that added dryness since she did so recently get over her strangles.   But poor Diesel (the baby), he just doesn't have the muscle mass or thick coat to keep himself warm so he gets his blanket right after the sun goes down.

So where does the frost come in which is what I originally started talking about?

If the frost is still on the roof in the morning, I know it's still too cold to go out and take Diesel's blanket off and another good reason for me to stay under the electric blanket in my jammies and answer emails and facebook, and anything else I need to do on the computer.   If the frost is gone, well I better get out there pretty soon and get his blanket (generously donated by the same angel) off too.

He likes his blanket.  Not so much the putting on and taking off, but he knows when it does come off, I am going to brush him from head to toe and oooohhh boy does that feel good.  If fact, I am surprised he doesn't go grab the hairbrush off the table next to the stall and bring it to me himself.   When I am done, if he hasn't had enough, he just comes right back to me and stands there as if to say "more, may I have some more?"...

Bambi loves to be groomed too.  Not shy of the brush or comb, what girl named Bambi would be????   She will just revel in the hair tingling, muscle massaging process of getting brushed.  She'll stand for her mane and tail to be combed out too.   I have taught her well to prep her for a future in pony club, parade costume, or some other function where it will be imperative that she look her best and she will have to endure (I say that tongue in cheek) all the fussing.   It is fun to watch Mackenzie, who the two of them stand eye to eye, diligently go about the chore of grooming her...very serious business it is.  And Bambi knows she is star of the show.

SHALA also loves to be groomed, but I need to catch her first and now that she is out in a large enclosure, she doesn't always want to be caught and can play hard to get from time to time, but once I start brushing her, she has no desire to go anywhere.   I really feel I need to compensate for all the times I had to go out and put drops and ointment in her eyes.  She still remembers and probably always will, but as I catch her, to just groom her and make her feel good and leave her eyes alone, I am hoping all that eye care will sit farther back in her memory banks and slowly fade away.

I see the way these horses appreciate the TLC that comes with the grooming and the way they truly relax and hang their head down in complete joyful submission and am eager for the time that Cinnabon will allow me to do the same with her.  But to do that safely I will really need to have her haltered and we haven't gotten that far along yet. I am still just getting her used to me being close and touching her - lots of pressure there.  But soon. I haven't worked on haltering her at all this week because it is too slippery in her stall, but next week if it dries out more, we will be right back at it.   I one day soon I hope it will be her enjoying that full body massage feeling that comes with a nice gentle grooming.

These horses are true treasures.  Though we've had trials of them fighting me because of the health care treatment they needed, or the fear they show because of the sad situation they were in before they got here, or just never having been touched, once they decompress and learn to trust, they trust AND depend and what a gift it is for a horse to trust and depend on me....these animals that can live in the wild for years and years without needing to trust or depend on a soul.  

So in this season of giving gifts, I have been given the ultimate from the horses here at the rescue, trust and dependence.  How privileged I am to care for the precious creatures that you all help support so we can move them on to good, fulfilling lives with families that love and care for them.   Your kindness and generosity allow us to meet all their well-being needs so they can relax, be horses, feel loved and thrive.  You are each a part of this wonderful and loving process and I must say I think we make quite a team.

All of us working together for the health and well-being of the horses.

So tomorrow morning when I look out my window, I will check the frost on the roof to see if it is time to start the morning ritual that shows these horses just how much you care...   Did you ever really think frost was that important???   Well now you know!

Thank you all for your continued support.     If you would like to make a holiday donation to care for the horses on behalf of that person who is hard to buy for, I will send them a special card letting them know that a holiday gift was made in their name to help care for the horses at EqWBR.  I have done several so far and it has been a lot of fun.

I suspect that the recipient will be delighted that their holiday gift, instead of being something that will end up being tucked away and never used, regifted or used as a white elephant, will be caring for animals that can't care for themselves.  

Let me know if you would like to do this and we can get it done before the holidays. Give me a call at 760-703-4860 or send me an email at, and I will get the gift cards in the mail the same day.    Again, we can't thank you enough for all of your loving support.....


