Wednesday, December 21, 2011

DoubleHP Minerva - our Warrior Horse Goddess

Tried to get some new photos of the horses today but they were all snoozing. So I took some close ups instead. Here's Minerva, our Warrior Horse Goddess.

We rescued Minerva from starvation as a yearling. Not long after that she and her mama Jasmine appeared as poster children for Unwanted Horses in a national "Unwanted Horse" conference in Washington, D.C., in June 2008. I suppose I somehow gave permission for the photo to be used, through a survey or membership or something. Though I don't remember specifically but I cannot say for sure that I did not either.
here's the link to the online document/presentation from this Forum.

On Page 85 you will find our poster children.

here is that photo I still have on my computer.
I took the photo, just a couple of days after we rescued this herd.
wow, they were pretty sad looking, weren't they!
I guess they really did look the part - unwanted.
funny thing is, they really weren't.
Turns out all of the horses from this herd are now excellent riding horses. Well, except for Mama Jasmine, who is now in horsey heaven. What a tough gal Jasmine was though. emaciated, broken hip, could barely walk partly due to no hoof care, her emaciated yearling Minerva right by her side and, in addition to all of this, Jasmine was 3 weeks away from giving birth to another foal, our Hero.

Because they are serioulsy neglected, does that mean necessarily that they also are unwanted?

I don't think so.
I think the term "unwanted" is unecessary.
These horses were neglected, to the point of inhumane treatment, which is a crime.
Seriously! Even in South Dakota, this is against the law.
Let's be placing the blame where it belongs: On the irresponsible owners.
"Unwanted" makes it sound as though it's the horse's fault.
But it's not! It's the owner's fault. And, in this case, as with most of them, the owner was also the breeder.
These were not "unwanted" horses.
They were neglected horses.
They were irresponsibly-bred horses.
That is human error.
Let's start putting these things in prespective.
Quit blaming it on the horses.
The fault lies with the breeder and/or owner.

In any case, we are so happy to have rescued this herd a few years ago. We answered the call for assistance from a nearby animal shelter that is no longer in existence. We were supposed to "assist" them but ended up doing the whole thing, including taking over responsibility for all expenses and placement of the horses. Fortunately, we had several other experienced horse people join us and were able to accomplish this unexpected mission.

Minerva has grown up to be a fantastic riding horse, a natural "Western Pleasure" prospect who also has some pretty great "Reining Horse" moves. Don't laugh at me. I know some things about Reining, and I have had two trainers confirm this for me.

Well, anyway, we had snow last Christmas.
Here's Minerva a year ago.
Making Snow Angels I think!

You bet she's a poster child.
But it's not for Unwanted Horses anymore.
It's for Warrior Horse Goddesses.

in mythology, Minerva the Roman Goddess was born in an odd way. She burst from her father's brain, already fully grown and wearing warrior attire. In one legend, Minerva the Roman Goddess tells a competitor, "challenge your fellow-mortals as you will, but do NOT compete with a Goddess!

oh, and we should mention: Minerva is available for sponsorship with riding privileges here at New Hope Horse Shelter near Crooks/Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Please please please not the S word

Shadow has become quite the tuff guy. here are some photos of him from the last week or so.
BACKGROUND: same situation as Bella. It's too disgusting to tell again. but you'll find the story here if you look around a little.
These first photos are Shadow playing with the biggest horse here, HotShot.
Shadow is 2; HotShot is 20!

now those are some nasty looks, boys!

Shadow and Hero
ok, these guys are definitely up to something. Hero, Shadow, Prince.
all 3 rescued from starvation.
Hero was rescued 3 weeks before he was born,
Shadow has too long of a rescue story to tell here,
Prince was rescued as a yearling and now he is 10.
These photos were taken last week.
Here's a more recent update on Shadow: Last night, we noticed Shadow had a couple of lumps under his chin/jaw area. One of them was open and draining. Of course you have to think the S word. (that would be strangles). But, he hadn't been around any horses except this herd. No other horses had come here. The main lump wasn't quite in the right place to be strangles. His appetite was fine. His temp was fine. No other horses had any symptoms. Anway, we put him and Bella in the 2 in/out pens by the little barn. And today Dr. Jensen came. She is thinking NOT strangles. Possibly some weird injury that abscessed and now has opened. But just to be sure (I told her I was pretty motivated to find out for sure if possible), she took a sample of the gunk that is draining, and also a blood draw. And we should know something in a few days. Oh, and Dr. Jensen took Bella's stitches out today while she was here too.

