Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Race Against Tide For Horse and Owner.!

Race against the tide: Bravery of young mother who stayed by her horse's side for THREE HOURS after getting trapped in mud 'like quicksand.

This was the terrifying moment a brave young mother battled to keep her beloved horse calm as sea water closed in on the animal after he became trapped in mud 'like quicksand'. Exhausted and mud-splattered, Nicole Graham clung to her trapped horse Astro for three hours keeping his head high in a race against the tide. The 78-stone show horse had sunk into quagmire-like mud and was facing the prospect of drowning as the water rose around them. Miss Graham had been out on an afternoon ride with her daughter along the coast near Geelong, south of Melbourne, when 18-year-old Astro suddenly sunk into the mud. Before she could shout a warning, the smaller horse her daughter Paris was riding was also partially swallowed up by the mud. After dragging herself through the mire, Miss Graham helped her daughter and the other horse on to firmer ground. However, Astro was stuck fast and her efforts to pull him free only resulted in herself sinking deeper into the quagmire. As Paris ran to their car and phoned for help, Miss Graham stayed at her horse’s side. She courageously clung on to his neck, terrified that he would not be freed before the tide came in. After three 'terrifying' hours, rescuers managed to pull Astro and Miss Graham from the mud.

A happy ending.

For me, this story was emotional because I think back and realize it could have been me and my horse, Misty Little Man, a sweet brown paper bag plain Quarter Horse gelding that I loved dearly. There is a place along the Gulf Coast in FL about 40 miles north of Clearwater near where I lived for 15 years. It was about 1980, a hurricane was just wind back then. They rarely came on shore or did much damage. It was Day 3 that this unnamed hurricane brought us wind and light rain. It is so humid in Florida that it was welcomed to us. We were outside all we could be. The misty rain felt cool on our skin, it was a welcomed relief from the usual subtropical heat. The streets were empty. People listened to the television and radio. They heard warnings, 'Do Not Go Out Side, You May Blow Away'. Much like the weather now. It is about drama and fear, it sells commercial spots for the media. It makes people glued to the TV.

While most Floridians were busy boarding up their windows and huddled in their homes, some of us horse people took advantage of the wind and rain. We saddled up our horses and road toward the beach, it was only a few miles away. It wasn't a public beach with a shoreline dotted with towels and umbrellas, it was wooded and it was still untouched nature. We were lucky to be there at that time on earth. There were deer, raccoon and black bears living there. They were our neighbors that we shared our space with, respecting each other. I had hiked through that area many times. It was mostly sand but there were areas that had mud that seemed like it would suck you up. I never knew much about 'quicksand' except what I saw in the old black and white movies back in the 1950's. It left an image in my mind that it could swallow up anything that stepped into it. Anyone trying to squirm out, went deeper in and was lost forever. A horrible death! As we got closer, I could hear the waves coming in. Like many horse lovers, I dreamed of trotting along with the tide rolling in and out of my horses feet. I was getting closer to my dream coming true but my gut kept telling me not to go. This may be my only chance to ride along that shore. I could imagine being in tune with my horse, his mane flowing, my hair blowing as we rode along listening to the peace and quiet of nature. They rhythm of the tide was calling to me but my gut was telling me, 'Beware'. The image of my horse being stuck in quicksand that was lingering wy back in my memory was coming boldly into my head. I could not go and take that chance. It was a struggle with myself, my conscience of not hurting my horse, my desire to ride along the beach. I let my gut feeling win out. Now I am really glad I did. I know that could have been me in that story. I could have been holding on to Misty for his life and mine too. I wouldn't leave him at that shore just like the dear woman in the Australian story couldn't leave her beloved horse, Astro.

My gut feeling is still how I make decisions for the horses in my care at the rescue (

Funny how some things stay the same.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rifle was trimmed for the second time and is walking much better. He was happily licking his new 50 pound salt block. He is improving every day.

My life's philosophy is 'Do Good, and it will come back to you.
I know it works, I see it every day. It is how the horse rescue is run. We can be down to out last dollar and a horse needs a vet. Someone comes and hands me a check and says, I meant to give this to you a few weeks ago. It is not luck, it is not a coincidence, it is good deeds coming back. Doing good is contagious.