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Update on Bambi & Diesel


As Bambi and Diesel continue to recover their health and get their energy back, it is Bambi who has bounced back the quickest (if over a month is quick) and this week she was definitely feeling her Wheaties.  Several times I saw her bouncing around in their stall trying to kick up her heels and blow off some energy in a 12' x 18' space.  Amazing how quickly she can put the brakes on.....

In the midst of her frivolity and jumping for joy was poor Diesel.  Still not 100%, not only did he look at her like she was NUTS, he was trying to very unsuccessfully stay out of the way of the tornado in the stall.  No longer showing any symptoms of strangles or even the slightest runny nose from the weather, we decided it was time for her to go!    

Go to her own stall that is and we just happened to have one right next to Cinnabon's stall.  So today was the day for the big move.  She is stepping up to a large 48' x 24' stall and she decided to try every inch of it once she realized that there was room to move around.  Talk about bucking and snorting, let's add some rearing and pawing at the air, not to mention a few moves I don't think there are names for.  Heaven, pure heaven.  I got some video that I will post as soon as I get a chance to edit, that shows just how much fun she was having.

Air Bambi having the time of her life running around.

The entire time Cinnabon, in the adjoining stall, looks on wondering, "who is that flake going berserk in the stall next to me?".  I think she was getting dizzy just watching Bambi going in fun-filled circles.  Diesel on the other hand, never took his face out of the feeder thinking, "man, I get this all to myself!".

We had some special guests come for a visit today.  A young lady named Mackenzie (not sure of the spelling) who is thinking she may want her own horse, came with her mom and brother to see what horses were all about.  Her mom thought she might get a feel for the work involved if she got a chance to volunteer to help some horses that needed some extra TLC.   How very cute is was to watch a young horse and a young lady get to know each other.  By the time Mackenzie left, Bambi was following her around on the lead line and stopping when she stopped and it was clear to all that they enjoyed each others company.  Cutest part was they could look at each other eye to eye....just the right size!  She will be returning to put some more volunteer time in with Bambi.

After they left it was time for Cinnabon and Bambi to get to know each other across the pipe panels.  A lot of teeth clacking from Bambi and Cinnabon swung her butt around a few times, as if to say, "I'm the one in charge here!".  But there was no kicking or bad manners.   They are much closer in size to each other than Bambi and Diesel and I noticed that Bambi's six month teeth are starting to come in so I think they are 3-4 month apart in age.

Bambi is checking out Cinnabon on the other side of the panel

Since Bambi has become so used to being handled by people and enjoys the hands on attention so much, I hope it will rub off on Cinnabon and she will open up to me handling her more and more.   She is my next big challenge.  

Diesel seemed to miss Bambi a little bit this afternoon, they were whinnying across the driveway to each other and there was quite a conversation going on between the two of them.   Even Cinnabon joined in the conversation for a short time.   I wish I could understand what they were saying to each other.  

I knew he was glad to have his own space when I watched him spread out to take a nap in the sun.  He stretched out as far as he could from toe to toe.   I was in cleaning the stall and while he was laying down he let me pick out all his feet.  They were loaded with thrush when he came and now they are looking normal and he is getting really good at having his feet handled.  Either laying down or standing up.  

As you can tell from the picture on top, we had some fun today taking pictures.  I need to get a Santa hat to put on him.  I had several and a thorough search will be made tomorrow to see if I can put my hands on them.    He's my little doll baby and loves playing dress up!!!  Getting him ready for a future riding in parades with fun costumes on.  

I wanted to say a special thank you to Jan T and Linda H for their donations to help the horses at EqWBR.   Linda made her donation as a Christmas gift for Lisa and Tony.   What a wonderful gift to give!

If you would like to help out during this Holiday season, donations can be sent to 
PO Box 324, Ramona, CA 92065


The generosity of so many caring people allows us to care for these horses in need.  Thank you all so much!

Christine, Founder

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Angels sending gifts..... How lucky we are!

Look at the beautiful blankets that some wonderful angel (who wants to remain anonymous) shipped to us so we won't get wet or cold in the winter nights and rainy days..  

