As I lay in bed, listening to the sounds of the babies moving about, I could not stop the tears from falling. In the morning, for the very last time, we would be loading Annie & Lil Bit into the trailer to start their journey to their new home in Lompoc, at Return to Freedom. Slowly, I drifted into an uneasy sleep.
At about 2:00 a.m. I awoke with a vengeance. The sound of thundering hooves radiated all around us. In the front, where the babies were, and in the other two areas where the big guys were, you could hear them flying around. Every once in awhile you would hear them blowing and snorting. "Matt, something is out there". All of a sudden I heard a blood curdling scream. It was clearly an animal in the horrible throes of death. It was out on the highway side of the road and I raced out as fast as my knee would allow (which is not very fast at all). I had grabbed the huge spotlight and I was calling desperately for DaBubbles. I couldn't find him anywhere. All of a sudden the light went out, (of course - lol) and I could hear Matt calling me telling me not to be out there without a weapon. But I couldn't go back, I had to know he was ok. I finally heard him running around, and breathing a big sigh of relief, realized that the kill had been outside of our gate. Most likely the cat had taken down one of the deer that used to hang around. My adrenalin was up and my heart was racing. By then, realizing the danger was no longer, the horses and dogs had all settled down and were quiet, and we knew the danger was over. I kept hearing that scream over and over in my head, and my heart was aching for the little deer that was now dinner.
Matt and I went back to bed for a few minutes and then we decided, let's just load 'em up and head out. We had brought the babies into the inside nursery and they were all over the place. There was no way we would get any sleep, So for the last time ever, I walked Lil Bit and Lil Orphan Annie into the trailer that they had come to know so well. They just hopped in as if to say, where we goin' this time? We got them settled, rechecked everything on the trailer and off we went.
The drive down was uneventful for the most part. The babies traveled beautifully, and thoroughly enjoyed their little breaks and "milk stops". They ride standing up part of the time but like to just lay down and chill much of the time when we travel. We were about an hour from Return to Freedom when we noticed a large semi with a flatbed trailer who was all over the place. He would go from 35 - 65, and would often be completely on the side of the road and other times be about 3 feet into the oncoming traffic lane. Now I am pretty protective when we are pulling our little ones, and I sure didn't want to be in front of him. After 3 separate calls and a great deal of time, most of which we were having mini heart attacks as he came within inches of wiping folks out, including a large fuel tanker, the CHP finally showed up. He flashed on his lights and began to follow the truck. Seems like it took 10 - 15 minutes literally for the guy to finally pull over. We stopped in case they needed a statement, but the officer told us that they had seen enough. Once again, the angels were with all of us on that highway.
We pulled in to Neda's place, and were met by a bunch of beautiful women. However, when we opened the trailer door, the babies who could definitely tell that momma was being weird, decided that they would rather stay in the trailer. So we took a bit of time to let them figure it out. We had added a piece of wood just inside the back door so no little hoofers could get caught, and this was only the 2nd time they had seen it. I think that with that piece of wood, coupled with so many folks waiting to meet them and them knowing that "mommy was different", they had decided why not stay in our cozy little trailer that is like our second home. So we gave them a few minutes to settle in.
After they were unloaded, they went into a beautiful arena. Both of these babies are secure, confident and ready to take on life. They pranced around, showed off a bit and literally just soaked up the love. That night when we came back from dinner, both of them ran up whinnying when they heard "their" truck. It was really nice to be invited to stay there overnight. We got to wake up to some of the most beautiful scenery there is, and I think it was easier for the babies to settle in when we were there for breakfast like normal. I do have to say though, dropping off two babies that have bonded so well is so much less dramatic than dropping off one. These guys have each other and are so secure that this will be an easy transition for them, although not so much for mom.
