Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mystery History

Faith's history has always been a mystery to us. When we found her, she was a lost soul who was in desperate need of many things; medical attention, feed, compassion, love. But she wasn't always this way. She was someone in the past, and now we're going to try to find out who she was.

As a recap of everything on this blog, here is what we know about her:

=> The name she came with was "Capri".

=> 16.3 hand mare, solid bay with no white markings, and a noticeably clubbed left front foot.

=> We were told she was a Trakehner. The American Trakehner Association will do a DNA test for her, however they cannot search the entire registry. We would need to know either Faith's name or a sire or dam's name,and then they would be able to confirm it for us.

=> She definitely had a foal, but more than likely two or three.

=> She was owned by Doug Daniels in Loudon, NH from roughly October 2009 through February 2009. She was purchased as a gaming horse for his daughter to compete.

=> Prior to that we believe she was owned by Roger Eastman, also of Loudon. From that point backwards, we know nothing about her history. Neither Roger nor Doug are willing to release any information on her.

=> From what we have learned about her by a combination of watching her under saddle and her obvious physical issues, it is clear as day that someone spent a lot of time training and, more than likely, competing her.

This mare was seen by a lot of people at one point in her life, and now it's up to us to find one of them! In an effort to spread the word, we have created a page for Faith. Please pass this link along to every horse person you know - someone out there knows this mare and where she came from! Help us find out who she was!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Linus: Fat Vs. Happy?

I am halfway through our most busy season of the year, and I'm shockingly still smiling...for now! July and August here at the farm are just crazy, but everything is going fairly smoothly. :-)

Faith and Linus are doing great! We are still waiting to hear from our vet regarding a plan of action for her knee lameness. I will let everyone know once I do!

Linus's surgery site is healing quite well. He is, however, starting to lose a bit of weight. He had been gaining quite easily and had put on about 65 pounds, but has appeared to have hit a slump. The only difference lately is that he has been receiving a lot more turnout time with Faith in order to keep him happy. The extra exercise is having a negative effect on his weight gain. As many of you know, he is a weaver, so the more turnout he gets the happier he is. Grouchy horses are a pain in the butt, and since Faith has enough attitude for our entire crew, we figured Linus would benefit from the fresh air! Now we need to find some way to balance it out a bit so we can fatten him up.

He is currently receiving about 8 quarts of grain twice per day, a combination of senior feed and a high protein and high carb, easily digestible pellet. They also have free choice hay, and each consume about 4-5 flakes a day.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Exciting news: I will have a link ready for everyone by tomorrow (hopefully!) and it will help us find out more about Faith's past. More to come!

Faith and I, May 2009


Monday, July 20, 2009

Back from the Show!

We just got back from the American Saddlebred Association of Maine Horse Show and had a great weekend! More information to be posted soon, but for now, enjoy a video of one of the highlights of our weekend!

Congrats to Nicole and "SB Cookies N Cream"!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

eBay Auctions!

We recently put on a LOT of auctions on eBay to help us raise money for Faith and Linus's ongoing care. Take a moment to check out our auctions and if you see something you like, put a bid on it!
To everyone who reads this blog, thank you for your continued support! We have had over 52,000 hits on this site since February!

Thanks always,
Julie, Faith and Linus!

Anyone Looking for a Pony?

I figured our readers could help us out on this one...

A week before Christmas in 2007, I stopped by an auction to look at some saddles and tack for sale. I, like every other horse lover, just had to walk through the horse barns to see what would be going through the sale. There were draft horses, donkeys, a few ranch horses there. Nothing caught my eye, and I headed back down the aisle towards the auction ring.

Just before turning into the arena, I peered into a dark, shadowed stall to see two eyes looking back at me intently. In the back corner of the narrow pony stall was a little black figure who was obviously confused and downright scared. I stood there for a few minutes in an attempt to get him to come towards me. He stood rigid in the darkness and as I moved my hand towards him, he began trembling with fear. It broke my heart, but from what I could see, he was cute and I figured he would go to a good home.

A half an hour later the pony hit the sale floor. He entered the arena and stopped, his eyes bulging out of his petite forehead. A sharp tug on his lead rope by a six-foot-tall, rough-looking farmer, and the pony cautiously tried to match his big stride.

Conformationally, he was built nicely. He had a short back, straight legs and a beautiful, chiseled head. The teeny-tiny ears that were perched on top of his head were barely visible through his fluffy forelock. His was overweight and obviously hadn't missed many meals lately. He had a lofty little gait to him and appeared sound. He was also just adorable. He was solid black, about 12 hands tall, and had the fluffiest mane and tail that I had ever seen.