Dear Blanket Angel, 
Personally I think I look stunning in purple because it accents my beautiful golden blonde hair.  Just look at how perfect it fits me.  And it doesn't make my butt look big either.  This is the prettiest thing I have ever gotten.  Thank you SOOOOO much,  xxxxoooo  Bambi

Dear Blanket Angel,
I think my blue blanket is the bestest thing ever.  I will stay nice and warm at night and won't get so wet when it rains.  I love the color blue and think I look pretty special in it too.   I wish it made my butt look big.  But lots of people are taking really good care of me and my butt will look big pretty soon.  The best part is as I grow, my blanket will get bigger too.  I love my blanket and I love you too blanket angel...  xxxooo Diesel

We also want to thank Nancy Lawler for the wonderful donation of horse halters, lead ropes and a couple other pieces of tack.  We will put these to use right away.  Many of our old ones are pretty worn and some are rusty so now we can throw all those away.  This is awesome.   Thank you very much for this nice donation.     Christine

Everyone's continued support of the horses at EqWBR allows us to provide the care and meet the needs of these horses so we can get them well, train them or provide what they need till new homes can be found so they can thrive and be loved for the rest of their lives.    Your generosity makes this all possible and we Thank You All So Much!

Christine, Connie & Dawn

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bambi - Orphaned foal from Fallon Feedlot

On 10-29-11 we transported three orphaned foals to EqWBR.  Enzo went on to his family after a week of  care and the two we bailed off the feedlot have stayed here.  I wrote about Diesel yesterday and today I wanted to let everyone know about Bambi.   She has strangles like he does, but she is older and in better health upon arrival so she has not been on the brink of death like him.

Here is our pretty girl.
Bambi 10-30-11
One look at her butt and you can see how she got the name Bambi.  To top that off she also has a hair swirl on her right hind leg that is in the shape of  a "B".  So we thought that was more confirmation that we picked a good name for her.

Bambi, Enzo & Diesel first day here 10-29-11
On 10-30-11 a group of volunteers came over to help us put each of the babies in a squeeze/stock (narrow stall), get halters on them and check for injuries, give them de-wormer and see what else they may need.   Bambi was the tallest and I suspect the oldest of the horses and was the leader of the pack, thus the first to walk in the squeeze.  She did awesome and we were able to get a halter on her with no problem.  She is 12. hands high (48 inches at the shoulder) and weighs almost 400 pounds.

Laura, Rebecca & Mike lovin up Bambi in the squeeze.
While the other two showed symptoms of strangles she didn't.  But after a few days here, she started to have an abscess swell on the right side of her neck.  My friend Tammy came over and we shaved both Bambi and Diesel to be able to see both their abscesses and to clean them better without the winter fur.

Tammy volunteered her time to help shave the foals.
A few days later the abscess had grown to the size of a softball and she was having trouble both breathing and eating so we lanced it open and drained the pus.  It took over 45 minutes to express the purulent drainage and there was over a liter that had come out by the time we were done.  We couldn't believe how much came out because it must have been all over inside her neck and skull area because a lot more came out than the size the abscess reflected.   We know it had to be painful before drained.

Her abscess is still draining small amounts and requires cleaning several times throughout the day to help contain the bacteria filled pus, reduce the crusting on her neck and to keep it bug free with an application of a salve called Swat.  

Drain tract on neck abscess a few days after it opened.
The wound has started to heal up and the opening is getting smaller.  She loves the cleaning process as I massage her entire neck, ear and head area.  I just can't imagine what it feels like to have this on the side of her neck.  

Each day she gets some bermuda and alfalfa, Purina Enrich 32 vitamin/mineral/amino acid supplement, pain medication as needed, electrolyte paste and we recently received a donation of colostrum powder from Dani Lloyd (thank you SO much Dani), that is supposed to help boost the immune system.  She also gets brushed and yesterday we worked on her feet.  She let me pick them each up, clean them out and spray them to prevent thrush.   She LOVES the time we spend together and she approaches the pipe panel for attention as soon as someone walks up.

She gets her nose into everything.  When I am mucking the stall she follows me around and wants to sniff everything, when I am working with Diesel, she has to have her nose in there to see what we are doing and when I take a break and sit on the pipe panel, she walks over and puts her head on my shoulder.  She is very affectionate.   She will make someone a very nice horse.