We spent a good part of the day with Neda as she showed us around and explained what they do. Return to Freedom is an amazing place and a great one to support if y'all need a good tax write-off. Their operating costs are about $6,000 a day, and they have done studies with the PZP that prove you can manage the wild ones with it. As is the case with humans, not all mares respond to the PZP, so that core group of mares is with a stallion that has had a vasectomy. The other mares who respond positively to the treatment are banded up with the stallions. Life at Return to Freedom is very close to "nature" and the horses are living in their family bands. I cannot begin to imagine the kind of responsibility and stress that could come with taking such excellent care of so many horses. As she says, "these horses are yesterday's emergencies". We were talking about how everyone wants to "save" the horses during the emergency, but as soon as it is over, the day to day costs of feeding, veterinary care, hoof care and all the other expenses seem to fall on the rescues. We need folks to support these horses the rest of their lives.
You can sponsor one of their beautiful mustangs, and even if you cannot do a full sponsorship, anything helps. Shirley Allen at Lucky Horse Rescue & Rehab in Dayton, NV also has some babies and big horses that could use a sponsor. Honey Bandit & Donkey are also available for sponsorship at our place. There is no end to the amazing places that need sponsors for the "saved horses". Even $5 to any organization out there can make a huge difference for these animals and allow folks to provide the awesome care they deserve.
So Annie and Lil Bit are happily munching away at their new home. They are surrounded by awesome folks and I heard a little secret that the staff run out on their breaks and visit with them, so we know they are still getting that special treatment they love.
Remember, please visit the websites and help if you can. http://www.whmentors.org/lhp/orphan01.html (Shirley's foal rescue) & Return to Freedom, where Lil Bit & Annie live http://www.returntofreedom.org/about-us/ and of course www.chillypepper.weebly.com to see our latest.
During the year 2014, we had 10 babies here, Precious, Mikey & Ikey, Texas, Janie, Baby Boo McClellan & Luna, Lil Bit & Annie and Running Bucket. Running Bucket is still on a nurse mare, (whom has done pretty much all the work) and has a potential, but not for sure adopter. All of the others have found wonderful homes, with the exception of our beloved Janie, who is now in the arms of the angels. THANK YOU EVERYONE who made these babies' lives possible. Y'all are amazing and so very much appreciated.
Update on Tex from American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign
We're happy to report that Tex, the #Lockwood foal who was rejected by his mother a few months ago, went to visit his family band yesterday and it went really well! It took no time at all before confident Tex was running around their pasture like he owned the place.
Tex will visit his family a few more times throughout month before he will be officially reunited. Fingers crossed for this sweet boy!
Learn more about the Lockwood family and all the horses available for adoption --> http://wildhor.se/1dRE8kK
It has been a crazy spring this year. Not including the three that we placed the beginning of this year, we have had 7 critical orphans so far, and also have had great success in helping place some older horses. Texas is doing well and thriving in his new home back in NV. Running Bucket is thriving with her adopted nurse mama and growing fast and more beautiful than ever. As most of you know, God gave us a very short, but beautiful time with Janie, whom we had to let go due to the severity of her injuries and health issues. My heart still aches for her, and I treasure every beautiful moment we had together. She was one of those beautiful creatures that emulate love and trust and all that is good. While my heart was still in a million pieces, God sent the most amazing angel to help ease the pain.
God sent us a beautiful little foal named Baby Boo McClellan. She is almost identical in appearance to Janie, although her face is a little bit longer and her eyes not quite so large. However, the expression in those doe eyes was the same. After spending most of the day in the blazing sun, frustrated beyond belief while watching the rest of the gang forge ahead, I had a moment of self pity, wondering why my leg is so painful and of such limited use. While everyone else climbed from the bottom to the top and back to the bottom of these amazing mountains, I limped along as best I could, watching the action from a distance. Hmmmmmm, so much for being able to drive right to them. I am so never believing that line again. :) Matt was amazing and did his best to hang back with me and not make me feel quite so useless.
