When we started this rescue, financially, profit or nonprofit, we looked at it like any business. You invest in it until it stands on it's own feet. For about five years we have been the main support of this rescue. It has come to a point where it is a strain on us financially. We had never set out to have 50 animals. We had always said max 20. Oh boy, what happened? Well, our policy when we adopt out an animal includes they come back to us if, for any reason, the adopter is no longer able to keep them. So, we would adopt out a horse to a home, take in another, and a horse would return. Now, we have two. This has happened multiple times through no fault of the horse or ourselves. It just happens and we find ourselves over capacity and underfunded. Shoot! Time to regroup and come up with a game plan. We will never compromise the safety of the animals by changing our policy. Our return-to-us policy ensures they are always accounted for and have a safe landing. So, we began looking at ways to lower our monthly overhead costs. That is where Montana came in. It hasn't been an easy move. The sale of our home in California had some delays. The move of the animals had a lot of difficulties ( thank you to Wyatt of Next Level Transport and MJ Redding Transport) but our final trailer with Buffy, Billy, and the piggys should arrive this evening. We are temporarily staying at my Mother in Law's home in Corvallis. Corvallis is located in the SW portion of the state in an area called the Bitterroot Valley. My MIL, Suzanne, has a 5 acre ranch set up perfectly for horses, but our goal is to pasture feed and possibly grow our own hay. So, we need more land. We have been looking at potential properties and getting settled. Thank you for all of your patience while we make this huge transition. We appreciate the support and hope you continue to follow our rescue as we become bigger, better, and more efficient. <3
Jewel came to us February, 2014 from a bronc breeding ranch dispersal. My understanding is, they are kept free range, much like cattle. There are mares, a stud, and the babies are rounded up once a year. The sire is said to be draft. With Jewel's age, no branding, and being a draft x, I assume she is one of the offspring. I don't know why she was held back. Anyhow, the ranch was downsizing and many feral mares found themselves at a feedlot. Jewel had been paid for but when it came time for the brand inspection paperwork, her buyer was unable to take her. We were called.
She arrived a little underweight and was covered in ticks. Thankfully, where we live the ticks just don't survive. We helped the process by using DE, but as for treating her specifically, that was a no go. She was as feral as they come.
Looking back, there are so many things I did wrong. I mean, I had no idea what was involved in a feral horse. Sure, we have had fearful horses, but in no way was I prepared for a horse that has had little to no handling, and certainly no positive experiences at the hands of human. Had I known, I probably would not have taken her. WHAT!?! Yes. While the ending to this story is good, it has been a looooong journey made that why by my inexperience.
Jewel started off in a 16'x32' quarantine corral. during that time I tried everything to get her trust. I'd move her around and around waiting for her to give a hint she was ready to at least negotiate a partnership. I tried treats. I tried just sitting and reading with her. It got me no where. Here's where it gets weird. I began watching and thinking about how horses approach each other. A confident horse approaches ears alert, head high, facing head on. A more submissive horse, non-confrontational, extending the proverbial olive branch would approach slowly, head down, from the side. So, when no one was around, I tried to mimic horse behavior. I'd always sigh deeply, relaxingly. I'd lick and chew. Sounds so silly right? I'm embarrassed I am admitting it and committing it to paper. I was just desperate. I was looking for any way to connect. She couldn't live in this corral forever. It worked.
Well, sort of. What it did give me was a connection. She began to let me approach her and we would exchange breaths. Our noses would touch. She began to approach me. The problem was, the minute my hands showed themselves, it was over. Again, she couldn't live in this small corral indefinitely. At this point, we had had a trainer come in (we had taken in Misty as well. Both of them from the bronc ranch). That trainer had been hurt by Misty. I brought another trainer in and she was wonderful but it was short lived. She ended up moving.
To get Jewel out of her quarantine corral and into a paddock, we had to build a chute. What a pain it was but worked perfectly and she joined Misty, Darby, Jube, and Brego. Sigh of relief as she was now out of a small corral, had the ability to move around, and could socialize. It did not help the gentling process. I should say, it didn't help using traditional methods. Jewel began to let her guard down then. It was very slow but the seed had been planted and she would seek us out. Over time, she began to allow touch. For the most part, she loved faces. She loved exchanging breaths and kisses.
