September 13, 2008

You're Mine, Now ! Part 4

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No longer hungry, no longer an orphan !
Sept. 11 ... papers signed!

It must have been all of your good wishes sent my way this past Thursday, because the meeting to sign the transfer of ownership papers went very smoothly ... no drama, no theatrics.

I thank all of you so very much! You kept me going.

When I drove up to Shadow's paddock, I saw "the young girl" packing her saddle and assorted things into her car. What a great sight that was! She seemed to be in a hurry ... that was even better!

I had the paper work all ready, my check for $1.00 and pen in hand. We went directly into the tack room and she signed her horse over to me without hesitation. For a moment, she faked a bit of sadness, but with a passing pat for Shadow, she was off and gone.

It has been since then that I have learned more details people had not wanted to tell, such as Shadow being left without food or care while his owner went on her honeymoon. Then there were long periods of time that he was simply abandoned, ... she was busy, I'm told.

But that is now the past. Shadow has a new life ahead of him.

I have no idea what I have purchased for $1.00, but I do know each day is going to be a better day for both of us.

Shadow has put on weight, due to those night time runs, and also thanks to my friends who risked I don't know what to sneak the feed to Shadow during the daytime.

His ribs no longer protrude so badly that I want to cry. It's a happy feeling to walk in the paddock and be greeted by a big nose eager for the bucket in my hand.

And it is wonderful to know he is mine.

The farrier gave him a trim and said his feet were excellent. Shadow was so off balance, I have no idea how he could possibly stand. Now he moves about comfortably.

When my vet heard I had taken on this rescue horse, he immediately made time in his very busy schedule to give Shadow a work over, yesterday.

This vet has been with me through all the ups and downs of owning horses. He said that seeing this horse and knowing he now would have the chance to live out his life in comfort ... made for a wonderful day!

Dr.Secor estimates that Shadow is about 25 years old and based on the severity of his weight loss did not have much time left. The vet was amazed at the weight Shadow has put on, and the beginnings of a shine in his coat.

Shadow is still weak and a bit unsteady at times, but we feel with nutrition, his teeth filed and polished to perfection so he can eat and process his food, plus lots of love ... he is going to be one handsome, healthy boy.

Everyone who has had the pleasure of seeing him is impressed by Shadow's sweet and gentle nature in spite of the long rough road he suffered.

Shadow is like a big puppy dog. I think that sparkle in his eye and his tag along personality is his way of saying ... thank you.

I wish he could somehow know how lucky I feel to have him.


The next project is to give him a new name to match his new life. Any suggestions? He is tall, dark and handsome, does that help?

I need to add a P.S. to the name change idea.
"Shadow" does not know his name, does not respond to it and I believe it came from the "the young girl" who had him only a few years and was rarely there.

Wish I knew what he was called in his previous life.

September 6, 2008

Shadow - Starving Horse Part 3

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So Sweet and So Gentle

Negotiations To Take Ownership
Thursday, September 4

First, I need to explain, as some have asked, Shadow lives at a private residence with horse paddocks at the bottom of the hill which are rented out. Shadow's paddock is right next to a heavily traveled horse trail and next to a private stable and across from a fully operated Equestrian center.

I know ... it's hard to believe that through all the months that he grew thinner and finally to a condition of obvious starvation, nothing was done until my concerned friends called me. I haven't stopped working towards taking ownership of this horse since that fateful day.

Thanks to all of you who wished me luck for "the meeting" this past Thursday. I discovered I needed every ounce of your good vibes.

I hope to never go through anything like it again ... ever! Staying calm and patient at a time when the world is going crazy is exhausting. The only thing that kept my temper in control was one frightfully fragile horse within my eyesight and the goal that I wanted to accomplish... taking ownership.

At the beginning, things went very smoothly, "the young girl" seemed cooperative, we talked about my helping her, she admitted she couldn't afford the horse, and agreed I should take over ownership of the horse. Details were being worked out as to how and when.

Then, from the nearby stable, a head appeared over the wall. A rather hysterical looking middle aged woman called to the girl. "Do you know that people are sneaking over there everyday at the same time and feeding your horse!!!"

This person continued to describe "the people" and their cars. These were my partners in crime !!

"The young girl" who owns Shadow went ballistic. She had made it clear that no one was to feed her horse. That included me. All negotiations came to a screeching halt.

She stated that she noticed Shadow seemed to be putting on weight. I firmly said, yes, I have been feeding Shadow a special diet, otherwise he would die. (She has no concept that he has serious teeth problems and is unable to eat the alfalfa which is sometimes left there for days.)

The woman now took issue with me. Cutting her off, I asked for her name, who she was, what was she doing at the stable, did she have a horse there and what was her purpose. It seems she feeds and cleans there, as well as yelling hysterically over fences and doing surveillance.