Matt and I then took the shortcut and were picked up by Mikel Ann Hetrick, the lady who is responsible for Baby Boo actually being alive to be saved. She had been following the bands and watching over this beautiful, severely beaten up foal, making sure that we could find her. Baby Boo had been with 3 different bands, desperately trying to find solace and food within. The mares continued to use her for a punching bag until finally, she would move on to a different band. She was using every bit of adrenalin left in that tiny little body to stay alive, and she barely made it back with us. She is now doing very well, although she is still stiff and just beginning to play a bit more every day. Sweet Pea, who was named Luna, is Baby Boo's best friend and they will be going to their new home together. Yes, I am already crying......
Annie and Lil Bit have been hanging out and they are the best of friends. So far, the plan is for both of them to be adopted together and they will be moving to Southern California as far as we know.... Again, crying........
Honey Bandit continues to amaze. He is absolutely gorgeous, the oh so bossy leader of the band, and just a pleasure for all the folks that come to visit to see. He is sleek and one of the happiest horses around. He loves "watching over" all the rest of the crew and seems to really enjoy the "manners" that he feels he must remind everyone they need.
We are excited to share the date of Saturday, August 16, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. to ?????? with anyone who wants to come and help celebrate not only the miracle of Honey Bandit, but of the wonderful folks who are part of this family rescue, and the lives of all the babies you have helped us save, equine as well as others. As usual, we will have good eats and drinks and y'all can bring your families to the cool mountain air and enjoy a day of celebrating. We talked to Honey Bandit and he didn't mind waiting for his birthday party, so we will also be celebrating one tough little mustang growing up.
We are 7 miles past Shingletown on Hwy 44 East. There is a big white sign on the right side of the road in a tree that says "SIDEBOTTOM". Turn right and we will be the 2nd house on the left. You can't miss us and we really hope that y'all come in and say hi and see the improvements we have been making. Brings the kids, grand kids, parents and friends to enjoy the beautiful mountain air and enjoy DaBubbles (our miniature) and Belafonte our (miniature goat). Come see what YOU have helped to make happen. Oh, and by the way, Donkey thinks y'all should bring him some carrots as he is doing so well protecting all the critters. Although the mountain lion has been seen hanging out for a bit out back on the cameras, there has been no hanky panky, so we are loving Donkey. Anyone with any questions can reach us at 530 474 5197. If y'all want to help with these babies and their munchies, hay etc, you can go to Palominodancer@yahoo.com to Paypal or you can go to our website at www.chillypepper.weebly.com or come and visit us here at 34694 Sidebottom Rd, Shingletown, CA 96088
We are looking forward to another fun and fabulous Open House!
The FABULOUS FIVE at Chilly Pepper - Miracle Mustang, becomes the FABULOUS FOUR, after tragedy turns to joy. The Fabulous five consisted of Texas, Annie, Janie, Lil Bit, and Bucket. However, after the hard work of some wonderful folks and my awesome hubby, Bucket is now matched up with a wonderful mare who lost her little one. The folks who suffered the tragedy of losing their beautiful baby turned their heartbreak into joy and gave Bucket the best possible start to life she could have as an orphan - a new horsey mama. This would always be the best possible outcome for one of our orphans. (The photo of Bucket, who is now called Running Bucket by the youngsters that helped her through the process of meeting and hooking up with her new mama - are courtesy of Chyrle.) THANK YOU TO ALL INVOLVED WHO SPENT THE ENDLESS HOURS TO GET THESE TWO SUCCESSFULLY AND SAFELY HOOKED UP! YOU ROCK!!!!
A quick update - Matt and I went and picked up 3 more orphans tonight. We were so blessed that Matt was able to take the one without injuries and help match her up with a mare that lost her foal. PTL it was a success.
The other two are settled in, although definitely in critical condition. Appreciate all your prayers and love for these little ones. Annie is doing well, although a bit miffed, as is Texas, about not being the absolute center of attention.