We had bought ourselves time with the paddock, but we were a year or so into this and we had gotten as far as touching her and that's it. I am not a trainer. Our trainer did not have the time to a gentle horse prior to training, and we didn't have the funds to send her to a trainer willing. What were we going to do about her feet!?! So, my plan became 'get her into the pasture.' She could wear her feet naturally....and buy us more time. What was I going to do with her? I don't know but the pasture will give me time to figure it out. With a bucket of grain and a prayer I walker her to the pasture gate and she went in without a problem. Phew!!!!
Now what? She is in acres of acres of space with tons of other horses, donkeys, and bovines. She has absolutely no incentive to maintain a relationship with me. She could exist out in that pasture with little to no human interaction indefinitely. It bought me time but talk about not thinking ahead! I was winging it. Like I said, So many things I did wrong...or differently.
Over time, Jewel sought me out in the pasture. I still can't explain why. She didn't have to, but she pursued the relationship. She chose to trust. She dropped her guard. Over time, me who's not a trainer, got a halter on her. I got her to pick up her feet. She is now leading nicely. She is even backing up.
It has been over two years. I don't recommend this journey. All of the other mares from this group were gentled and under saddle probably before Jewel made it into the pasture. So many other ways I could have handled this. I chalk it up to inexperience. I had no idea. I was not prepared. Thankfully, we have all the time in the world here. No agenda as we like to say, but it was not the easiest road. I didn't write this to toot my horn. Not at all. I am sure many people watched from afar (at least they didn't see me trying to act like a horse) and thought 'she has no business taking in a feral horse.' They'd be right. Live and learn. I wouldn't trade it for the world. It was unconventional, time consuming, dumb, ill prepared, all of it....but Jewel and I learned so much. I have a better understanding of horses and their behaviors. I have learned what works and what doesn't. She has made me softer. I'm softer because it wasn't about taming the beast. It was about tapping into Jewel, finding the connection. Everything has been on her terms and by her choice. It may not be the recommended method, the most effective method, but it sure has been rewarding. I really look forward to the rest of this journey with Jewel. There is so much more to learn together. Thank you for being a part of it and I hope you stick around for the rest.
Growing up in a military family, my life was pretty structured. There are more similarities than differences when it comes to taking care of 50+ animals in a rescue. Routine is key and if you stray from it even remotely, there are a lot of voices there to remind you of what needs doing.
Every morning at 0545 I get the coffee brewing and head out the door to feed. We have an old beat up Ford truck that serves as the ranch feed truck. Anyone who says Fords, American made vehicles, don't stand the test of time, I'll beg to differ. At over 250k miles, Big Red takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. I load up two bales of Bermuda and three bales of Alfalfa (each bale runs about $15 x 5 x 2x a day =$150/day! Plus grain. We go through about $1000-1500/mo in grain). We have grain buckets for the pasture, grain buckets for Milton's herd, for Lilac's herd, and for the The Pony herd. We free feed. So, enough food is placed that there is always food available. Before I take off to make the rounds, Hodor, Hank, and Hickock, our pigs, get their breakfast. Hodor is let out and he joins me as we make our way around the ranch. Feeding takes about an hour and it is one of my favorite times of the day. There is a quiet peacefulness that I love when you greet the sun to the sounds of horses happily munching away.
After feeding, I take the much needed coffee break. NEVER skip this important step!
With just under ten acres, there is always upkeep needed. Every time I mark something off of the list, I add two more. So, my morning may include some type of fence repair, weed wacking, mowing, etc. Then, on to chores. We have three large paddocks and a 4-5 acre pasture in use. It just isn't practical and would be way too time consuming to pick up the poo of 50+ animals. I do rake and muck the pig pens. They get fresh water and their mud holes are replenished. Then, I hook up our homemade 'dragger' to the Ranger (utility vehicle) and start grooming the paddocks and pastures. The dragger works by breaking up poo, turning it over, and basically breaking it down to dirt. It works great and keeps the areas looking polished. If water tubs or auto waterers need bleaching/cleaning (When it warms up, we go through 2-3 gallons of bleach a week), I do that as well. All in all, it takes about three hours.
Depending on the time, I may have to take a trip to town for errands. Around 4 P.M. dinner is served. Paula, friend and volunteer, is almost always there to help. Evening feed is just a repeat of morning's. When I am finished, I make up bowls of grain for our older residents that need a little extra TLC. We could take them out and keep them housed separately so they can maintain weight, but we prefer everyone lives in large spaces and herds. It makes for happier, healthier horses, and it is a simple, effective alternative to just pull them out for supplemental grain. Our current list of oldies is Lucent, Cowboy, Miss Kitty, and Chester. They LOVE this time of day and meet me at the gate to come out. Now, I can't just spoil those four! Nooooo. So, while they are enjoying a meal, I spend time handing out treats, brushing, and spending one on one time with everyone. It is a chance to see who needs trims, if anyone has any cuts or scrapes, to groom, etc.
