Sunday, June 12, 2011


And Then There Was Sophie . . .

If you remember, when Dudely returned to THE FARM he brought with him his pasture mate, Sophie. This Clyde mare had been rescued by Refuge Farms from the eastern side of Wisconsin along with The Buckskin and The Morgan. ClydeMare, as I had called her, had thrived with Dudely and in Wanda's cares. She had been delivered to Wanda very, very thin and her coat was filthy. She was difficult to handle and bossy. Everything you would expect from a big mare that had been starved and not cared for.

Upon returning to THE FARM, Dudely made it clear that the Old Barn he would not share. Nor would he share the round bale in the old barn. So ClydeMare was stuck out in the elements and if you recall, this spring was laden with cold rains, snow, and wind. It wasn't long before we moved her into the corral with a shelter and a round bale of hay of her own.

Sophie, as Wanda had called her, did not thrive here. Too many people. All alone in the corral. Too many horses around her. She dropped weight and became agitated. Her best home was a two horse setting in a quiet neighborhood. And so, I began the search for such a home for Sophie.

And then along came Deb. A gentle woman. Intelligent. Very intuitive. And extremely sensitive to the needs of her horses. Deb was looking for a pasture mate for her elderly gelding, Scout. His pasture mate had crossed a bit ago and Deb felt Scout needed a horse to accompany him. Deb visited us here one weekend and met Sophie for the first time.

Deb and I have communicated via emails and I, for some reason, have saved those emails. Now I know why. I'm going to let Deb's emails tell you the story from here. Read on if you want to read a love story. A story of devotion. A story of the perfect placement. A story of recovery. Sophie landed beautifully with Deb! You'll see! Read on and you'll see how it is supposed to be when a horse needing love and care meets her destined caretaker.

We begin on the day after Deb first visited Sophie here at THE FARM:

Sun 4/03/11 2:44 PM: I slept on it, got out some books, talked to a few people, including my husband, and decided a “gentle giant” would be a wonderful addition to our little hobby farm. So, if you still want me to foster ClydeMare, I would love to. The nesting instinct is setting in! Hope to hear from you soon. deb

Wed 5/04/11 8:57 PM: . . . the road is very straight & after almost a mile, you will go down a steep, winding hill. We are the first house on the right at the bottom. . . red outbuildings, big beige house. Excited lady in the driveway.

Sat 5/07/11 3:52 PM: Thank you so much again for everything! It has been a blast observing the horse behavior between these two! Sophie finally did go out in the pasture and Scout paced when she got too far away. She is staying very close to him, eating hay, chowing grass, drinking water and checking up on Scout as much as he is on her. I'm lovin' it Sandy! And they seem happy too! Thank you! Deb

Sun 5/08/11 9:44 AM: Isn't she beautiful? Does she wear eye make-up?

Sun 5/08/11 6:05 PM: Sophie and Scout are acting lovey again over the gate.

Mon 5/09/11 5:43 PM: I will be glad to take Scout's halter off, but with this next step thought it safe just in case. Uneventful. Sophie is very mellow! Ahhhhhhh :-)

Mon 5/09/11 8:44 PM: Scout is being really nice, no “hoof business,” even nickering to Sophie tonight over the fence while I was with her and giving her some great ear scratches and neck rubs. Scout came over to visit Sophie and me! Good night, backatcha tomorrow!

Tue 5/10/11 9:01 PM: I really will get over this, I promise. They are both in the “pen” for the night, without halters. I threw some sweet feed on her SC and she ate it. They are in love. He lets her do anything—she has mellowed him! It was 100% uneventful when we put them together later today, but beautiful to watch. I took about 75 pictures. I won’t send them all! :-0

Fri 5/13/11 7:10 PM: All is well--we're getting it! Scout did run thru a gate today though, as he was fired up w/the cool, breezy morning. Sophie just trotted behind him,totally mellow. She is so sweet Sandy! I brushed both of them early--can't wait to work on Sophie's legs! This picture is first day on roadside pasture, so halters on...just makes me feel better when they're so close to the road. Good luck with your weekend event! I'll check in next week.

Fri 5/13/11 10:30 PM: Thanks Sandy. We just love Sophie--she is so laid back… and just has to tame her new man! :-0

Mon 5/16/11 1:08 PM: Sophie and Scout are doing really well together—funny, at first he was in love, then he got bossy, and now he’s mellowed again. And what I really love is Sophie NEVER lets Scout get her riled. She’s like an older, wiser woman w/a little boy who never grew up; but at other times, they both look very much like two seniors just enjoying their old age. Scout has lots of calmness too!