The auctioneer started the bidding at $1,000. No hands went up. He called out $750. Nothing. $500? No one even flinched. The price continued to drop. Finally at $100, one hand rose from the back of the room. I glanced over and my heart sank. The kill buyer.

I waited for someone to contest him, but no one moved. The silence was eerie, the only thing overriding it was the increasing heartbeat that was racing in my chest. I looked left and right, but no one had any interest in him. Right before the gavel hit, I raised my hand. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the kill buyer turn his head towards me. I can only assume he was surprised and angry, but I kept my focus straight ahead. He quickly bid against me and we played this back and forth game until I was up over the "price-per-pound". I signed a little yellow slip and the little black Christmas pony was all mine.

I have never purchased a horse from an auction before. Since I wasn't planning on coming home with anything with fur on it, the pony had to wait for me to come back the next day.

A farm worker met me in front of the barn with him. As I took his lead and we headed towards the trailer, I noticed that he kept his eyes glued to me the entire time. Waiting for the ramp on the trailer to go down, I reached out to touch his face and he quickly shied away from me. I walked onto the trailer and he followed willingly, and back to New Hampshire we went.

On the way home, a few of my students and I discussed name choices for him. Keeping with the fact that all of our animals here have human names, he would be "Teddy Bear," or "Teddy" for short. Seeing that I have no use for a pony, my plan was to try him out and eventually place him in a good home.

Teddy arrived home and was put into a stall. He quickly lunged for the hay and began a process of munching away on his hay and stretching up to look out the window in his stall. A few hours later, as I was closing the barn up for the night, I took a step inside his stall to check on his water. It was then that I realized what his "issue" was. He was petrified of people.

The second he heard the latch on his door move, his head jolted up and his eyes bulged. As the door began to slide open, he spun towards the back of his stall. It was when I slowly stepped one foot inside that I had hit the button: he tried crawling up and out of the back of his stall.

I stood motionless and calmly said, "whoa, little fella," a few times. After a minute or two, he eventually looked at me and stopped trying to find a way out. His eyes were wide, his nostrils flared, and he was beginning to sweat. Knowing that I had a long process in front of me, I bent down and leaned up against the side of his stall, trying to find a somewhat comfortable position while still being able to move in an instant. He looked at me and snorted. I responded to him the same way.

About five minutes later, he took one step towards me, his head pointed straight at mine, ears forward, nostrils flared. Another minute brought another step. And another. And another. He sniffed at my leg, his weight shifted back on his haunches prepared to turn and run. As I opened my mouth to say, "easy buddy," I learned how quickly the little guy could move. He backed up as fast as he could, slamming his butt into the wall, then spun to face it. I remained where I was and kept talking to him. He turned back towards me, still curious. This time the steps he took were closer together.

A half an hour passed. My legs were starting to cramp and I needed to move. He had sniffed my entire body again and seemed OK with me. But every time I did something even as small and scratch my , he would flinch and immediately go backwards. Eventually, I slowly stood up and he did not panic. He stood there like a statue, trembling the entire time, but his flight response had waned.

The next morning I fed him his breakfast first, then continued with the rest of the animals. I came back to him, and he was obviously more comfortable with me. I stepped inside his stall and he did not try to flee. However, he did stand like a statue, his eyes glued to me. I let him walk up to me, and then I slowly started touching his head and his neck. His shoulder was too much for him, and he backed away. Eventually he came back up to me, and we repeated the practice. Ten minutes later, it was time for me to leave and let him finish his breakfast.

That afternoon Dr. George was coming out to evaluate him and update his vaccinations, so back into his stall I went for another session. Teddy and I worked on his personal space issue some more. This time my concern was getting him to allow me to run my hands over his back and hindquarters. He would just tremble when I touched his back, hips, hind legs. He never offered to kick, just stood totally still, his skin moving as fast as his heart. He flinched and shook, but eventually he realized that he was safe I wasn't going to hurt him. I put his halter on his head, and turned him out in one of the small paddocks until the vet showed up.

A few hours later I received a phone call saying that vet was on his way and would be at the farm in about 30 minutes. Surprisingly, Teddy was rather easy to catch. I stood at the gate and he eventually walked up to me. When I put my hand out to touch him, he shied away but didn't really move. He brought his dainty little nose back towards me and I attached the lead to his halter.