It started out negative. Someone called the Georgia Deportment of Agriculture (GDA) to report a horse in bad condition. The GDA Inspector goes out, talks to Gertrude aka June, and finds out the horse, Rifle, was given to her by someone who couldn't use Rifle for profit since he became lame. Now we know June has a big heart. Rifle wasn't any use for someone who want to ride. June just wants him to feel good and be loved. Rather than confiscating the horse, the GDA Inspector calls and asks SaveTheHorses if we can help. Of course, we said 'yes'. The next morning, my sister and I went out to assess the situation for ourselves. June has 8 pigs, 6 dogs and a few cats and chickens. Every animal is well fed and neutered or spayed. June has lived there since 1981. She told me when her husband was alive, this place looked so good. She was embarrassed by the debris and makeshift repairs she could manage for the animals. June is in her late 70's, just had heart surgery and had been widowed for several years.

Barefoot farrier Jan Hester start the trimming on Rifle's feet, had radio graphs done by Dr Lea Patipa, and this really started good things happening. Jan was so engaged in making Rifle better she took another wonderful farrier, Mele Miller to help with the second trim, much to my surprise. Too good farriers working on Rifle, how good is that! Dr Leah was so involved she asked her boss if she could discount the trip charge to Jasper. I posted on the Internet through Facebook, Yahoo and Blogs to ask people to help us help June clean up her farm. It was so heartwarming to see everyone volunteering to help, to donate fencing, wood, time and financial help plus many prayers and good wishes to help Rifle and his owner. Our group of caring people grew daily.

Saturday February 18th, Lori, Lexi, Rodeo and I left the rescue barn with wheel borrow, rakes, shovels and more to get started out clean up project. When we arrived, Hope and Debbie were already working and had the pig area cleaned of all the debris that had been in the mud for many years. Imagine cinder blocks, old tires, wood, all under half wet mud in a pig pen, literally! Those ladies were hard workers and they aren't afraid of dirt! We raked, picked up, threw away, organized and just had a great time doing good. Our burn pile stayed under control but we had the hose on hand at all times, just in case the wind decided to get aggressive. June had a huge dumpster which we pretty much filled to the top. Hours passed and everyone was still smiling. Doing good is good for your soul. Hope and Debbie called it a day, a long hard day, believe me. Cindy Rodeo Steedle, ( in case you don't know her..She has been on many TV shows: Rock of Love, Charm School and more) well, she is pushing the lawn mower and picking up whatever needs to be done. Everyone is equal here at the rescue or helping with horses, no one stays clean! We worked a few hours longer picking up around the house. Our last chore was catching a few chickens. Lexi took two roosters and a hen home in a crate. That lightened June's daily duties a bit. I was thinking how nice it was that this all grew into such a good cause. Such good hearted people getting together to help someone who was a stranger a few hours ago. I was smiling, feeling really good, we all felt good. It couldn't have been better. June paid us with some beautiful colored eggs. Sweet!

We were ready to leave when a nicely dressed couple stopped to talk. We weren't in clean attire but they smiled and asked if we were with the horse rescue. They said they were with the Bent Tree Saddle Club. David and Rosemary lived about 10 miles away. They read about Rifle and June and came to see for themselves. They were excited to go back and speak with their President about the club getting June and Rifle as a project. David talked to June about bush hogging the pasture. He was going to go back and check on getting more hay. he said he had some post he could donate and more. The Saddle Club can help with fencing, too. Just when I thought it couldn't get better, it got much better. What a wonderful world of people coming together to help. Good is contagious, pass it on!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rifle update!

Rifle had radio graphs done yesterday. Dr Patipa was very patient with our patient Rifle. It was hard and at first, frightening for him to stand on a block of wood that was not feeling secure under his hoof. In order to get the ex-rays done, he had to off of the ground. He has plenty of rotation but there is hope. After a month or two of trimming, we can get him some good boots that may make him much more comfortable walking. There are other alternatives but we will see as we progress as to what direction to go.

Now for the Clean-Up day in Jasper at Mrs.G's. She said we should call her June. Can you all, or some of you, came and help Saturday from 11am to 3pm ? February 18. We can also go Feb.19 in the afternoon if anyone can go. e need nails, hammers, rakes, shovels wheel barrows,a s gloves. Lori from Sunkissed Acres Horse Rescue donated a roll of red top wire. We can rewire the pigs pen, clean up the property. Most of it is old wood laying around, maybe trim some bushes, burn old hay, just help. June is 78 years old and her husband, now deceased, kept the place nice. She'll show you pictures. She tries hard and I am happy to help. Come join us. She lives west of Jasper, GA. Take 515 to hwy 53, west to hwy 136 connector, then north to Tilley Road. It is Googled as Tilley Road, Talking Rock, GA.