With this kind of start on handling our other very young horses have been VERY easy to train, trust people so they tend to not be spooky, and they truly seem to like hanging with humans.   I hope this is the case for her. She will be available for adoption after her strangles have cleared and her quarantine is done.  So stay tuned and if you are interested in giving this sweet girl a forever home, please contact me.

I got an email this week from one of our donors that she ordered a winter blanket for both Diesel and Bambi and they should arrive around the 14th of Nov.  Just in time for the cold winter nights and winter rains that come.   We can't thank her enough, especially for Diesel who is still skin and bones.

We can't provide any of the care, food and meds these babies need without the generous donations of people who hear their stories and want to help them get a re-start on life.  If you would like to donate and help provide for their needs, you can send a check to Equine WellBeing Rescue Inc. PO Box 324, Ramona, CA  92065 or through PayPal by clicking the button below.  

Thank You So Much!

To reach me send an email to  or call me at 760-703-4860   

Friday, November 11, 2011

Diesel the Orphaned Foal - The first ten days!

Diesel - arrived on 10-29-11
Over the last few months EqWBR has stepped in to help some of the horses on a feedlot in Fallon, NV where horses are collected before being shipped to a meat factory in Canada where they are slaughtered and sold for consumption in countries like France where horse meat is considered a delicacy.

Over the years we have helped a few other feedlot horses:  Lily & Dr. Bill (her 5 day old foal), Stella the thoroughbred,  Gypsy & Smudge (Carter Reservoir Mustangs) and we have donated funds to help get others to safety also.    Recently we have helped in some part to get over 20 off the lot in Fallon and into safe homes, Shala (see her blog article) was came in to us last month.

While most of them were yearlings or close to that age, we finally got an opportunity to help some orphaned foals.  They were separated from the moms upon arrival and then just had to fend for themselves in with a large group of other foals, pregnant mares and mares with foals at their sides.  You have to pay to get these babies off that wretched lot and this sweet guy and a filly that is a few months older each cost EqWBR $125 plus fees.

We also opened our doors to a pregnant mare (pictured on the right of the foals), but she had a fracture in her leg that was so bad the vets recommended humane euthanasia before she even got to our pick-up location.   This was the picture I received the day before we were to pick them up.

Weanling filly, baby colt and pregnant mare 10-28-11

I also received a picture showing that the gray and white colt had a large swollen abscess under his jaw which is typically caused by a virus call 'strangles', a very contagious virus and one of the reasons we always quarantine any new horses that come into the property. The arrow in the picture below shows the large abscess under his chin.

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In addition to picking up these two, we also transported another foal that was coming to the San Diego area.  His owners, Rebecca and he boys, had named their foal Enzo.  Rebecca rode with me to pick the horses up and what we found was that all three of them were sick.  So rather than drop Enzo off at his new home, he came to EqWBR to get his strength back before being separated from his two foal friends.  That separation at his weakened, ill state would no doubt have been very traumatic for him.

By far the worst of the three was Diesel.  He was named that because he was so plugged up that when he took a breath, it would make a deep rumbling sound like a diesel truck.  The name seemed perfect.   But boy was this young baby sick.  He looks to be only 2-3 months old and was much shorter than the others.  Severely underweight, in this picture he is only about 200-225 pounds.   He is one of the few horses I have seen in my life that literally was skin and bones, he had used all his fat reserves just trying to live on that feedlot and the only muscles that you could feel were along his back legs.
48" at the shoulder and under 225 pounds - skin & bones 10-29-11

By the time he arrived at EqWBR his abscess had popped, drained and left a substantial hole in the side of his face.  The picture below shows what it looked like after cleansing it.  Once an abscess pops, if there is a drain tract low to gravity, it is good to flush the abscess out.  I do a three step process.  First flush is with a dilute of betadine scrub and the next two with clean, warm water.  Then we put Swat around the edge of the area to prevent the bugs from getting to it.
Strangles abscess had burst in transit leaving this gaping hole on his jaw
So within 24 hours of his arrival with a small amount of sedative we put a halter on him, cleaned all his wounds and the abscess, brushed him and gave him some pain reliever and fever reducer.  The following day we cleaned and flushed the abscess again, and started him on some supplements to build his strength and immunity back.  Still way to weak at this point to give him anything for the parasites, but soon.  