Dr. George pulled in the driveway a little while later. He remarked at how fat Teddy was and how he needed to lose about 100 pounds. (Keep in mind that this pony is only 12 hands tall...) We checked his teeth and determined that at that time, he was about 14 years old. Dr. George checked him all over, found nothing wrong with him and then floated his teeth, gave him his vaccinations and drew blood to update his Coggins.

A week later our farrier showed up and spent about an hour working with Teddy to trim his hooves. Although he had no trust in our farrier, he was well behaved and never offered to flee or be naughty.

Throughout it all, I worked with Teddy on quite a few different topics, but was shocked to learn that he was very well schooled on the ground. He crosstied, led nicely, and had great patience. He was a willing, albeit cautious, student. He became used to being handled and touched, no longer shuddering when someone walked into his stall or ran their hands over him.

Finally it was time to see if he was trained under saddle. The short version is that no, he was not. We saddled and bridled him in the barn and brought him to the arena. He was perfect with his bridle and never fussed with it. However, he kept looking back at the saddle with suspicious eyes. I lunged him for a few minutes both ways and he seemed comfortable. I then ground drove him and was pleased that he knew the cues to stop and turn. It was clear that back in his day he was a driving pony.

The next few days we repeated this process until I was certain of Teddy's comfort level. Shortly thereafter, one of my students hopped on him with me at his side. Although this pony was extremely well-behaved and did nothing wrong, it was quite obvious that he had never been ridden before. He became used to carrying weight on his back and learned how to balance himself underneath her. We practiced stopping, walking and turning until she was ready to take him off of the lunge line. He listened to his rider intently and did a perfect job. She eventually clicked to him and asked for a trot, and the little bugger listened to her! His trot was that of a typical pony, short strided and bouncy. He looked great doing it and seemed happy to have a job!

Over the next few months, my more advanced students rode him in the arena and finally in small lesson groups to get him used to traffic. Teddy was a total trooper and became so solid under saddle, that I started teaching my younger children on him. He quickly became the barn favorite and learned to love - not fear - all of the attention he was getting.

Teddy accompanied us on many trail rides, trips to the ocean and even went on a week-long camping trip with us in the White Mountains of New Hampshire! He has always been sweet, reliable, and just downright adorable. His trust in humans has long been reestablished and he has never faltered.

Teddy is ready to move on...

With Faith and Linus's expensive and ever-ongoing medical bills, we need to cut back and Teddy needs a job. Although letting him go is not something we had originally planned on, I feel that his training and personality will be an excellent match for a family-type situation.

We are looking to either lease him on- or off-farm, or possibly sell him to an absolutely perfect, loving home.

If you know anyone who might be interested in him, please have them email me at and I will get back to them with more information.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Medical Update

Dr. George came out to check on our two rescues!

First up was Linus... The first comment out of Dr. George's mouth was that he was very impressed with how much better Linus looks all around! He was glad to see the weight he has put on and mentioned that he appears happy and content.

Dr. George checked on his surgical site and Linus was a very good boy about being handled. The sutures look good. Two of them broke, but didn't concern Dr. George. Just to check, we took a picture of it and emailed it to Dr. Myhre. He called back within twenty minutes and said that the lack of sutures in that particular area is fine because the granulated tissue is forming nicely. Overall, everything looks great!

If anyone is interested in seeing the photo we sent to Dr. Myhre of the surgical site, please feel free to email me!

Next was Faith... She has been having soreness in her right front knee and Dr. Barnes wanted a closer look to determine what the best course of treatment would be. Dr. George took five radiographs of her right knee and three of her left for comparison.

Dr. George taking one of the five radiographs of her knee. Doesn't Faith look just thrilled with this process? And sorry, Dr. G., for the butt shot!

Dr. George reviewing the radiographs in the barn aisle.

A CD of the radiographs was given to me and I have since passed them on to Dr. Barnes. I should have an answer from him when he gets into the office tomorrow!

And for all of you who have an interest in becoming a vet, (or are one!) let me know what you see wrong with these radiographs! If you want a full-size picture, shoot me an email!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer is Finally Here!

Faith, July 7th, 2009

Our summer camp program began yesterday, so I have been up to my ears in paperwork, lessons and organizing activities for the kids. The days are long, the work is tiresome, but I love every minute of it! And now I finally have a chance to sit down and give everyone updates on how Faith and Linus are doing.

Faith has been doing very well. We cut back her grain slightly again and thus far she has maintained her weight nicely. Lately she has had more frequent sore days with her knee. The mornings seem fine, but occasionally she looks off at night. On those days she gets a gram of bute in her grain at dinner. (The apple-flavored bute works great for her!) Other than that, things with her have been uneventful... knock on wood!

