After placing the first 7 babies, we picked up Shimmer (little gray girl) & Cocoa Puff, the chocolate colored baby mustang. The next Monday, along came Cupcake and her mama. Cupcake is a miniature horse and is about 6 months old. She is wild and untouched at this moment, but we will take the time we need to gentle her. :) She, as well as her mama, will be available for adoption, along with Shimmer and Cocoa Puff at a later date.
We placed Phantom in a wonderful home, (son of the Phantom Stallion), and watched him drive away as the tears flowed down. Loved him so, but it is the best thing for him to have a life where he will get all the attention he deserves :)
Tomorrow we take Velma and Cowboy to their new home. They will be staying together which is nice for them.
Big Girl had her x-rays today. She is in tough shape all around :( . She has very little sole between her coffin bone and the ground, and has extensive "ring bone" (arthritis) on both front feet, although more so on one side. She has very little hoof growth so far, but is on some really good supplements so hopefully that will change soon. Her heartbeat is elevated and irregular, and she will never be able to be ridden or worked again. It is painful for her to move, but Doc prescribed some new meds so we will see if that keeps her comfortable.
She needs lots of prayers for healing, but in the meantime we will give her as much time as she needs to get better, and she can spend her remaining time on this earth being a spoiled and much loved gentle giant. We want to give her all the love, time and happiness she deserves, and are hoping that with pain meds she will be comfortable enough to enjoy a few more years. She is the biggest sweetheart there is and so deserves some love and appreciation. (I still can't believe the people think I bought her for a riding horse. arghhhh). But she needed to be saved and that is why God sent her to us.
We got a call about 6 babies today. Getting ready to load up and head out early, when we received another update that the folks changed their minds and are going to try and keep them. You are on a never ending emotional roller coaster ride when you do this. The day we placed Phantom was a day when I questioned if I could keep doing this. It is so very hard to let them go after you have rehabbed them and put so much time into their healing. But if we don't move horse kids to good homes, we won't be able to keep saving more.
But it is hard when you see babies in situations where folks have not had training for critical care and you know the babies need it. It sounds crazy, but I know many of you will understand. The minute you get that message, text or phone call about babies that need help, your heart is invested. It doesn't matter that you haven't laid eyes upon them yet, or touched them or spent time with them. In that instance they become "your babies". That is what makes it possible to keep going through the craziness, the heart break and the non-stop never ending insanity that comes with this type of rescue. God hooks you up emotionally so you have what it takes to do whatever it takes. Then when you get that other call, it is a huge letdown. Especially knowing they need special care, but we can only do what we are allowed to do.
We want to thank everyone for being part of saving all of these lives. It means the whole world to each and every horse that we save, and although we can't save them all, we are grateful for all the lives we do save because of folks like you and your love and support.
As I reached in and pulled out the still warm, beautiful brown eggs, I couldn't help smiling. There is just something so peaceful that makes me feel all warm and happy when I pick up an egg that has just been laid. The girls were cackling and talking away, and knew I would miss their silly little sounds and the way they follow me everywhere when I was "out of commission". The simplest things in life can truly bring the most pleasure, or at least that is what I find. But for a few weeks I would have to skip the sweet smell of hay and the delightful sounds of the horses munching away on their hay, because it was time for another surgery.
Last Monday I went to San Francisco to see the shoulder doc and one week later I am having my shoulder replaced. Funny how a big bone spur that keeps your shoulder out of the socket can make you so uncomfortable. (I have to say that it makes me feel good that there is actually visible proof that I am not just a wuss - haha) I had surgery in November, but was trying to hold off getting a total shoulder replacement, as I want to be ready when the first baby call comes in. Unfortunately, that was not meant to be and 7 days after my appointment, I will be having the surgery. So we are praying that all the babies are safe with their mommies at least for a few weeks. Matt already has stepped up and said that he will take care of any babies that come in, (he would do the physical part that I won't be able to do right away), so that takes a lot of the stress off. Our partner in NV, Shirley Allen, is recovering fabulously from her spinal surgery, so hopefully we will both be ready to go before the first little one comes in.