Finally, I call it a day, around 630 P.M. and it's family time. I hit the pillow early because tomorrow I have to greet the sun again.
Would you like to come experience what a day at Toby's Legacy is like? Every third Saturday of the month, from 11-3, we have Visitor's Day. Come on down and meet all of our residents. Learn their stories and share in the experience that makes TLER so special. Interested in volunteering? This is a great way to get started. See you there!
Lilac had some mild swelling on her face. Thinking nothing of it, maybe a tooth abscess, we contacted our vet, and she was started on antibiotics. Well, five days later and she had a watermelon head! So, our vet came out to do X-rays. Turns out, not an abscess, but a fractured cheekbone!. Didn't see that coming but she is a diva and an instigator. Not surprised. Glad she is okay, the swelling has gone down significantly, and she is on the mend.
In September we received Lazarus, a severe neglect case. He has been steadily gaining weight and his hoof has improved. He is not a 100% and we are working toward getting him a therapeutic boot. We did have a medical emergency with him. Well, two actually. Although, we cannot specifically pinpoint why, lazarus has choked twice. The first time we had to have the vet out to clear two blockages in his esophagus. The second time I was there and caught it immediately. He was able to clear it on his own. There are no obvious abnormalities with his esophagus but we are soaking his grain as a preventative measure. learn more about choke: http://www.thehorse.com/articles/10022/choke-esophageal-obstruction
On 11/27/16 we found Marley down in the pasture. it was raining pretty heavily and the footing was slippery. Tragically, Marley broke a hind leg and had to be euthanized. I have had a really hard time talking about it. In fact, this is the first time I have publicly discussed it. Marley was very special to me. They all are but... I don't know. I just couldn't find peace with this. Marley was one of the worst cases of starvation and neglect we have encountered. She made such a comeback and really worked hard to overcome her baggage. She was beautiful, sensitive, and so so smart. She had just come home, I say home, this was her home. She had just come home after having been adopted for over two years. No fault of her own. I just wasn't prepared for the loss. Are you ever? She was only 9 and the grief I felt, feel, has been beyond words. She was so special and i miss her so deeply. I needed the time to grieve privately because there are still so many that depend on me, us, to go on. So, we do. That is rescue. You never forget, you lose a piece of yourself every time, and you keep going.
On September 22 we welcomed Lazarus into TLER. We had been contacted by the Riverside Department of Animal Services regarding a badly neglected horse in need of placement. His feet were shod and very overgrown. AC had owners remove shoes and have him trimmed. Thank you to G.H. for covering intake cost and Cristine S. for being his monthly sponsor. Thanks to them we were able to offer a home. We picked up Lazarus at a small residence. How and where was a horse being housed? We found him behind the house in a 12 x 12 corral, full of manure, no water, no shelter, no food. Lazarus dragged us out of the place and lterally jumped into the trailer. JUMPED! The vet felt his age was in mid 20s but according to his lip tattoo he is most likely Wazzu Willy at 19 years old...his teeth look so much older! He is underweight and very lame on his front hoof. We had his hoof Xrayed and he does have mild rotation of the coffin bone (mechanical founder), bad seedy toe, and a toe crack. Individually these things would not be a big deal. Together they are causing a lot of discomofrt. Maybe an abscess brewing as well? Andy, our farrier, came out and put pads and shoes on. This will help with stability. Hoping he is more comfortable soon. In the meantime, he is putting on weight well.