Mon 5/16/11 7:51 PM: (Our adopted 2002 stray, "Boxster," who is a sweetheart, and rules.) A quick note to say what a wonderful day/evening I've had with Sophie and Scout. She got her meds and I think Scout has figured out I have enough love for both of them! (If only the hair we brush off our equines was worth money!!!)

Tue 5/17/11 7:52 PM: New POA: Giving Sophie her Pergolide in the early evening, with a syringe, and then all of her SafeChoice right after in a hanging bucket I bought at Fleet Farm today. Went well--I just mixed the Perg w/a little water. Maybe tomorrow night she'll spit it all out in my face :-o Don't have to tie them for feed as Scout gets the same thing, he's content and they both eat very very slowly...Just an old couple happy to be together. Sophie's halter is one I bought 5 years ago for Scout and it was WAY too big, so never used it, until now...:-) When I'm home all day, I don't halter them, but when we both are gone for awhile, I'm still keeping a halter on. They are both still learning their gates to the four pastures (Sophie teaching Scout) but they are doing beautifully!

Tue 5/17/11 10:11 PM: That little/big mare is medicine for me too…and John gets along with her just fine. I’m looking forward to he and I “ridin’ around the pastures!” Sophie has become one of my best friends. And Scout is OK with that! I’m going to keep brushing until the gleam is glamorous!!!

Wed 5/18/11 9:30 PM: Sophie was ready for me tonight, when I came with her meds. What an intelligent and sweet girl!! However, all went well, with some sweet talkin' from me. We all love her.

Thu 5/19/11 9:43 PM: I wonder when I will get over these daily updates… Scout was hilarious tonight—I was in a grooming mood and he was SO competitive and jealous of my attention to Sophie. But I have to brag that I had awesome communication with both of them, and everything went fine. It was adorable how Scout was attached at my hip, following me around to make sure I didn’t go near Sophie…but that changed after I reassured him. He really does love Sophie, and me too! This is FUN Sandy. Sophie is such a sweetie!! She does NOT like her medicine, but is letting me squirt it into her mouth, and then she gets her feed. Then they both spend at least a half-hour slowly eating their feed. So cute. Thanks……deb

Sat 5/21/11 8:01 PM: Today Sophie was laying down relaxing, then started getting up, lost her balance and plopped/fell back down. The photo I sent was right after that. She continued to lay awhile but was up grazing within 10 minutes and just fine. (she’s so much like an elderly person—who I care for in my job.) Scout IS happier w/Sophie, yet he’s changed some—quieter and more affectionate toward me. (Thanks Sophie!!!) They’ve gotten into a routine and seem very content. I wish I could see how they interact in the dark overnight hours. Sophie did a big “teethy-smile-face” yesterday when I squirted in her meds. Today she just quietly accepted. She knows the routine. Thanks Sandy and glad the sale is going well!

Sun 5/22/11 9:42 PM: Wild weekend weather for your sale—hope it still went well!!! Scout has always been riled up by storms but today he and Sophie stood calmly in the pasture with their behinds to the winds and heavy rain, just grazing. She, a wise woman, has tamed him. We just love her.

Wed 5/25/11 8:25 PM: Tomorrow is set aside for grooming! I'm looking forward to it and hope the weather cooperates and I can be outside! She is a nice horse, so easy going!

Fri 5/27/11 6:26 PM: This morning when I went out Sophie was laying down and Scout standing right next to her. Nice to see she can rest on the ground, peacefully, with her guy keeping watch ;-) They’ve hardly taken a break today from the pasture, enjoying the cool, rainy weather.

Tue 6/07/11 11:05 PM: Meanwhile…I’m just so thrilled to have Sophie here and I love doting on her. Next 4 days totally free—I’m so lucky—so I’ll be brushing. Her coat is sleek and lovely, but with the heat/sweating, needs some attention. My biggest victory is that Scout accepts and welcomes Sophie. He does have to be boss, but he’s very easy going with Sophie, which he wasn’t with his former companion, Magic, my other gelding…. (He likes his Girl!)

P.S. John and I went to check on S&S right at dark and we could NOT find Sophie. Scout was in the “pen/corral.” Then I spotted Sophie all the way at the end of the pasture and John said, “That’s where the eating is the best!” Then I asked Scout, “WHERE is Sophie?” and w/in a minute Scout trotted out of the corral and loped out to the end of the pasture and joined Sophie. It was TOO cute. We are truly enjoying Sophie!

What did I tell you? Love, pure love. Devotion and gentle caring. As it should be.

Thanks, Deb! From all of us at Refuge Farms and especially from Sophie! She looks remarkable, her butt is round, and her coat just gleams! As I've told you, when I come back I want to come back as a horse in your barn.

Enjoy the journey of each and every day,
Sandy and The Herd and a very happy Sophie!

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