Monday, December 29, 2008

Before and After

I found a riding program about five years ago in Ridgefield, Washington. It was a very inexpensive way to get back into horses after taking a LONG hiatus. Helen, the woman in charge, had five horses available to ride according to your experience. I rode this wonderful sorrel mare, Honey. Honey was amazing...loved her to pieces..still have pictures of us all over my fridge. She also had a old retired roping horse named "Blue," that you could put anyone on. He always took care of his rider. He was a little arthritic, but he still was eager out on the trails. There was also a horse named "Tucker" that was Helen's first horse. He loved to run, even though he was in his 20s...he had a lot of get up and go. Helen met a guy and decided to get married and move to Idaho. She placed Tucker and Blue with a rescue facility somewhere in Oregon. This summer she went to visit them and was horrified by their condition and weight. She hatched a plan to get them back to Idaho, worried that Blue wouldn't survive trip. It has been about three months since she got them home and today she sent me photos of the "before" and "after." It is so nice to see them again and see that they are fat and furry. They are such good boys and played such a huge role in renewing and rekindling my love for horses. I think by looking at theses photos, it is a good reminder that you never can be too sure of the people you sell or give your horses too.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Making the news..

It took me a week longer than planned to get back to Portland, Oregon due to the weather. Flight cancellations and then the back log of travellers prevented me from getting back. I arrived today and heard that our barn made the news. They were snowbound and battled power outages and lack of hands to help with the battered fences and frozen buckets. I appreciate my boarding place more than ever. They turned the horses out every day to play in the arena and worked round the clock to keep them fed and happy. Thanks Templetons! Story Link.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Right Place, Right Time

I decided to drive a different way home today, not really sure why. As traffic slowed in front of me, I really began to wonder why I chose this route. Then, a whirl of brown flashed by my window...and then another. Three little ponies and two horses had escaped their confines and were running alongside the ditch, dangerously close to the highway. I pulled over and so did another lady. We both ran and waved them back to the ditch, anything to keep them from the road. It was cold, but as we stood there guarding the "herd" more people stopped to help. A couple of the women starting asking, "Do you have horses?" We all nodded, each knowing that was the reason we all reacted the way we did. The love of the animal and the hope that if these were our horses, anyone else would gladly do the same. We had about eight people now and the horses had settled and were grazing contently when we saw a truck and trailer coming our way. It was the owner. He was pretty upset and we all helped him get the grain buckets and everyone grabbed halters and lead lines. Regardless of what we had on our feet, we began trudging through the snow in hopes the horses would relax and come to us. The ponies were easy. They heard that grain and came running. We had them loaded in a few minutes. The horses, took off and two guys drove down a side street to block them and eventually the horses succumbed to their stomachs and went for the grain. We all gave each other high fives and headed to our cars. Smiling and feeling like super heroes that just saved the day. Each knowing in our hearts, we would always perform super human feats to save the animals we love.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sad news...Parkland Stable Fire

I was working tonight at my ABC station in Portland and saw this come down from Seattle.

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. -- Fifteen horses have died in a fire that broke out at a stable near Parkland on Thursday night.

Officials said a 2-alarm fire broke out at Eckstein Stables, LLC in the 13100 block of Bingham Avenue East just before 7 p.m., causing a part of the structure to collapse.

No one was injured aside from the killed horses which were being boarded there.

The owner of the stable said as soon as a heat detector sounded the alarm at 6:56 p.m., fire crews rushed to the scene. The nearest station was just a mile down the road, but by the time they arrived all 15 horses had died.

"This is really hard. This is really hard and I've got a lot of people I've got to explain this to," stable owner Tom Eckstein said.

"Horrible, it's horrible. I can't believe it. It's got to be a horrible way to go," said Jessica Seal.

One by one, owners of the horses rushed over to the barn where they had boarded their horses.

Missy Ashbrook lost her horse, Uno.

"He was such a big part of our lives. I just can't process right now that he's gone," she said.

Kristal Derochey lost two of her beloved animals.

"My horses just died. The whole barn went up in flames and nobody made it out," she said.

The stable was packed to the rafters with hay. Even the tiniest spark could have set the whole building ablaze.

Firefighters said they may never know the exact case of the fire, and the news is unsettling for the grief-stricken horse owners. For them, losing their horse is not unlike losing a family member.

"We built our whole life around our horse," Ashbrook said.

Here is a link to the story. If you want to watch a video story, here is a link. It was hard to watch that one.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Jerri!

My good friend Jerri over at Learning Horses had a birthday on Friday. We celebrated with a barn dance down at her place in Junction City. She is the lovely lady in the middle. I give Jerri all the credit (and blame:-) for getting me back into the horse world. I stepped away after college, throwing myself into work and moving around the country. About 6 years ago, I realized there was something missing...horses! Knowing I couldn't afford one, I looked for opportunities on Craigslist to ride and I found Jerri. She introduced me to her Paso Finos and re-ignited my passion for riding. She has been a great resource and friend for me. She is considering a move to London. Of course I will be sad to have her leave, but excited for her next adventure. Cheers will always have a special place in my heart for taking me in and offering me the opportunity to ride your beautiful horses.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Branding at the Rockin Maddy Ranch

Maddy has a freeze brand on her left front shoulder. It is a small, white heart. I think it is cute and gives her character. It reminds me of where she came from and when I see the "Hart" brand, I know the horses are members of Maddy's family. Today, Laura, the woman I bought her from, sent me some photos of the freeze brand process. They usually use liquid nitrogen, but this time they used dry ice and had lots of success. A freeze brand kills the pigment in the cells and the hair grows back white. I guess all you do is shave the area, spray with alcohol, and hold the brand on there for 40 seconds. They did 27 horses on this day. I don't know what kind of sensation this has on the horse's skin. I would imagine it burns a little bit.