Thursday, October 30, 2008

A "Boo"tiful Halloween!!

Tomorrow I'm off to the Harvest of Color horse show in Buckeye which runs October 31st -November 2nd!! The trailer is loaded, the preparations done and now all of my savvy will be tested this weekend.

It's the last show of the 2008 season (for me) and the last show for me and my 2008 show partner Abbey - so graciously on loan to me from my good friend Stacy. Abbey is one of those amazing horses that everyone wishes for...patient, kind, forgiving and willing. Thank You Abbey for an outstanding 2008 season; I have learned so much from you!

Last month I talked about finding success for my four year old gelding in the show ring (his first time out) via the big green ball. What an AMAZING tool that has become for me to help my horses overcome fear and build confidance and I have to admit, there is something soothing about bouncing a ball that takes me back to my childhood. I am always happily reminded that my horses are confidant and do look to me for love, language and leadership in equal doses at the show. Thanks to what I've learned from Parelli, I am able to keep the relationship with my horses FIRST and have a great time showing and doing what I love to do...ride!

But on to what I really meant to talk to you about.....
Did you catch my last Post on the abandoned horses? If not, you can read it here. You'll want to read the story of the rescued paint horses before reading on....

As we excited the clinic from the Body Condition & Nutrition talk last night with Josie (the 22 year old rescued paint mare), it was dark and we began to wonder whether she would want to load in the trailer to go home. Since learning so many great things from the Parelli program, I no longer am fearful of how or how long it will take to get something done...I always take the time it takes and it takes less time. The program has given me enormous confidance that I can communicate effectively with any horse and help them to trust me.

I was thinking all of these things and imagining how I would inspire her trust and confidance as we approached the trailer. My friend opened the door to the trailer and turned on the light. Josie pricked up her ears and once she saw the light turn on, she stepped up the pace and jumped into the trailer herself as if to say "I got it from here!"

Despite being thin, lame from thrush and shaggy looking - she is a confidant horse with clear, bright eyes and a willing spirit. Horses like these absolutely amaze me! They have been mistreated, neglected and left alone and still they look to us for leadership and display confidance and a willingness that I personally could not display (were I a horse) in that same situation.

The first time I saw Josie there was something about her that made my heart catch in my throat. Has that ever happened to you? You felt a connection you couldn't explain? Since that time, my mom has worked at some of the local horse show hot spots collecting donations to care for and feed these animals.

How Can YOU Help?

I attended a Body Condition and Nutrition talk last night at The Chaparral Veterinary Medical Center in Cave Creek Arizona with a good friend of mine who lives katty-korner to me. Chaparral has recently moved into their new multi-million dollar facility and the talk was held there. Typically these talks are held at Mike's Hay Barn, but last night we were to see up close and personal the effects the economy is having on horses all over.

My friend Marnie recently rescued three starving and emaciated horses from some folks whose home was being forclosed on who live behind her. She remembers the horses arriving to the neighbor about six months previous - they were in good health and were a good weight and body condition. After peeking over the fence last weekend, she found them nearly starved to death - no food, no water! Marnie is our neighborhood saint; a nurse herself, she loves all animals and can always be counted on to step in when needed.

Chaparral had come out to attend to the animals last week when she brought them home. The rescues were a 22 year old paint mare and a 10 year old paint mare with a 30-day old filly at her side. The prognosis was grim...they would be lucky to survive another 24-hours in the condition they were in. The vet scored the 22 year old mare (who has now been named "Josie") with a Body Condition of 2 and the 10 year old mare (who has been named "Joanie") with a Body Condition of 1.

What's a normal Body Condition score? Try 5-7....depending on the breed.

Marnie graciously loaned Josie to Chaparral for their Nutrition talk and they did a work-up on the mare yesterday. The *NEW* prognosis....12-18 month recovery time to bring her back to good health. This was a mare that 6 months ago was purchased for a child to ride and was in great health.

As we toured the hospital and saw Josie, there were gasps of outrage from the 35 people who had attended the talk. There was an outpouring of offerings.... to help, donate food, to find Josie a home.

Because most horsey people love their animals like family, I think it continues to shock all of us at the treatment these animals are made to suffer: both mental and physical. It's far easier to take these beautiful creatures and turn their world into a nightmare than people think. With the economy in its present state, horses are being abandoned in the desert (here in Arizona) as well as all over the country. ALL horse owners, whether believers of natural horsemanship or not need to come together to become advocates for horses without hope - for those who have been left behind.

Donate to your local shelter, watch in your neighborhood for horses that appear to be thin, suffering from a lack of care, or left behind (in the case of foreclosure or abandonement). Get to know your neighbors! If we all keep in touch it may be possible to prevent situations like these as homes can be found for these loving animals.