On Friday, May 2, which just happened to be Matt and my 6th anniversary, we had headed out to take Precious home. The next day I got a call from Shirley, who had gotten the meds that were needed for Texas' scours. So Texas and I drove to Susanville to meet her and get his meds. I have to say PTL!, after 5 weeks of scours, we are actually seeing improvement. Tex is thriving and growing up strong and healthy. We have been going a bit nuts trying different things to get rid of his tum tum bug, but we are happy to say that Doc finally found the magic, or so it seems. The next day we were just getting ready to load up for a very long overdue shopping expedition when the phone rang.
It was our friends Tom and Susan from Whispering Winds in OR. Susan had rescued a beautiful pony named Little Joe from imminent death, and needed to get it to Oregon. The poor thing had foundered and his feet were hideous. He was in quite a bit of pain, and we could not delay his transport to his new home, where he would receive the appropriate care to alleviate his discomfort and get him back on track. They had driven down with the woman who was going to care for him, when of course, their truck broke down. It's almost funny how many tails of sadness and woe there are when you are trying to transport a rescued animal. So we loaded up Tex and jumped in the truck. Once we arrived there, Matt and Tom started working on the truck and we three ladies loaded this beautiful pony "Little Joe" in the back of my trailer, with Texas in the front and headed up past Medford. Now I will tell you that my lead foot seems to disappear when I am hauling my babies, or any other equine. I have to say that I am not normally a person that even has to worry about getting into any issues when driving. If someone is tailgating and needs to get by me in a hurry, I will always let them. (I cannot tell you how many times Matt had to rush me to the emergency room, and you simply never know if someone truly does have an emergency, so we just let them go by. It makes things so much simpler.) However, when I am hauling my babies, it is amazing how fast you can go from calm to not calm. I absolutely hate it when folks tail gate the horse trailer. Maybe they don't realize that if I have to slow down quickly to avoid a deer or whatever else jumps out in my lane, that they are going to drive right through the back of my trailer. They obviously do not know how important our "precious cargo" truly is to us. Anyway, I turn into Grandma driver, pulling over anytime a couple of cars get stacked up behind me. But folks do have to realize, when someone wants to pull over to let you by, there has to be enough space between the back of your horse trailer and the front of their car. You cannot slam on the brakes without sending your critters flying. They are not seat belted in!!! So off we went on our newest adventure. It was a long and slow trip, as I wanted to make sure it was as easy as possible for Little Joe and Texas. We stopped and let them rest and it was a very successful and happy trip, with neither equine being too stressed out, although at that point any travel was hard for Little Joe. Of course Texas is already a champion traveler, and he will just lay down when he is tired. He happily hops right in when we need to go somewhere. :)
We were heading back home around 10 p.m. when I finally got the message for an orphan on my cell phone. (This is why I ask folks to leave messages on both numbers if we get an emergency baby call, as I actually lost a baby due to the folks only calling my cell and it didn't come through in time. Was so very sad and heartbreaking. Am working on getting a better phone next time.) So I jumped on the phone and called Matt, and we headed back towards California. Luckily, it made more sense to go straight to pick up the baby, so Matt met me part way there and he took over driving PTL!! We arrived just before day break to pick up the beautiful "Little Orphan Annie". She is so small, actually tiny, and Barbara was not sure if she had been "stolen" by another mare or rejected. Of course there were a few mares that were kicking at her, and so once again, one of our human "horsey angels" risked life and limb to pull out a tiny one in need. For those of you who have never experienced something like that, it is not only dangerous, but scary. With a large number of horses it is easy to get trampled if one spooks or drives another one towards you. Especially if they do not want to give up the little one, and she was in with a bunch of wild mares. So once again, my hat is off to Barbara who saved this little one's life. You also have to spend an amazing amount of your time to always be watching so you can spot a newborn born in the midst of a large bunch of wild horses right away. She was born the day after we dropped off Precious.
So we loaded her up and headed back home. She is doing very well, and is learning to buck and kick. Her legs are still quite wobbly but she is already showing lots of spunk. Sometimes I think God blesses these little orphans with extra amounts of heart and spunk to help them have the will to live.