update: Dec. 21, 2011. Shadow is back out with the herd. His owie did drain quite a bit but is all closed up now. still a little bump there. we will never know what it was. The lab results came back as real low positive for strangles type stuff. But he never had a high temp, never acted sick, no other horses had symptoms, and after about 2 weeks he rejoined the herd.
Also, Bella's shoulder is healing up great. It looks really good. nice and flat and all closed up. She'll always have the scar there but at least we got rid of the big ball of scar tissue/skin hanging there, and hopefully the flies won't like it as much now.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bella's Shoulder Thing

About a week and a half ago Bella went to Dakota Large Animal Clinic to see what could be done about her shoulder.
BACKGROUND INFO: Bella is one of the horses that we were asked to help rescue in Lincoln County in Oct. 2009. The whole herd was later given back to the neglectful owners. Then, in March 2011 we got a phone call saying that Bella had been seized again, this time in Minnehaha County, and was headed for a loose (slaughter) horse sale. This is all a really long confusing and disgusting story. But we ended up buying Bella and Shadow for $406 each, from the cattle feedlot guy that the State had given the horses to. We could not believe how horrible Bella looked again. And this after 40 days in court/State appointed care. She is still only 3 years old now. And all of this had already happened to her. More than once.

Somewhere, sometime, in between the 2 "rescues" (NOT) that we knew about, Bella got a terrible shoulder injury and it was not treated and ended up with a great big ball of something. scar tissue or something, just hanging there to get caught on something and scraped and scratched and rubbed up against everything.
Here's how it looked this past summer. Don't worry, we kept this pink ointment on it to keep the flies off. We had to wait until fly season was gone to have it worked on.

So anyway, about a week and a half ago, off we went to the Vet Clinic.
Dr. Jensen shaved around the big lump.


Blocking (numbing)

Now this is what you call a horse getting "worked on." As Dr. Jensen was cutting and sewing on Bella's shoulder, Todd was trimming Bella's hooves.

Bella is a very beautiful 3-year-old. And we hope this injury area will close up and not "leak" anymore, so the flies won't be so all over it next spring. That scar will be there of course. But as bad as that looks, it is nothing compared to Bella's scars that we can't really see. The emotional scars from severe neglect. But Bella, like most of our rescued horses, is very forgiving. She is nice and friendly and has even had a saddle and rider on her a couple of times. We'll see what next spring brings. But this winter, Bella just gets to eat and drink and go in the barn whenever she wants to. Last year at this time, I'm thinking Bella was feeling pretty miserable. They were seized in Jan. 2011. So in Nov. 2010 they were probably not doing so well.
Bella, summer 2011, New Hope Horse Shelter
But look at her now! Isn't she beautiful! Bella. became a permanent resident at New Hope Horse Shelter in May 2011. No more neglect Miss Bella. You are home. And safe.

Here's another photo album of Bella and Shadow.

And, if you would like to donate toward Bella's Vet and farrier expenses, just use the Donate button at our home page here.
Or send check to DoubleHP Horses, 25337 470 Ave, Crooks SD 57020. We are a 501c3 nonprofit, and donations are tax deductible. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

update on Baylee's white line disease

January 17, 2012. I didn't really want to do a separate post right now. but guess what! uh huh. Baylee has rejoined the herd. during the day. still stays in at night for now. just ease her back in to it. so far so good. and she is so happy. she is such a little alpha mare. squealing at the boys. herding the mares around. so nice to see her being a horse again!

