Thursday, January 7, 2010

Coming Home...and Actual Horse Adventure News

It was dusk by the time we got home and Coconut unloaded in the driveway of her new home at KCJ with several onlookers. She was understandably nervous so I walked her around and let he nibble on some grass for a few moments while we made a plan to introduce her to her new pasture and pasture-mate. Ken asked me if I had her shot records and since Jean Elledge had never come to the Monroe pasture that day, I wasn’t able to get any of that information from her. Ken decided to quarantine her until we could get the records or get a vet out to give her new vaccines. He placed her in a nice pasture behind his house and gave her some hay…she was in heaven, for sure!

I went back to the barn and asked Kelli if she needed any help getting the trailer cleaned up but she insisted on doing it herself but had already begun to tell the other boarders about what we’d seen that day and what a horrible place Coconut had come from. One of the boarders asked me if Coconut was in foal. I had to admit that I didn’t know but I’d find out as soon as possible. She had a very round belly and while I was trying not to think about it too much at the moment, it certainly needed addressing. One of the other boarders, Glenna, upon hearing the story suggested I call Pasado Safe Haven to see about getting someone to do a well check on the horses that were still there.

On Monday I got in touch with the folks at Pasado Safe Haven and they informed me that there was nothing they could do to help these horses without a police report. I called the Sheriff’s department in Monroe and told them about the horrible conditions these horses were in and that I felt very strongly that someone needed to do a well check on all 3 pastures out there. He said that without an address, there was no way to make a report. I offered to drive out there, meet a deputy and show them where the horses were and I was told “Lady, you could come out and sit in our lobby for 3 days and we might not get someone free enough to come out with you!” …Basically…. they didn’t have time and never once gave me an alternative about what to do. They didn’t inform me that Snohomish County actually had an Animal Control Department. They didn’t direct me to a rescue, which there are many in the area but I didn’t know who or where they were. Basically, they didn’t care! I felt bad…horribly bad…but I also had a horse in need of my help now here, back at home in our new barn.

Later that day I met the vet, Kent Tooman, who happened to be coming out on another call. He pronounced Coconut in good conformation, gave her a full set of vaccinations & aged her at about 10 years old, even though her original ad said she was 12. Her hooves were going to require some work but he said I’d gotten a pretty nice horse, especially considering the circumstances. I had him worm her and we decided on a supplement. I asked if she was pregnant and he thought the belly was grass fat, not a foal. Dr. Tooman really liked how mellow she was. He rubbed her all over and she just stood there. He was impressed…and I was thankful!

Next out was the farrier, John D’Alesandro who pronounced her feet in poor condition. It wasn’t that they were too long, but they showed signs of poor nutrition and were soggy, probably from standing in wet pastures and mud for so long. Not to worry, he said, we’ll get her fixed up but said it would take about a year to grow out that unhealthy hoof and as long as I had no plans to ride her hard or on lots of different surfaces, we should be fine keeping her barefoot. He also remarked that she had good confirmation but needed some conditioning. He told me that he liked this mare, which, over the years, I’ve come to understand that he doesn’t give out that stamp of approval very often. I was pleased!

Over the next few months we just hung out mostly. She enjoyed me coming to groom her and new pasture pal, Quincy, also took to the pampering sessions. Eventually we moved on to going for strolls and some arena work. The belly was not shrinking and I started to consider baby names. I finally decided that no matter what it might be, I’d name it Key Lime Pie. A nod to the “Lime In The Coconut” song… By March 2007 I had decided that I needed to know for sure if she was pregnant and requested that Dr. Tooman come out and palp her. He pronounced her 100% Not Pregnant! YAY…or so I thought. We beefed up the lung work and I saddled her up. I even sat on her a few times but she would never do more than bend that flexible Arabian neck of hers and put her nose on my boot as if to ask “why are you touching me with THAT?” Forward was not apparently in her vocabulary & I didn’t even know a single word in Arabian (not Arabic…that I actually do know a word or two!).

I thought about that pasture in Monroe often and worried about the horses up there. Anytime I got the ear of anyone even slightly horse-related, I told them the story and hoped that someday some one would tell me what more I could do since the officials didn’t seem to want to help. I even talked with folks from a couple different rescues but still no one offered the solution. I apparently didn’t talk to the RIGHT rescue! The point is that I kept talking. I figured I couldn’t just let the memory fade away. I had my hands full at home but certainly someone might someday tell me what could be done.

By now I was living the dream…well, mostly! I had the horse, I had a saddle, I had some boots but somehow none of those things connected enough to fulfill my fantasy about cantering off over the hill. But I had a purpose. This horse, by now referred to as The Princess or Coco-Nutty, was my life. A day was not complete without a visit to the barn and to see those beautiful eyes and here that nicker as I approached her. Who knew it could fill your heart so?

Next up in the tale …Training & Some Tough Times…

...but now for a little break in the Coconut Story for some exciting “adventure” news…
(I knew I couldn't go a whole week without SOME new horse project!)

Les & I got our tickets to the KENTUCKY DERBY & the OAKS yesterday. I believe this will be our 6th time and we’ll be joined by my Brother-In-Law, Michael & a friend of his. Les had the foresight to book a room awhile back. This time we will not be staying in Shelbyville. I’ve come to love Shelbyville, the home of the Saddle bred! In fact I’ve often fantasized about moving to there. But this time we’re staying in Indiana, directly across the river from Downtown Louisville and a mere 6 miles from Churchill Downs.

It’s exciting to start REALLY planning for all we want to do there. It also happens to be MY Birthday week so I intend to call dibs on as many horse related activities as I can. I’ve already written to Michael Blowen at Old Friend’s Thoroughbred Retirement Facility to find out if they’ll be hosting any kind of party and heard back already that there’s a party being thrown in their honor on Thursday before the Derby and that they’ll be hosting their “Homecoming” on Sunday. That makes me very happy. Last year I came home from their Homecoming with a giant oil painting. I really wanted Jazil’s leather halter but I could only watch one auction item at a time and the painting won, or rather I won it! I’m also hoping to dig up some more Horse Fun while we’re out there so check back, I’ll be updating more as we get closer to DERBY WEEK!!!!!

Check Out Old Friends and see their amazing organization for giving a retirement home to ex race horses.

One more Horse Adventure note: My trainer, Crissy & I had a meeting with a Race Barn Owner/friend of mine and had a great conversation about re-homing Thoroughbreds who either don’t make to the track or don’t cut it on the track. We shared some really good ideas and I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to help him network for the horses. I think there’s a fantastic opportunity to put a program together that can serve as an example to the local racing community in regards to non (or no longer) racing Thoroughbreds in Washington State. Right now the proposal is to work through the Racehorse Rehoming Program at Save A Forgotten Equine (S.A.F.E.) and work towards creating a plan that starts at birth on how to best equip these horses to life after racing. I hope to have lots more news in regards to that soon!

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