The weeks have flown by since my last post! We brought a pregnant Mangalarga Marchador mare home after Thanksgiving. Her registered name is Dark Star, but we call her Star. She's been settling in and making new friends. Forgive her table manners... she IS eating for two! Then we had rain... and rain... it rained again... and then it didn't stop raining for two weeks. ...pretty sure some houses fell from cliffs in Malibu, and it rained a few more times, before settling back to lower than average temps for this time of year. It's been cooler for the past two winters. We've had lows in the high-30's and highs in the low 60's. I love this weather! The rain was absolutely necessary, but as in all of life, it's much better in moderation. The ground is completely saturated, and California lacks adequate run-off storage. I could get on my soapbox here, wondering why the drought years haven't been used to build new water storage facilities (and better drainage to direct the runoff to the storage??), but I'll spare you. Rather, I'll share that my sweet Honey is at training to be finished for trail and some possible western dressage. She is a Jockey Club registered off-the-track Thoroughbred, named "Send Money Honey," and she is our best therapy horse by a mile!
She was track broke before she developed Wobbler's Syndrome, which is a neurological condition. Her hind legs were affected, and she had a difficult time knowing exactly where they were. Her owners are HIGHLY-ethical racehorse owners, and I cannot praise them enough for getting her the surgery she needed and months of in-patient therapy! I was introduced to Honey through a friend, Jenny, who boards her horse here at Pandemonium. Jenny works for a vet who practices just past my back yard - literally. She told me about Honey but I have a "no freeloaders" rule. If a horse cannot earn his or her keep, one way or another, we cannot keep them. It's not that we're heartless, but we simply cannot afford to feed an animal who doesn't have a job. I am currently paying almost $40/bale for alfalfa!! The cost of feed has gone through the roof over the past two years, and we just can't make it happen. But when my other friend, Feeby, and I started doing equine assisted psychotherapy, I decided to meet Honey, to see if she was as wonderful as Jenny kept telling me she was.
The feedback that Honey gives to our therapy clients has changed their lives!! She has work-ethic that is second to only Zeus, maybe. You can find his sweet profile here. And you'd never guess he was sweet if you saw him pin his ears, but he is all talk!) She is humble and ultra-confident. We have had the pleasure of sharing her history with two military vets who have developed conditions that affect their ability to live the way they expected. Hearing that Honey is still massive, amazing, and capable after having to make a career change before the age of three helps them as well. She has so much to give... it just doesn't look the way we expected. I've watched her less than 10 yards from a pack of roaring motorcycles, and she never flinched. (Sincere thank you, neighbor whose son rides dirt bikes next to her stall! I LOVE that he is inadvertently helping me desensitize and train all of my horses!) Yesterday I visited with Honey at her training facility while Evan had his western dressage lesson, and we worked on tarps and bridges. Only took her a couple of tries (and maybe five treats) to get the idea. We haven't walked over them yet, but getting feet on them is a major hurdle. Tarps are pretty scary for most horses. I have almost bomb proof horses that still spook at a tarp occasionally. So learning early is best!
I will be sure to update you about Honey's progress as I hear from the trainer. She's such a little (HUGE - around 16.2hh, and not quite four years old, but little) ROCKSTAR!! I can't wait till we can take her on trails as a riding partner and not just pony her. So if you're struggling to accept that it's almost February, and you haven't accomplished what you thought you would, get a handful of treats, and go stand on a tarp. (I'd do it for like... three Oreo's)