OK here is the rest of (previous) the story: PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT THIS STORY HERE WAS WRITTEN APPROX. NOVEMBER OF 2011.
time for a Baylee update. Last February (2011) Baylee was diagnosed with white line disease. she has had minor lameness/thin sole type issues on and off most of her life (she's 12), but this was a new kind of lameness. And sure enough, a new kind of situation. We have never dealt with white line disease here before. Since February (2011), Baylee has been to Dakota Large Animal Clinic lots of times. She almost jumps up on the Xray blocks all by herself she has done it so many times. Our last trip to DLAC was November 16 (2011) .  Baylee has been doing great now for the last month or so. But Dr. Jensen wants us to stay safe for an entire year (so, until Feb), before we let Baylee out with the herd and do whatever she wants, like run hard, etc. At one point in all of this, our only option other than euthanasia was to have her tendon cut. Which, of course, we did. and it was the right decision. But a cut tendon is a cut tendon, and she will never be 100% on that leg. But right now, if she's on soft ground like the sand in the riding arena, she looks pretty dang good and we look forward to riding her again next spring/summer. Baylee loves us and loves it when we ride her. I know that sounds dumb, but Baylee loves attention and she really does like to go riding. She is sad that other horses are being ridden and she just has to stand there and watch. The other thing about this whole deal is that early on, in Feb., Dr. Jensen had to cut away a big chunk of Baylee's hoof. To get in there and clean out the diesease. And it takes approx. a year to grow a new hoof back. have you heard of terms like "separation," "rotation," ???  usually you would hear about that if a horse got into the grain room or overdid the lush spring pasture grass and "foundered". Well, some of the same stuff happened here. not feed related. But as the white line disease destroyed her good hoof tissue, etc., the layers of her hoof began to separate which caused her foot bones to rotate, because things weren't holding things into place anymore. Anyway, these Xrays and photos will help you understand a little bit. As we went through this process, we tried many different types of shoes and pads. And at one point we were pretty sure there was an abscess but the farrier and Vet could not find it for sure and this went on for over a month. Baylee got so sore during this time that I seriously did consider euthanasia. Because at this time her "rotation" wasn't all that bad. And we just couldn't figure out why the extreme soreness. And then, finally, an abscess blew open and drained. WE also closely monitored the Bute and Banamine for Baylee. She had to have something for the pain, but I also didn't want to overdo these products. because long-term use of these can cause other problems. One really big thing that helped Baylee was a great big gel-padded boot. Sometimes, I just think that even though shoes do provide support and something in between the foot and the ground, a shoe is still really hard metal. And if the sore spot is in direct contact with the shoe, that's no better than the hard ground. And for a while we really couldn't pinpoint THE sore spot, so we tried this boot. And I think it's what finally gave Baylee enough pain relief to just walk kind of normally (well, with this boot on) and grow some hoof. Of course we checked often, and it did get a little moist and squishy in there. So we would go back and forth on the boot. And now she is bootless, shoeless, and I think painless.
Here are some visuals from this journey, which began almost a year ago.
this was in February 2011. I kind of remember Dr. Jensen saying something like "what in the world!" as she was looking at this on her screen. So I knew it might not be too good. You can see the big black hollow area and also the beginning "rotation."

This is how much of her hoof was cut away and cleaned out. Of course there was already a big hollow area there, from the disease.

March, rotation getting worse.

April, even more rotation. I think it looked even worse than this before the shoe. At this time, our options were either euthanasia (Baylee was really sore at this time) or try cutting the tendon, which is what we did.

This is the same day in April, right after the tendon was cut and a different shoe put on. I don't remember if we left this shoe on or not. but you can see here there was some immediate relief, as far as rotation. at least her bone wasn't going to poke through the bottom of her foot anymore.

May, 2011. not sure if this is the shoe we went with, but you can see the change in rotation. isn't that neat?

this is July. Baylee was really really sore at this time, even though things look better. this was during the invisible abscess time. we tried shoe on, shoe off, soaking, wrapping, digging, everything. finally an abscess blew open and drained. She was still really really sore for a long time though. so who knows.
Now look at this one! This, I learned, is what you call negative rotation.
this was in September. This is when she got the big gel padded boot. Along with a different trim. She was still really sore at this time. but week by week, as her hoof grew out, she got better and better. and in late Oct. or so, she didn't need the boot anymore.
Here we are Nov. 16, 2011. headed back the right way. No shoe, no boot. a little limp, and a little sore on concrete. but she always was. the entire barn aisle is now lined with rubber mats. and baylee has a medium size pen to walk out in to with very soft ground. We always keep a "buddy" in for her. We spend a lot of time with her so she doesn't get depressed or just give up. It's not easy for her being away from the herd.

Only a couple more months Baylee Bob. Hoping so much that everything stays ok with this foot. and that Baylee can be running with the herd by Valentine's Day.

here's how much her hoof has grown back. So it's just that bottom darker part that is not new growth.

compared to this, from February. is that amazing stuff?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In Honor of Stormy, a very special horse

A Video link honoring Stormy, a very special horse who helped a lot of people figure a lot of things out

Wendy sent us this video the other day. Stormy recently went to heaven. About 8 years ago we raised money for Stormy's surgery (navicular issues), Wendy adopted him, and trailriding they did go. Our Veterinarian had determined that Stormy was an excellent candidate for this surgery, and it did work. It gave Stormy many more years of doing what he enjoyed. Trailriding. Stormy was also an excellent... therapy horses in Wendy's EAGALA program. Since summer or so they had been struggling with soreness issues again, and the Veterinarian determined that Stormy was NOT a candidate for a second surgery. They kept Stormy comfortable for several months with special shoes and meds. It gave Stormy some time to show Rocky & Roman (2 of our other rescued horses now living with Wendy) around the place, and to teach them some things. Stormy was a very special horse to all who met him, and we thank Wendy and Matt so much for giving Stormy a second life. An excellent life. I know they miss Stormy very very much. He was a special guy.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Don't let them take you to a second place

Update on Bella and Shadow.