In the next few days, more abscesses appeared under his jaw (sub-mandibular lymph node area) making it difficult for him to swallow.  We started doing very warm compresses to help relieve some of the pain and started him on an antibiotic called Exceed, which is time-released so we would have to be giving him shots daily, nor trying to get meds down his swollen throat.  Two injections are given 4 days apart.  I realized just how thin he was when I went to give him this medicine in a muscle had couldn't find any.  The only place he had a small amount of muscle was on his back legs, which are so thin that when you look at him from the back, you can see completely between his legs up to the front of his body.   No butt either.
Body Condition Score 1 out of 10, hardly any muscle mass on 10-29-11

With his throat so swollen and drinking less water because of it, by day five he was laying down when I came out in the morning and couldn't get up.  I called the vet because he had gone down hill quickly overnight.   So many things are working against him, probably anemic, high parasite load, on and off again fever, some swollen and some draining abscesses, and no muscle mass to keep him warm at night and it had been colder than expected that night.  We think he was just weak from everything combined.

I was So worried that even with all we were doing to help him recover, we might have to put him down, maybe his organs just couldn't function like they should.  Hospitalization would give him round the clock care but could run into the thousands and that is just not an option at this time.  Dr. Brown was confident I could do what she needed done for him until she got there.

I started flushing his mouth with a large dose syringe that I use for my equine dentistry and then was able to get some to dribble down his throat and he started to swallow.  We got a great product that includes electrolytes, vitamins, minerals and amino acids in a paste for I could put in his mouth.  Added Ranitadine (Prilosec) to prevent ulcers. some more hot compresses and pain meds and good alfalfa and we gave him a dose of de-worming meds (pyrantal pamoate - Strongid) to start riding him of the parasites that are taking the nutrients away from his body. He started to eat and ate for 3 hours straight and stopped to drink at least a gallon of water.  Better, but not out of the woods.

We found a quilted, waterproof XXL dog blanket and put that on him to keep the warmth in and then covered that with a thick fleece blanket.   The following morning (Friday) we started all over again with the flushing, electrolytes and everything else he needed and still all the wound management.  By 6pm, in the pouring rain - it had rained very hard all day, Dr. Dawn Brown of West Coast Equine Medicine arrived to give him IV fluids.  We put in a catheter and gave him 2000 units of Lactated Ringers.  The following day he got 1600 more.  When I went to give him his final dose, he had swelling around the catheter site, so I pulled it and he already had infection in the area.  This poor little guys body is just struggling.

Well the fluids helped and his appetite picked up, we found an old and tattered, but better fitting blanket to keep him warm (some nights down to 36 degrees) and kept all the rest of the good stuff going into him . We were given some colostrum powder to add to his diet that will also help build back his immunity.

After a week of being with us he is still really sick and a little weak and with the swelling in his neck and vestibular area, he is a little wobbly, but he has started to visibly put on a little weight, his appetite is good and he drinks well, so we just keep up the daily routine of cleaning his abscesses, all his supplements and meds and still hot compresses on his neck.
After IV fluids and good food he has started to put on weight
This picture was taken 10 days after his arrival and you can see he is starting to look a little better.  Slowly, painfully slowly he is starting to get better.  Those few days last week when I was worried we might have to put him down were agonizing .

I have made an extra effort in the last few days to take extra time to brush him and clean him up all over.  I don't want him to think that every time he sees me I am going to poke him, give him meds or treat his wounds which seems like all I have been doing over the last 10 days.

He is remarkable.  There are times when I am sitting out in the stall to just give them comfort that he would walk over to me and just rest his head on my shoulder.  I can't imagine what his life was like before he got here, but not good that's for sure.

He is not out of the woods yet, but he is getting closer.  The amount of nursing care he needs has been less this week, his fever is gone, the only abscess left is on his neck at the catheter site and that has started to drain and his appetite and thirst remain good.  I will keep you updated over the next several weeks.

