Friday, May 25, 2012

In Honor of The Fallen!

As I reflect on Memorial Day, it have memories of getting a red poppy and wearing it on Memorial Day ever year. I don't know how my parents got these red poppies but I remember wearing them proudly. 

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, originated to honor fallen Civil War soldiers. In the 20th century, it was extended to honor all fallen Americans of wars. Right along side of these fallen soldiers were their faithful fallen horses. There were over 1 million horses that died during the Civil war and probably a million more in World War 1 beside many American soldiers fighting abroad. 

Pack horses carrying ammunition in Flanders, from 'The Horse and the War' by Captain Lionel Edwards, published by Country Life in 1918.

In 1915, inspired by the poem, "In Flanders Fields', 
Moina Michael replied to her own poem.

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

I appreciate living in America, my free country and I appreciate all those who have given their lives, They should be honored this Memorial Day. I want to honor all the horses and mules who fought and died during these wars. This Memorial day, I am going to Chickamauga Battlefield.

Though I don't know the number of horses and mules that were killed or injured at the Chickamauga Battlefield, the number is too many. I am going to bring some red poppy seeds and some red poppies and scatter them around the battlefield's 5,500 acres. This is in memory of all who served. It is my small way of honoring them.

When I get back home, I will honor the horses in another way. I am going to start working on stopping horse slaughter from starting again in this United States and banning horse slaughter for human consumption. Please join me at the Battlefield or if you have some memorial Day plans of you own, join me next week by helping stop horse slaughter. It is another Battlefield for horse lovers. We need to win this war and fight each battle diligently so all horses can again be free in America.

Have a great holiday. Get your head clear because the battle against horse slaughter is starting next week, please enlist!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Halter Your Horses!

Leather halter - safest halter

Spring is everywhere, horses are out in beautiful pastures of green grass. It is a beautiful sight but sometimes, it makes me cringe. There are horses in these pastures and they have halters on. That screams danger to me. People who know and have been around horses know the  disastrous consequences of leaving a horse in a pasture with a halter on can be. Leaving a halter on a stall or round pen, or leaving a horse unattended with a halter on can cause the death of your beloved horse. 

Break away Halter - leather top

How? Have you ever seen a horse scratch his face with his hoof? It can easily get caught in the halter. It is even more common on young horses and babies. I see improperly fitted halters on these horses, too. They are an accident waiting to happen. Too many horses are injured or die from strangulation because their horse gets caught on a fence post, a tree limb or hooked on a loose nail. 

Regular nylon halter

Nylon and rope halters are the real culprits since they are designed not to break away. There are now figure 8 leather halters for foals which look like it would be harder to get a foot stuck in it. If you know young horses, you know they can find trouble. If you feel  you have to have a halter on your horse, then buy a break away halter. It has a leather piece on the top which is made to break under pressure. If you can afford it, buy a full leather halter. It can still cause a problem and not break like you would expect.

Rope Halters

I had a BLM wild Mustang in a round pen. She had a full leather halter so I assumed it was going to be safe.  She was scratching her neck against the panels and the halter caught onto the hook that holds the panels together. She panicked and pulled. The halter torn at the leather but left about a 1/2 inch of leather still attached. She pulled the round pen over herself. She was not a tame horse to begin with. She flailed on the ground kicking and trying to escape the panels over her. Lucky there were several people at the rescue farm that day. It took many of us to fix that situation. I took a knife and had to carefully cut that small piece of leather that didn't break. She was trembling, I was trembling, too. I didn't want to cut her face and didn't want her injured. Once we got all the panels off and adjusted, she seemed fine physically but I am sure that left some emotional scars on that poor horse.

My experience could have turned out much worse. If you go to a farm or see horses in a pasture with halters on, maybe you could drop a hint or leave a nice note saying it could be dangerous. You may offend someone but you may be saving a horses life. I am sure the owners don't want anything bad to happen to their horses but many just don't have the knowledge about horses to realize the danger. You do, so pass on your knowledge. Be the voice for the voiceless. Save the horses!