When we were young girls and would have some speakers come to PE class or health and safety or a similar class like that (ok, this is a few years ago); sometimes they would talk about rape and kidnapping. One thing that has always stayed in my mind is the advice to "never let your kidnapper take you to a second place." Do whatever you can, fight with everything you have, to try to get away and get to safety. if they move you, if you get in a car with them and go someplace else, your chance of survival goes way way down anyway. I dont know if this is still the advice that is given, but back then it made a lot of sense to me.

I think about this with Bella and Shadow.

Some of our volunteers had the privilege to meet these nice young horses back in Oct.2009, when they were rescued from starvation. Shadow was only a few months old and already taken from his mommy. Bella was about a year and a half. Shadow was 1.5 BCS; Bella was a 2. Loaded with worms. Shadow just wanted to lie down all the time, and pretty soon he couldn't even get up by himself. He spent 2 weeks in the horse hospital at DLAC. Anyway, we only got to care for them for a short time. Long enough to get them all on their way to health. And then we were rudely dismissed and no one would tell us anything about the case. That is because there was no case. The horses (8 total) were all returned to the neglectful owners.

In March 2011, when we heard they had been starved and taken from owners again, we were not surprised. But when we heard they were headed for the loose horse sale, per actions of the legal system, we were devastated. How could this happen to these little horses. How could so many different law enforcement and animal protection type entities be involved in this and let this happen to these horses who had already been through so much.

Anyway, fast forward to now. Our rescue org. owns Shadow and Bella, and they have been promised a forever home with us. They could be adopted out, but we do not know how they are going to turn out.

If they wouldn't have gone back to the owners the first time around, they would be entirely different horses than they are today. Beautiful Bella, now she has this huge injury area on her right shoulder. This was not there when we knew her the first time around.
we rub this ointment on Bellas shoulder injury area several times a day

Because if we dont, this is what happens. the flies have opened it up a bit this fall.
After fly season, we will take her to the Vet and have them do whatever reconstructive work they can to this area.

 She also is not sound. This was not the case back in 2009 either. We had a sneaking suspicion she may not be sound. And our farrier noticed that the appearance of her hooves made him think she had founder in her history. Well, Bella had a couple of rides with us a few weeks back. She is sooooooooooo nice. But the second ride, when she trotted some little circles for us, showed us her lameness. Kind of subtle at times, but it is definitely there. She runs and plays and everything, but at a trot & turn, she is lame.

off to the vet. Xrays show there is some rotation in her right front. Her left does not look bad. It is not a case of grass founder. It is injury, stress, trauma, lack of proper nutrition & hoof care, "mechanical," genetic? take your pick. or maybe some or all of the above. There IS a chance with extended, consistent proper nutrition and hoof care now, she will come around. Time will tell. And her lameness is not severe. So perhaps shoes would take care of things too. In any case, we are just going to give Bella some more time. We did not ride her anymore after that second lesson. Unless she gets worse, we'll just wait until next spring and proabably re-xray and make a plan from there.

Personally, I think all of these things are related. The shoulder injury, the foot. it's all on the same side. and she sweats at that shoulder injury spot which means it's nerve related. But we'll never know her story for sure. All we know for sure is that this is not how Bella was when we cared for her back in 2009.

And Shadow? Well he's actually doing ok. He hasn't grown much. Still looks like a pony with a big  horse head. Stunted from starvation? probably. He's only 2 now. And lived most of his previous life in a state of starvation. He too has little dents and scar tissue feeling type areas all along his right shoulder/neck area. And we have to really stay on top of his hooves. His right front one will turn to a nasty thrush like condition if we do not take care of it on a daily basis. WE also had his backs xrayed. They almost looked a little clubby or ring boney or something. His xrays actually dont look too bad though. no sign of ringbone or arthritis or anything nasty like that. And I have to say, I think they are straightening out a bit now. He has never been lame since we brought him here. But we do have to watch his feet and hooves constantly and closely.

Now these 2 might turn out ok or they might not. Right now, I would say Shadow is going to be fine. Might not have excellent perfect looking body parts and feet, but he is NOT lame and he is very very nice to work with and be around. Bella? not sure. Time will tell.

What we ARE sure of is that these horses are really beat up. They got really really beat up after we were dismissed from "the case" back in 2009-2010,  and I'm sure it didn't help matters any when, in legal custody this year, Jan-March, they were crammed in a truck or trailer and taken to a feedlot and fed like cows and received no dewormer and no vet care. Before we rescued them again. And gained ownership of them. Finally.