Linus is doing amazing! He is healing well and seems quite comfortable and content. And now I don't feel awkward showing him to visitors! Below is an updated picture of him, shortly after receiving a bath. He has gained weight (the weight tape says 65 pounds!) and lost something else... Hahaha! What a handsome boy he is, huh?!

Faith and Linus have both been very helpful with our summer campers and have been an integral part of our team. The campers seem to have taken to them very well; the horses enjoy all of the extra brushing, cookies and attention.

During their stay here, we try to introduce our campers to as many different aspects of horses as possible. One of the topics I have found more difficult to make fun and exciting is the "Health and Nutrition" discussion. However, after learning about what Faith and Linus went through, the kids seem much more interested in learning about colic, thrush, lamenesses, leg wrapping, etc. The questions they are asking are thought-provoking and their interest in it is impressive. As I have always said, educating the public about animal abuse and neglect is the second most important job that Faith and Linus hold. The first is getting better. :-)

The sun came out in the afternoon and myself and the campers had a chance to give Linus a bath. He still had some sweat marks on him from the anesthesia he received at the hospital, so it was good to finally get him cleaned up and looking handsome again!

Linus enjoying a full body wash and the sunshine!

Lucy scrubbing Linus's tail clean.

Linus and his girls!

My favorite part of the week so far happened yesterday morning. A 6-year-old girl walked up to Faith, hands outstretched, with a big smile on her face. The old mare dropped her nose into the girl's hands, her forehead resting against the girl's body. The little girl then whispered into her ear, "You don't need to worry. I won't hurt you." It was an absolutely perfect moment and nearly brought tears to my eyes.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Linus is Back Home!

Our boy is back home! I went up with two of my students today to pick up Linus from the hospital. I spoke to Dr. Myhre and he said that Linus is doing really well and has been an excellent patient. The swelling was minimal and he is urinating normally. Dr. Myhre answered all of my questions and gave me directions for his recovery period. Linus was sent home with his notes and pictures that his staff took.

The letter reads as follows:

"Linus was presented to Myhre Equine Clinic on June 20, 2009 for penile amputation surgery. History included paraphimosis of the penis will associated swelling and abrasions. Preoperative blood work was within normal limits. Linus was started on a regimen of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. He will go home on these same medications. Linus was put under general anesthesia for the procedure. A urinary catheter was placed, the distal end of the penis was removed, and the incision was sutured with 3-0 vicryl. Linus recovered well from the anesthesia and urinated through the catheter immediately following surgery. He continued to urinated through the catheter. The urinary catheter was kept in place for two days. On July 2nd, the catheter was removed, there was minimal swelling at the surgery site and the penis was retracted normally into the sheath. Linus is currently receiving 11 tablets of SMZs orally twice daily and 1 gram bute twice daily. He has been a wonderful patient and very good to work with.


Medications: SMZ - 11 tablets orally twice daily for two weeks; Bute - 1 gram orally twice daily for one week.

Recheck: Please have Linus examined by Dr. George within one week to ensure that surgical site is healing properly.

Further Care and Monitoring: Please continue to monitor Linus for any increased swelling, discharge or difficulty urinating. If any problems occur, please call Dr. George or MEC immediately.

Thank you for bringing Linus to Myhre Equine Clinic. Do not hesitate to call with any questions or concerns.

Grant Myhre, DVM"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Before surgery....

and after...


Since surgery took longer than planned, Linus's total bill was larger than we expected. The grand total was $2707.60, but Dr. Myhre was very generous and took off $500.00 as a donation towards our cause. He told me that he thought what we were doing for Linus was valiant and that, "it is nice to see someone willing to clean up someone else's mess for the sake of the health of an animal". Thank you Dr. Myhre for the compliment and helping us out!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Update on Linus

Linus relaxing at the farm before he left for the hospital, June 29th, 2009.

I spoke with the technicians at the clinic today and they told me that Linus is doing very well! His appetite is back to normal and he seems comfortable. He is on antibiotics and pain relievers, and will be for the next 10 days.

I never thought I'd be so excited to to say this, but... Linus peed this morning! That means that there are no blockages and everything works like normal. He had a catheter stitched into place and the entire area bandaged, so it is staying clean while it heals.

The plan is to keep him under supervision at the clinic for the next few days. His catheter will be removed Friday morning, and if all looks good, I will bring him home Friday afternoon.

I will keep everyone updated as I hear news about him!