Not done with me yet, in an attempt to gain status, she named people in the community that had told her about this underground network of caring for Shadow. She, unfortunately, was naming people who were my friends and had offered to give food and money for the care of Shadow in the event I took him.

At this point, I made it clear that I was done with her. She backed off and disappeared into what I assume were the bushes. (perhaps the dumpster)

I now addressed my attention to "the young girl" who was delivering impressive theatrics. Had it not been for the sake of saving Shadow, I would have walked out of this performance.

Taking a deep breath, I told her not to worry, that I would take care of "everything", (meaning the underground). Finally she calmed down.

It was all about her... all about people feeding her horse. Do you not find that amazing?!

At no time was any thought given to the starving horse standing right beside us !! It was truly beyond me. But I had a mission to accomplish and somebody needed to keep their wits about them. The evening finally ended quietly. She agreed to give me ownership in October.

When I arrived home about 4 1/2 hours later, I spent a few bouts of primal screaming before getting a grip on myself.

Saturday, September 6:

Tonight, I called Shadow's owner and said that considering she was having money problems, and had no time for Shadow ... I thought perhaps she would like for me to take ownership of him this coming week and she could save the cost of the now due September paddock rent.

That did the trick !!

We are to meet next Thursday, sign a bill of sale for $1.00 and ... Shadow will be mine.

Now, where to put him. Remember I had no room in my barn. After much thought I have decided to skip a few baubles and trinkets, and keep him where he is and pay his rent.

He will have a new mom, actually he will finally have ... a mom!

In fact, he will have three new moms. My partners in crime have become very attached to him and my wonderful friends are even helping to pick up some of the bills it will take to get him back in health.

And, oh yes, he will have a very wonderful dad who has supported me through all this trauma and drama, who has driven me in the late night hours to feed and is already fixing every nail and screw that is out of place.

Things are looking up. It will be a very slow process, but already Shadow knows he is loved and he is showing it more and more each day.

I cannot wait until Thursday ...

OK, I'm a little nervous ... we might have another theatrical production, things might change, but this time I really believe things will work out.

As Shadow improves, I will always keep this first photograph and remember.

I think of the wonderful words of Ralph Waldo Emerson ...

You cannot do kindness too soon
For you never know how soon it will be too late.


Stay tuned ... there will be lots more to this story.
Thanks for all your encouragement!

September 3, 2008

Shadow - Starving Horse Part 2

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Sweet, affectionate, pretty
and so hungry.

Update - September 3

First, a huge thanks to Arlene at Grey Horse Matters who posted this story (due to my computer problems) and to Victoria at Teachings of the Horse who emailed me with helpful advice since she knew of some So.Ca contacts. Those are just two terrific friends!

And thank you, thank you to all of you wonderful people who have given me amazing advice and support! It is so very, very encouraging and helpful !! It has given me a Plan B !

At the moment, I'm working on Plan A, which is to meet with the owner, tomorrow, for a nice friendly talk about "what to do about Shadow". I'm so glad she agreed to talk with me, again. I'm approaching her with: "You are not a bad girl, I just want to help you" in the hopes we can reach a good conclusion for Shadow.

My goal is to get her to sign Shadow over to me. She has admitted she cannot afford the horse (lost interest), but doesn't want the "horrible people in the community" to be near her horse. Let's hope tomorrow works out and we don't have to go to plan "B".

At present, he is on a carefully planned rehab feed program, which is delivered by my "drop and run" partners in crime. The only problem is ~~ the horse now welcomes us and could very well give away our clandestine act of mercy.

Now ... for the other problem. I'm hoping to remove the horse from her control, which means I will be inheriting a horse (with no room in my barn) and then what?

Hang in there with me and please keep sending advice ... it's so appreciated!


September 1, 2008

Starving Horse - What Would You Do?

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Sweet, affectionate, pretty
and so hungry.


Not far from my barn is a wonderful horse with a dreadful owner. The girl is young, doesn't know much about horses, doesn't have time, and is not willing for anyone to help her or this wonderful horse.

Yes, he is old, in his twenties, but still has much to give, if only someone would feed him.

I have offered to put him on our well proven feeding program for senior horses, to put him under veterinary care, do the work ... and pay the bills. She has said ... no.

Animal control was called, but were much too kind to her. All she needs is a statement that a vet has been there. She called her friend, a cat-dog vet, to provide the "off the hook" statement.

Shadow is surround by barns filled with well fed, healthy horses. He stands out in the crowd!

All of us in the area that love our horses are not allowed to touch the horse or help the horse.We can only stand by, feel sick, angry and helpless.

This is no way for a sweet, loving horse to end his days, far too soon.

Help! What would you do?