They never should have gone back to these owners the first time. These offenders never should have been able to take these horses to a second place. It did indeed get a lot worse for Shadow and Bella. And for their herdmates, some that died last winter out in the snow, starved and frozen. And some that did go through that loose horse sale and on to slaughter. It just got worse and worse and worse for them.

That is why these cases need to be dealt with immediately and aggressively. And correctly. There needs to be some consideration given to the horses. We need to quit worrying about "property rights." Property rights have no place when the property is a living breathing animal, especially if it's barely living and breathing because it is starving and freezing to death. Property rights should have no place in those cases. Property rights are for tractors and buildings and things. Not for our animals. Certainly not for animals that are starving. We need to quit protecting those owners. And start protecting these animals. If we want to decrease the number of these horse starvation cases in our area, we need to quit sending the horses back to the people who will surely starve them again. And allow them to reproduce at the same time! These people typically dont buy hay. Often these people dont even own a property and have been kicked out of the place they were renting. We need to quit sending the horses back with these offenders who dont have a place for the horses to go anyway.

Because it is true, if the neglectful owners take them to a second place, or a third place, or place after place after place (and we all know those people, the ones who just keep moving the horses around from county to county) the horses' chance of survival gets less with every move.

Don't let your attackers take you to a second place. I'm sure if the horses could do anything about it, they would. This is why we have animal protection and law enforcement entities. For animal welfare, for law enforcement. Not for protection of the neglectful animal owners. We need to remember who the victims are here. And not just send them off to slaughter. Good grief. It's not their fault they were born and treated like this. At least they could be given a chance.

Well, Bella and Shadow have that chance now. It might be too late for them to be 100% sound and healthy. But one thing is for sure. Their offenders will never move them to another place. They are safe. With us. At New Hope Horse Shelter.

If anyone would like to help sponsor Shadow and/or Bella, we would be most appreciative. And so would they. We estimate it costs about $200 a month per horse at our shelter. And these horses do have some special needs. We do hope they will both be riding horses, but we cannot guarantee that right now. And we would be irresponsible to do so.
We are 501c3 (Horse Help Providers, Inc.) so donations are tax deductible to the full extent according to law.
Send checks to DoubleHP, 25337 470 Ave, Crooks SD, 57020
or paypal to

Monday, August 1, 2011

Shadow and Bella

The two sorrels are Shadow and Bella. They were recently added to the herd at New Hope Horse Shelter. The buckskin, Star, welcomed them. The horses have fly masks and boots on.
Shadow and Bella, before they came here, had a horrible life.

Bella used to be called Flicka. But we changed her name, because we already had a Flicka here.

In Oct. 2009, our volunteers helped with a seizure of 8 horses in Lincoln County. Shadow and Bella were two of them.
Shadow was a weanling. He was weaned way too early and we don't know why. Except that now we have listened to his former owner speak in court, it is clear that she knows nothing about horse care and ownership. Shadow spent 2 weeks in the hospital; for a while he could not get up by himself. Bella was a 2-year-old.
We were not a part of the legal case. But all 8 horses were given back to the owners. Dont even ask. We have no idea. We were not kept informed of what was going on.
Then, in January 2011 these same horses were taken away from the owners again. This time in Minnehaha County. Though nobody bothered to tell us about it. Every day we think about this, that, except for a spurt of rescue, Shadow was starved his whole little life until we acquired him; and we are amazed that little Shadow is even alive.
The owners got the horses back again! well, at least this time they had to pay some money for them.
Shadow and Bella's owners did not want them back. So, just days before they were to go through a loose horse sale, we found out about this and went and purchased them before the sale.

State and county officials seized the horses in January 2011. We acquired them in March 2011. This is how they looked when we got them this time. They either must have been nearly dead in January, or they did not receive proper food and care in the court appointed caretaker's home. We have good reason to believe the last choice here. They received no vet care and were fed cornstalks. They were not dewormed even. And no one ever called our rescue organization to help.
Flicka here is Bella. and the "rescue" referred to was nothing like a rescue at all. the horses were crammed in a trailer and hauled to a cattle feedlot. All of them together. Mares, stallions, big ones, little ones. No deworming, no dental checks, no bales of hay. they were fed like cows. cornstalks as a main dish. We know all that now, we did not at first.

They were in terrible condition again. This is not good for young horses to have "lived" like this for most of their lives. During the time when they are growing and developing. Or trying to anyway.

We do not know how they will turn out, but we do know they will never go through starvation again.

To read the complete story, read Apache's story.