Big thanks go out to all those who generously donated so far to help cover all his medical care which has now in excess $500, the generous donation of the colostrum from Dani Lloyd, and yesterday I got an email that a new blanket for him will be arriving by the 14th from a very dear person who wants to remain anonymous.

More funds are still needed for his ongoing care and food.  So if you would like to contribute it will help make him well, you can send a check to EqWBR, PO Box 324, Ramona, CA  92065  or you can click the donate button.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Shala - Safely Home At Last Amen

Arriving at EqWBR on 9-24-11, after spending several weeks at a feed lot in Fallon, Nevada.  She was injured with an open wound on her right front leg and listed as a 2 year old.  Part of a group of horses whose rescue was being coordinated by Debra Hawk at Stinkin Rose Ranch, no one had shown any interest in helping her.  We bailed her out and arrangements were made for her to come to us with a load already coming this direction.  

She haltered easily and let me lead her with no problem.  Our initial intake exam showed not only the wound to her leg, but a huge bulge on her left cheek that appeared to be food she was packing in that cheek so she could eat.  Additionally both her eyes were infected (cornea ulcers) causing her to be sensitive to movement and a little uncoordinated.  She was underweight, bony, total loss of her topline and muscle tone was weak.  Her coat was dull, dirty and had many spots of alopecia (hair loss).  I also noticed gray hairs on her muzzle and instantly knew she was a mature horse.  We started her recovery plan of treatment right away.  

By examining her teeth, I determined her age to be approximately 12-14 years old.  She was packing food in her left cheek because she had a loose tooth that was rubbing and bruising her cheek every time she chewed.  It was necessary to extract the tooth which took very little time since there was so little attachment to her gum, that it was barely hanging in her mouth.  She has another tooth that has a fracture, but that can remain until she is healthy enough for the removal of that tooth.  

(click on picture to enlarge)

Thorough veterinary examination and blood tests found that she could see out of both eyes, so once the infection is gone, full sight would be probable.  Blood test showed that her parasite level was so high (highest Eosinophil level the vet had ever seen with a horse) that the worms were not being sustained by the food she was eating, but had now started to take stored nutrients from her muscles causing weakness and severe anemia.  We suspect that the itching from the parasite load caused her to rub her face and injure each eye leading to their infection since bi-lateral (both sides) melting corneal ulcers are uncommon.  

Bottom line is Shala is one sick horse.   With the loose tooth gone she immediately started eating better and had the ability to chew her food properly thus getting the most nutrients out of her food.  We added Purina Nature's Essential 32 (Enrich 32) which is a standalone supplement of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and probiotics that works with any grain or hay and will eliminate the anemia and help to rebuild her muscle strength and topline.   

With a parasite level so high, standard deworming protocol can actually be toxic to a horse.  A normal dose of ivermectin would cause so many worms to dye off that the decomposition of the worms would become toxic in her body and a large dye off could actually cause an impaction in her intestines causing her to colic.   

So slow and steady deworming is needed to gently eliminate the parasites in her system.  Half the normal dose, every other week, for several weeks.  Quick disposal of her manure is also essential to keep the worms from spreading to other horses as it dries out and blows away.  

The initial round of antibiotic ointment for her eyes just wasn't enough to reduce the infection and we recently had a few cold, rainy days, that with her weakened health, caused the infection in her eyes to increase.  We have now started a regiment of two types of eye drops, each given four times a day.  The purulent drainage needs to be cleaned regularly too.

While cleaning her eyes, I have removed two large hay stems that have been in her eye lid for some time.  Her right eye is worse than the left and when she has her eye closed and I put a cool cloth over it, her eye is very hot.  She loves the cool cloth and rests her head into it.  

She has been seen twice now by vets, both Christi Garfinkel and Dawn Brown (one of our board members) and they both say her recovery will take many, many weeks.  It could be 4-6 weeks for the infection in her eyes to stop and longer for  the anemia to go away as the parasite load is eliminated.  We are planning on doing a second blood draw in 2-4 weeks to see how her recovery is doing.   

This is an extraordinary mare. 