By the way, we have all these types of halters at the rescue farm. They all have a purpose and I use them all when I would with the horses. I am not anti-halter, I am anti-halter on an unattended horse. 

Thank you for your continued support. Together we all make the difference in horses lives. 
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Speaking About Animals, Speaking To Animals

Raccoon kind to me though in pain 

Some animals speak to me. I love all animals, I rescue all animals. I don't eat animals. I am crazy about animals. I have rescued turtles to wild boars to horses. I care and love each one but some speak louder than others. I don't think there is any deliberate reason but some are just deeper in my heart. Did I know them in another life? Do they just give me a special look that melts my heart? I don't have an answer. Some just stay closer to my heart. I feel their soul. I will never forget a raccoon that was hit by a car. He was gentle even though is pain.  He had several breaks in his jaw and couldn't move it without horrible pain. It was shattered. I soaked food and gently placed it in his open mouth. His little paws held onto my hand and his eyes said 'Thank you'. He was humanely euthanized after the vet examined him and declared him inoperable. I still see his face and feel his little hands on mine. 

Lump A Wonderful Ole Boy
I will never forget a 44 year old horse who died in my arms. Lump lived at the rescue farm for over 10 years. Two veterinarians, Dr. Duvall and Dr Marcella,  many volunteers and many prayers couldn't help him any longer and he was euthanized here at the farm, surrounded by love. It isn't just the ones who have passed on. It is animals I have been lucky enough to share a breath on earth with. It seems to take a part of me when they leave me, through death or through just finding a good home. At the same time they seem to give me the strength I need to do it all over again and offer another animal a better life. I know I can't keep them all, even the very special ones. I can offer them wonderful homes with loving humans who will cherish them as I do. 

I will never forget a horse I first met at Tampa Bay Downs a few years ago. He wasn't a race horse. He was a 'pony' horse. He walked the jockey and race horse to the starting gate. His owner wanted him to retire soon so I went to take a few pictures of him so I would have them when he finally came to the rescue farm. As I walked toward Sparky's stall, he backed away and turned around. I spoke gently to him but he kept he back to me. I went in the stall and adjusted my camera for a close up but Sparky kept moving away from me, head down, not wanting to make eye contact. Then my heart said to me, he does not want to be a 'rescue' horse. His owner loves him. I told him she did love him but soon he will have a new life. He was mad and wanted me to leave his stall.  I knew Sparky had incredible intuition. I respected his wishes and left his stall without any photos. He made me laugh because he spoke so loudly to me. He did come to the rescue and I recently found him a home. When he first came, we had a nice talk and I explained he was going to be happy and safe. I promised. My adoption contract states the horse can not be traded, sold or given away. It must be returned here. It is for the safety of the horses. Sparky found a new home with a great lady, Nancy,  who appreciates him. I told Nancy I didn't want to let him go. She said, 'I knew that.'
It is about Sparky, not me or what I want. I knew that too. 
Sparky and Nancy offering a bowl of carrots and apples.
Cisco with new friends in pasture
Then yesterday I took Cisco the Appaloosa mule who came from a local farm to Tennessee. He belonged to an older gentleman who had too many horses. We were told Cisco was hard to catch, possibly mean and needed a special home. He broke through a fence at his temporary home before I picked him up. So he had a reputation already. Of course, that's my kind of horse to rescue. Someone who needed rescue. Sure we will take perfect horse but the needy are what call loudest to me. That is why we rescue. Cisco spoke to me when I first met him. The rescuer who helped me get him said, she wasn't sure he'd get into the horse trailer when I was there picking him up. I knew he would and he did. He did anything I asked him to do during the month he was here. He was so wonderful. I didn't want him to go but I know the Tedders family so well and knew they understand horses like I do. They adopted several blind horses and ride and have even competed with some. Cisco would be happy there. He was good in the over 2 hour trailer ride to our meeting place. He had to load onto to their trailer for the rest of the trip to his new home. I stopped for a minute, then I told him it was the right place to go and he walked in the trailer.

Yes, having mental conversations with animals may make some people think I am crazy. I am crazy, crazy about animals. They are fellow earthlings. Not to dominate, to share our planet with.