We have been lucky with Lil Orphan Annie so far. Not too many extra expenses as so far she seems to be doing very well. PTL!! We appreciate anyone who wants to help get these two little ones on their feet so they can grow up and find their forever homes. We are going through about 45-50 pounds of milk powder between the two of them each week. Both are doing so well, and we are also extremely grateful and appreciative for the prayers that keep these little ones alive. If y'all want to help, you can go to www.chillypepper.weebly.com and use the donation button, or you can go to Paypal and go to Palominodancer@yahoo.com. Our address is Chilly Pepper - Miracle Mustang, at 34694 Sidebottom Rd., Shingletown, CA 96088. We have already had tons of visitors and if anyone else is interested in meeting all the critters and having some R & R, please contact us at 530 474 5197. This is your rescue and we are so grateful for all of you!
God bless and thank you from all the critters at Chilly Pepper - Miracle Mustang!
THANK YOU FROM ALL OF US!
Matt, Palomino & The Gang
We were helping move a young pony that had been miraculously saved
from death to his new home in Oregon (after our friend's truck broke
down), and I saw my "baby call" last night about 10 ish??
I came home as quickly as I could and Matt met me and off we went to
pick her up. We got home around 10:00 ish this morning? Not exactly
She is named Annie,, after our wonderful horsey angel Anne P that made
sure this nursery was warm and dry for the critter kids. She was
amazing and made absolutely sure that this was done right. We
actually call it "Anne's Nursery", and we named this little one after
Anne. However, Matt put his stamp on the name and her full official
name is Lil Orphan Annie.
Please send lots of prayers for Annie and Texas. We are going through
lots of baby supplies so we appreciate any and all help with their
needs. Not quite sure how Annie ended up with no mama, but Barbara
saved her life when she faced of a huge band of mares (some of whom
wanted to kick the little one) and she pulled her out so we could take
care of her. It is scary and a bit dangerous to face of a large
number of mares who do not want you to take the baby, for whatever
reason. I am so grateful that there are so many angels like that out
there who face off irritated horses and save these little ones.
Y'all rock. Please send lots of prayers for Annie and still for Tex.
God bless you guys and thank you once again for all that you do!
Here is an update on our newest little one. We picked up Texas on Saturday. He was 2 days old and had been rejected by his momma. The other mares were also going after him.
As always, we never know for sure why the little ones are rejected, and in this case we are so very lucky the caretakers were paying close attention. He is struggling a bit, and has kind of been all over the map. However, he is eating like a champ and although he is still exhausted, he will spend about 2 minutes playing a couple of times a day. Most of the time he is sleeping, but it is wonderful that he can get his heart pumping and the oxygen flowing well at least a couple of times a day. He has full blown scours but we are treating that and his eyes are bright and he has the spirit of the mustang shining in those bright eyes.
As usual, we have been given "another miracle", here at Chilly Pepper - Miracle Mustang. He is far from out of the woods yet, but has passed the first major hurdle, the 72 hour mark, and we are taking it like we always do, a minute, an hour at a time. Please send prayers for him. He certainly needs lots of them. He has had some breathing issues and thanks to the folks at Vibra VM, we seem to be making some progress in that area also.
As usual, it takes a village to save an orphan foal, and we are so very blessed and grateful to have the love an support from such awesome folks.
Will keep y'all updated.
We are heading out in about half an hour to pick up a 2 day old little one. His mama rejected him and some of the other mares were going after him. As usual, one of our amazing horsey angels was paying attention and pulled him to safety. She has been giving him amazing and loving care since yesterday and we are going to bring him home today.
He appears bright, "feisty" was the description I got :), and seems to be doing very well. Unfortunately there is always a chance that there was a reason that is not apparent to us for the band rejecting him. So that is always a concern and we will watch him closely. But I am very happy hearing how hungry he is and how much of a little personality he is already showing.
So appreciate prayers for a safe journey. As always, we appreciate all the love and support that y'all always show for these little ones. Pix to follow later!
Hope you all have a fabulous day.
Hugs and God Bless!