Tilley Road is only on the right, go about 1/2 mile and you will see chicken houses on the right. She is the next place . Can't miss it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Need a Rifle? He Needs you!

This is Rifle.
He is about 13 years old, or at least that is what I was told. He is in Jasper, GA. The GDA asked me if I could help Rifle. He was owned by a local Bed and Breakfast but couldn't pay his own way so he had to go. Can’t afford to feed a horse ya’ can’t ride! I hate that mentality.

He was lame, had a twisted shoe that was too small on his foot and needed help. The lady who came to Rifle’s rescue tried her best but she is 78 years old. Her husband passed away a few years ago and she can't keep up the farm too well nor keep up with Rifle's needs. I brought her feed and hay Saturday and had had Jan, a wonderful farrier, go out there Monday. He needs a farrier to trim his feet every 7 days for 6 weeks or so, to even get the hoof back halfway normal. Will he be sound? I can't answer that. What he needs is a veterinary check with radiographs to see if he coffin bone is rotated beyond repair.

He isn’t complaining. He just lays down a lot. He is gentle and knows we are there to help. He can’t stand on the worst foot so he needs to be trimmed the best a farrier can do when he is laying down.

Anyone interested in helping Rifle? We could use somewhere for him to go. We could use someone to help with costs of vet and farrier. After the radiographs, it may be determined it is kinder to not let him suffer and have him humanely euthanized. I just don’t have those answer yet.

Please let me know if YOU can help in any way. Your time, your money, your prayers, your help!

Let me make a quick note about Mrs.G. She is a sweet old woman who is an animal lover. She has 8 pot belly pigs, a few dogs and cats and a few chickens. Her van broke so she was having it towed to a mechanic. She can afford to feed her animals right now, they are all fat except for Rifle. It is probably better that he is underweight and not adding more stress to his painful feet. Her property needs to be cleaned up, fences repaired, pasture push hogged, and wood piles burned. I’d like to get a group of volunteers to go help and clean up one afternoon She would be happy and proud if her farm looked like it did when her husband was alive. She told me he kept it so nice. She also told me she is going to try and send a donation to the rescue . She is a lady who will give all she has to a good cause. Right now, I think she is the good cause. If you want to help, please email me at

Friday, February 3, 2012

This is Lucy.

She is the horse I wasn’t going to meet when I was asked to come to the horse auction facility. It was the blind horse, a mare, that the owner of the local auction had on his farm. Herman was closing his auction doors after 17 years of selling and trading horses to anyone with the cash to buy. He knew he could get rid of his last few horses and sell them for slaughter but he also knew that is was illegal to sell blind horses to slaughter. It is a federal law but rarely enforced. Not because of a lack of inspection, but because a blind horse has to survive and quickly figures out how to move with the herd. Horses, being animals of prey, have wonderful survival instincts. People may own a horse and not realize it is blind. A famous trainer had it happen to him. His horse was so well trained and so tuned into his cues, he rode his horse and trained others about horsemanship using his horse, who he later realized it had been blind.

Now Herman must has thought I knew he had a blind horse on his property. He never offered to give me the time of day, most times we were in the same room. He did know that there was a 3 legged horse, not actually a horse missing a leg but a horse with one leg so badly injured or broken that it could only walk on 3 legs, that was sent to Villa Rica, GA to be transported to slaughter. I had seen the horse here in Cherokee County. He looked like he had a broken leg. I tried to buy him but his owner, an old horse trader named Courtney, said he wanted $1500. That wasn’t going to happen. Well, I ended up causing some trouble and the horse didn’t get sent on the slaughter truck. I will get to that story at another time. I think Herman figured to avoid trouble and avoid me causing any, he generously give me the responsibility of caring for the blind horse he must have felt stuck with. While I was meeting the blind mare, I saw another horse with one beautiful blue eye, good weight, flowing mane, and one seriously injured eye. Herman explained that she was in the back pasture and some ‘Stupid-a*#! Bow Hunter’ shot her in the eye. He said it was getting better. Obviously, that was a lie. Herman often praised himself for being a great liar. She had no medical care, except the maggots who were eating away the old flesh. I wanted to say many things but kept my true feeling in my head. I offered to buy another horse that was in good condition and asked him to throw in the bad eyed horse and it would be a deal. He agreed.