We say goodbye to our one of our sanctuary residents, Sundance. Sundance was discovered by a friend wasting away in a backyard with other horses, out of view of the public eye. We hiked in and discovered the horses emaciated, no food, dirty waters, standing in poop, rain rot coats,...a mess. We took pictures and forwarded them to Animal Control. Long story short, Sundance to came to us. She began putting weight on, battled cellulitis and skin problems, and eventually made a full recovery. She had a very crooked front leg that made her a companion only. So, she joined our sanctuary. In her late teens, the crooked leg became arthritic. She was kept comfortable and pasture sound on previcox. I called her 'My Special' and she loved getting her carrot with her pill in it every day. She loved that I would sneak her grain. She would 'flamingo' for treats and hold her leg up like a flamingo. She had doe eyes and was so kind. Children loved her and she loved them. Recently her arthritis got worse and we were unable to keep her comfortable. I held her head cradled in my arms. As she drew her last breath she heard I Love You, and was gone. She was so loved and given a great last chapter in life. I just wish it could have been longer. Loved and missed always. So easy to dwell on the grief and sadness. Rescue is difficult but thankful for the gifts we are able to give these horses, from a great life, to a dignified ending. It is worth it. They are worth it. Love you Sundance
Welcome Hodor. Hodor is a young Yorkshire X who found himself in need of a home after the sanctuary he was residing in was closing its doors. His options were auction or the family that came to raise him for meat. Thanks to his generous sponsors, we were able to offer sanctuary. Hodor is very social and loves his walks. He even has his own Facebook page! We are looking for a House of Hodor for him because, as you know, 'winter is coming'(Game of Thrones quote. Couldn't help myself). So, keep your eye out!
Dolly is our mini pony recovering from founder. A couple of months ago she developed painful abscesses in her front hooves that just wouldn't resolve. It was a big setback. We started her on antibiotics and am happy to say we are back on track. Although, she will need radiographs soon to how well her hooves are doing. The radiographs will run about $300 and we could use your help! We are looking for a sponsor to cover the cost.
Miss Kitty, one of our sanctuary horses, was just evaluated under saddle and found to be AMAZING. at 25 she is sound, dead broke, and smooth as butter. Really nice girl.
This past weekend I noticed a painful swelling on the side of Franky's face. We put him on bute and made an appointment for the vet to check him out. He was seen yesterday and does, indeed, have an abscess. So, he is on a course of antibiotics. We are hoping that does the trick!
Our monthly feed bill is $6000/mo
Our monthly farrier bill is $800-1000/mo
Our previcox bill is $100/mo
Our monthly vet bill varies but $500/mo average
We are a donation funded, volunteer run organization. We just simply cannot continue without your help. Please consider a donation today! thank you!
At the beginning of March, RCDAS had a large confiscate case. 24 thoroughbreds were rescued from starvation and neglect. Because of the nature of the case, they have been released to rescue only. We wanted to help. So, we started a GoFundMe to raise the funds to rescue Music Award, one of the 24 horses. Well, yesterday we discovered she had already been taken by a rescue. That's great news! So, we are now taking the raised funds, with permission from donors, to rescue another. Yesterday, we visited the shelter and fell in love with Souci. There are three at that particular shelter and let me tell you, not easy picking. I wish we could take all three. How do we decide? well, Souci practically crawled in our pocket and she is infamous for not trailering. She had had an adopter but she wouldn't load. That kind of red flagged her. She also has an eye issue. I'm not sure how much of an issue it is, or whether it is treatable, but she has some white spots in one eye. Those two factors made her more urgent than the other two. It's tough choosing. I wish we could take all three. Stay tuned for Souci's arrival.
Where do I even begin with this story? Toby, our rescue's namesake, and love of my life, was a show horse. Before he was rescued he was a stallion and sired one baby. She was a girl named Little Bit. Fast forward 8 years. I get a call from a friend named Lyn. She was contacted about several TWHs that needed to be rehomed. They have been well cared for and loved but owners had moved and had been boarding. She felt it was time to place them. Well, Lyn connected the dots, discovered one was Toby's baby, and called me. She is all that is left in this world, aside from memories, of Toby. I said Yes, yes, and YES! speaking with the owner she asked if I would take Little bit's mom. She is 24 years old and has never been separated from Little Bit...YES! Then, she asked about Rowdy. Rowdy is an 8 year old TWH. He is a hunk of a handsome guy. How could I say no? So, he will be looking for a home. They arrived yesterday, are settling in. Miss Kitty will join our sanctuary group at the rescue. Little Bit will be our personal horse(not a part of the rescue), and Rowdy is available for adoption.
Tortuga joined the established league of geldings yesterday. The castration was a little less than routine and our veterinarian had to return and place some sutures in today. He is non the worse for wear and will be able to return to the pasture tomorrow. Darby has been fostering at Terin's house while her two babies were here for training. She returned last weekend and hasn't missed a beat in training. Be sure to check out her profile. She is available for adoption and I can't believe she hasn't been snatched up! Sadly, Cali was returned by her adopter through no fault of her own. We offered to let Cali stay for a little while to see if her adopter could get back on her feet. Unfortunately, it is not a possibility and Cali will be looking for her new family. She is such a sweetheart and I hope she is able to find her forever home.