As I scramble madly to get ready for the surgery, I cannot help thinking about how amazing my life is. In spite of the fact that I have had surgery nearly every year since I was 17 years old, and will always have to live with the chronic pain and physical limitations, my life is truly blessed. Don't get me wrong, I still have my whiny - feel sorry for myself days, but those are really few and far between. As Matt always reminds me when I get down, there are not too many people who get to do what we do. I know there are so many folks out there who would love to take care of the babies, but simply can't due to their jobs etc.
This is one of the reasons that we are open to the public pretty much 365 days a year (unless of course we are gone getting babies) lol. We want to share as many of these babies and as much of the experience with as many folks as we can. Everyone should have the chance to look up close into those big sweet baby eyes. Everyone should have the chance to kiss that teeny tiny little nose and to be able to experience the joy of listening to a baby nursing from the bottle or slurping their milk out of their bucket. When you watch their "firsts", much like watching a child, it warms your heart and always brings a smile. Especially when one has been so sick that they couldn't move their tails. Watching them figure out that they can move it is pretty darn entertaining. Chilly Pepper was hilarious. She would move it on one side and then turn around and look at it like wow - it moved. Even watching Honey Bandit moving his head. He hadn't moved it for so very long that it seemed to surprise him when he could move it. There are so many amazing little things we get to enjoy. Watching Collins rear up and kick their ball that was hanging in the stall. But what was even more fun was watching him stop it from swinging wildly with his nose, and then kick the stuffing out of it. When you walk in to feed and they are calling you and talking to you it just makes your heart so full. At that point most of them are so childlike, as they look at you with all the love and trust in their eyes. As far as they know, you are mom and they feel safe and happy. However, of course we have to actually be mom too. We always need to remember our motto "We don't do brats". Sometimes that is really hard for folks to understand, but if you watch wild horses when the baby is out of line or tries to kick or bite, the consequences are immediate and very serious. There is no way that we could ever correct a baby with the power it's real mom has, but believe me when I say that it can be life threatening later if you don't handle it while they are still such tiny cute little things.
This is one of the issues we have with Phantom Jr. He was taught every wrong answer there is and he is no longer a cute little baby, but is 800 - 900#'s + (?) of solid muscle. The fact that his previous owner needed a stud chain on him is a very good example of the fact that he never received the proper answers. Folks can ruin a horse so very quickly without meaning to, but the consequences can be deadly. Respect is one of the first things we teach our little ones, even when it means "punishing them" even though they are so darn cute.
As Phantom Jr. settles into our rescue, Terri Farley, beloved author and very dear friend will be releasing her latest book. She wrote the Phantom Stallion series after riding on a cattle drive and seeing a white, wild mustang stallion in the mist, and she has now written a book about the plight of the wild horses. Terri is an amazing friend, author and supporter of all the wild horses and the kids who want to save them.
Terri writes : here's the publisher's description of WILD AT HEART: Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save them:
Mustangs have thrived for thousands of generations. But now they are under attack from people who see them as pests. The lucky ones are adopted. Some are sent to long-term holding pens; more and more are sold for slaughter. But courageous young people are trying to stop the round-ups and the senseless killings. They are standing up to the government and big business to save these American icons.
With eye-witness accounts, cutting-edge science, and full-color photographs, Terri Farley and Melissa Farlow invite readers into the world of mustangs in all its beauty, and profile the young people leading the charge to keep horses wild and free.
. Here's a link to Terri's website; http://phantomstallion.com/jan15.shtml
Here's the link to Amazon, and they offer a discount on pre-orders and mail it to arrive on the release date
Link to amazon
So check out this amazing book, and head to Terri's website to learn more about the real Phantom Stallion and to see the video of Phantom Jr. having his tantrum in the horse trailer when we were bringing him home.
Terri's books are a great read, and would make a great Valentine's day present for that young horse lover in your life. I have read her books and they are entertaining even for grown ups. They are very well written and she uses much of the money she makes to help preserve the wild horses and bring about permanent change before they are all rounded up and sent to slaughter.
Take Care and God bless! I hope you enjoy her books as much as we do, and I am proud to say that she has included my son in her book also.