I know her eyes are painful, yet she lets us doing the cleaning and drops several times a day.  She did nip me once, but that was after needing several injections (sedatives for cleaning her eyes and pain meds) and she was just tired of being poked.  It was much like the horses nipping each other when one is irritating the other - more of a herd reaction than intent to hurt me.  I understand that and felt so sorry that these needed treatments are causing her more pain.  She is stoic and we sense that she knows we are trying to help her and just endures the discomfort of the cleaning and eye drops.  

I strongly suspect she is fully trained.  When I trailered her to see Dr. Brown yesterday, she followed me right into the trailer no fuss, no muss and was content to just hang in the trailer while we waited for her exam.  She unloaded just as easy.  She stands tied, lets me pick up her feet and has a very, very sweet nature.   

I feel sad when she stands at the edge of her quarantine enclosure and looks on at the other horses and I know she is lonely.  But she doesn't pace or whinny or show signs of her loneliness.   In another week, we can open the closure between her and the other horses so they can come visit.  But she will need to remain in her own stall while she continues her treatment.   She is a doll and cuddly as can be.   

Thanks to everyone who has donated to help pay her bail and to help cover her veterinary expenses and medications.  I also got her a soft halter and a fly mask to protect and shade her eyes.  Donations allow us to get her everything she needs to recover her health and are appreciated more than you will know.   We don't mind doing all the work that is needed to care for her if you guys can help us get her everything she needs through your donations.  

Additional donations are needed for her upcoming blood test, supplements and medicine and dewormers that will be needed.  She also needs her feet trimmed, vaccinations and eventually complete dentistry including the removal of the other fractured tooth.   Donations also can help cover the food and care of the rest of the rescued horses here too...  

I will keep everyone updated on Shala and hope to have an adoptive family step forward that wants a beautiful and excellent natured pony mare to be part of their family.   She will need a good, loving home once she has recovered her health....

If you have any questions you can call me at 760-703-4860 or email to 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Update on Feedlot Horses 8-17-11

Today I had the time to stop and visit the first six of the rescued horses that have made their way down to Ramona.  It was just 3 days ago that Jamie and Laura made the trek up to Bishop to pick them up.  After a tire blow out on the way they spent the night with a very gracious Hawk family and on Sunday loaded up these six and made the long drive back to Ramona.   It was hot, over 100 degrees, but the horses did awesome with several stops for shade and water and they arrived late Sunday.  

The horses quickly started to settle in and after the first day were no longer scared to have Laura enter the enclosure and a few even got brave enough to approach her and nibble food out of her hand.  
Today it was apparent that they feel extremely comfortable in their new surroundings.  I saw lots of yawns while I was there.  Several approached me and were sniffing and allowed me to rub their muzzle.  Then as though on cue, they got in a line and all turned to look at us as if to say, "see, we made it!".  

I dropped off some halters so that Laura and Jamie can eventually start halter breaking them and get them used to being handled.  While their feet look relatively good, they will need a trim in the next few weeks and when their quarantine is over they will be able to be moved around some more.  So far no signs of illness from any of them, but they will remain in quarantine for a few weeks to stay on the safe side.

It wasn't but a few hours later I got a text message from Laura with the picture below.  The very friendly dun filly (#8), who is the first to approach everyone at the fence, was already wearing a halter and acting like it was no big deal to have it on.  I was SO excited I called Laura right away to share the joy.  These are the sweetest horses that have been through the worst of times through no fault of their own.  And here this little filly is accepting enough to let Laura put a halter on her and not fuss about it.  I makes my heart smile. 

So many people have come together to save these lives and we are all sharing in the joy of these moments.  Sadly there are still twelve on the feed lot, three mares with foals at their sides, that need to be taken off that lot.  We need people who have room and can take one or more so they won't end up on the truck going to the Canada slaughter plant in a few days.  

If you have room, please contact Debra Hawk at 760-933-8797 or

Donations are still be accepted via PayPal  using email
or they can be mailed to Equine WellBeing Rescue, PO Box 324, Ramona, CA 92065
and donations are still needed to fund the medical care of #24 who's vet bill was $346 for an issue with her eye. 

Let's make it so we can see pictures like these of the remaining horses, rather than worry they have been sent to their death through no fault of their own.....