The mare with the bad eye was an Appaloosa. He said her name was, Lucy, of course, and she was 12 years old. He brought the horses to my farm. Some of the volunteers were angry that I let him step foot on my property. They know he actually told people he came to my farm every Wednesday to pickup horses I didn’t want and he sent them to slaughter. Can you believe that? Herman said that about me! People that know me or know the rescue know we have a wonderful well respected reputation for saving and caring for horses. I really didn’t feel a need to defend myself. Gosh, I don’t have the time. We have more horses buried here that the local cemetery.

I took Lucy to Dr McGrueder in Cumming, GA to look at the injury. He said it looked like cancer to him. He did a biopsy of some of the tissue. Two days later, it was confirmed, it was Squamous Cell Carcinoma. It is a sad diagnosis because it is a fast growing cancer. I don’t think it was caused by a ‘Stupid-a*#! Bow Hunter’.

We decided to keep Lucy as happy and comfortable as we could. To get a second opinion, Dr Duvall came out but offered little hope. She agreed to cut away some of the growth that had doubled in size since the biopsy. It did help but only for a short period of time. Lucy would eat hay and grain and kept her weight. Volunteers cleaned her eye daily. It would ooze and smell but it was vigilantly kept clean. Lucy had a great attitude and let volunteer do whatever was necessary. She helped volunteers form strong bonds with of friendship with each other. I think God sent her to us to learn and to heal both the humans in her life and to heal her heart, give her love and let her die with the dignity she and all horses deserve. She was humanely euthanized and is buried on the farm. Lucy will stay in our hearts. RIP Lucy. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Meet LucyToo!

Lucytoo! How she got her name!

She came from Herman Strayhorn who ran the auction on Hwy 20 for 17 years. He knew that I knew, he had a blind horse and I made sure I said loud and clearly, 'You cannot send a blind horse to slaughter' , it is a federal law.

He sent plenty of horses to slaughter. It wasn’t illegal, nor is it now. I would say we were friends, but we agreed to disagree on the slaughter issue. I saved what I could and prayed for the ones that left his farm by the trailer load. Herman was leaving the farm, the auction had closed and he actually called me to tell me he was ‘giving’ me a horse. I guess he thought it was a good deed. It was for Lucy. When I drove down the driveway, I saw a pretty mare with a bad eye. I parked my truck and walked over to her pasture. Herman greeted me and started to walk away. I ask if this horse, the one with the bad eye was her. He stopped and said, ‘No’, she’s alright. No, she’s not alright, something happened to her eye. It needed medical attention and she obviously wasn’t getting it. He told me her name was Lucy and she was 12 years old.

He pointed to another horse in the near by pasture. He said that is her, ‘the Appaloosa‘ She is totally blind. He offered to bring her to the rescue farm tomorrow. That was fine with me. I have seen enough and it breaks my heart to make eye contact with the horses wondering where they’d end up. I asked about the Lucy mare and told him I really wanted her. He agreed to let me have her too. He said, she’ll be fine. Don’t worry about that eye. I was really worried but I knew we could do something to help her.

So Herman drove down my driveway with my two new horses, both mares. He unloaded Lucy, the one with the bad eye and then loaded the other mare, the blind one. I asked him her name, he said, “Lucy, she’s 12 years old’. Then I realized it was just another lie from a killer buyer. Both Lucy, both 12, uh huh. She we named the blind mare, LucyToo. This was in 2008. She is 16 +/- years old now.

I will tell you about Lucy (one) another time. LucyToo is a sweet mare that needs a loving home. Her feet were totally neglected, she was not in great shape but she is doing great now. She loves to be groomed and is kind to other horses. She is with a foundered older pony and they do well together but rarely have visitors. She needs someone to love her, groom her and ‘belong’ to a human. Every horse deserves that. I have so many and so little time. Volunteers come out and just can’t give every horse attention.
Consider loving LucyToo. She will give back what you live to her. Love!
Come and meet her, she is a love.

Needs Someplace to go NOW

This 18 y o Thoroughbred mare needs a home fast. She is 16 hand, sweet and can be ridden but it has been a while. Wife wants her gone in a week or auction, Craiglist or who knows. She just wants her gone. , she doesn't care at all. Husband sad and begging for help. Kevin is owner, contact his sister who also cares about this mare. Has current coggins, teeth just floated, UTD on vaccines, great shape. contact. Sandy

Horse on the left is Shea.