Sunday, December 11, 2011


Merry Christmas, Little Gracie!

As this Christmas season accelerates into high speed all around me, I find myself looking for real, tangible examples of the original purpose to the season. We all know the story of being born in a manger with cattle and sheep and camels and mules nearby. So, I guess it comes as no surprise that I find myself in the barns more and more each day this December. Looking for the scene that tells me, "Here. Here is Christmas. Right here."

This morning I sat and read the emails and looked at the pictures of Gracie. You see, I can't go to the barn to see Gracie. I need to look at pictures, sent to me from Gracie's Auntie Trish. Gracie is getting older and the cold weather shuts her down. Last winter, before you could blink, that little wonder of a horse lost over sixty pounds and had no interest in food. She was cold. And no number of blankets could warm her up. Nothing I could make for her would entice her to eat. She just needed to be warm.

Once we relocated her and enough time passed to get her warm again all the way through, her appetite resumed and gradually she restored her lost weight. She blossomed and showed us that had been fine. Just cold. It was no surprise, then, that even as early as last Spring, I was searching and searching for a warm home for Gracie this winter.

Now everyone loves Gracie, and I mean that sincerely. I have never, ever met a human who has met Gracie that didn't fall in love with her. Adore her. Smile when they looked at her. But to take on the cares of an elderly little horse, that is blind, is a big responsibility. Especially when the Mother of that horse is as particular and outspoken as Gracie's Mother happens to be!

But Trish I knew. I came to know her in a hole of mud with a horse mannequin as we wrestled with straps and clamps and knots and mud. Oh, the mud . . . And I soon found that this woman was genuine and for real. And I liked what I saw. Our relationship grew and it was centered around our mutual love for the horse. Trish is a private rescuer and her Jake and Willy are living testaments to her cares and understanding of the horse. In a short time, I grew to trust Trish. And that, my friends, doesn't happen easily or frequently.

So when Trish offered to bring Gracie to the facility where Jake and Willy live, I listened intently. And I registered it in the back of my mind. It would mean that Gracie would be four hours away. That Gracie would have to leave these barns for a good five months and that her daily cares and health monitoring would be in the hands of others. I would need to trust Trish with Little Gracie.

It was the day after The Fall Gala & Auction that Trish loaded Gracie into her trailer and transported her to Dale and Shelby's barn. A beautiful facility with a heated stall for Little Gracie. And a young daughter, Ainsley, who would be put "in charge" of insuring Gracie was brushed and loved on a daily basis. Trish's partner in her horse ownership, Jerry, would be checking on Gracie during the day. And, of course, Trish would be with Gracie whenever she was in the barn for her Willy and Jake.

The barn here at Refuge Farms is quiet without that little horse. I find myself waking and wondering about temperatures and wind and then I remember that Gracie is in a heated stall with fresh bedding. And I say a prayer of thanks.

I say "thank you" for the day I met this woman, Trish, in that hot, humid, muddy hole. And I say "thank you" for Jerry and Ainsley and for the facility owners, Dale and Shelby. And I say a special "thank you" for Trish's Mother, Louise, who is sponsoring Gracie's expenses of feed and shavings and hay and hoof care. These people extended their love of the horse to include Little Gracie and what a gift their love has been!

My attempts to tell you how Gracie is settling in would be weak, at best. So I am going to pass on some of the emails and pictures I have received from Trish. You'll see for yourself how genuine Trish and this community of people are. You'll see the love they have for this little blind pony. And you'll see that Gracie is, indeed, safe. Becoming spoiled rotten, but she is safe! And warm.

Merry Christmas, Little Gracie. Your present this year is Auntie Trish and her Mother, Louise, who made all this possible. Enjoy your winter and your new family of people and horses. We love you, Gracie and look forward to your return. Until then, though, I rest easy. Merry Christmas, Little Gracie. Merry Christmas, little horse.

November 7, 2011

Hey Sandy,

Here are some candid shots of Gracie Girl meeting my Willy boy. Willy became extremely protective of her in a very short time. I will continue to work with Jake to see if we can get him to come around and like Gracie Girl. For now Gracie has a stall in between Max and Mocha who come in at night. She seems to favor Max over Mocha and plays kissy face through the bars with him (don't tell Willy).

My friend Jerry (who is Jake's Dad) comes out every afternoon to feed Willy and Jake some hay and he checks on Gracie to make sure she has enough of everything. I am guessing he probably gives her lots of treats and loving as well. He is known as the treat man of the farm. Since she is used to having a round bale of hay in front of her at all times I have put an entire bale of hay in her stall and will keep an entire bale in front of her at all times so she has it whenever she wants it. She is eating her hay and nibbling on her SafeChoice. She has been drinking water, but not as much as I would prefer, but she is drinking, and her poop is solid and formed and she is peeing normally.

She seems happy in her temporary winter get away home, and the joke has become this is her winter vacation home. My plan for right now is to keep her in her stall during the day unless I am there and then she will be in the indoor arena with Willy and hopefully Jake at some point. I am usually out there 3 - 4 hours so she will be in there for a good few hours a day. I am also planning on keeping her in there with Willy and I and Jake and I while we ride so she can get some exercise and fresh air and some interaction time without a stall wall between her and the other horse.

If I can get her acclimated to Jake and Jake acclimated to her she will be able to spend some of her time outside in their dry lot with them. Until then she will have some wonderful one on one loving time with Willy. I must admit I was very surprised at how gentle and caring Willy was of her. He has already claimed her as his, and I was told by Jerry when he went out tonight to check on everyone that they were calling back and forth to one another. Willy has always been a caretaker and his caretaker role really developed after Pepsi crossed over. I was hoping Jake would have taken on the care taker role, but your insight into Jake's behavior was very helpful to me.

I find myself being OVERLY PROTECTIVE of Gracie and driving home tonight I realized I need to take a deep breath and let go, because she is safe and in good hands when I am not there. She will have a dry, warm stall with buddies at night and she will have her alone time with Willy and hopefully Jake, and she will continue to miss you and her herd, but she will be happy and eventually will be back home with her original family.

Gracie is getting her first hoof trimming tomorrow with my trimmer and I. So rest assured Gracie is doing wonderfully, and I am continuing to breath deeply and learning to let go a little bit at a time and realize Gracie is tough as nails.

I reassured Gracie your Four Promises are honored at my farm as well. I will continue to send pictures for your enjoyment.


November 11, 2011

Hi Sandy,

I just wanted to share my evening with you and what happened to me for the first time in my life with Willy boy.

Willy is very much my horse and I am very much his human. He does not leave my side for anything or anyone when we are together, and this has been proven and tested on many occasions.

Well, last night Willy boy left me for Gracie Girl. I had them out in the indoor together for some fresh air and play time, and they pretty much played kissy face and groomed one another the entire time. Willy had to be reminded a few times by a high pitched squeal from Gracie that she is not a big horse and he cannot groom her as hard as he does with Jake. Willy is a quick learner and stopped grooming so hard.

I figured they had enough loving time and it was time for Willy to come and play on the ground with Mom. Well, that lasted about a whole 2 minutes. Gracie decided to wander around at her wonderfully cautious Gracie pace, and she found herself heading for the nearest wall. Willy got worried eyes and kept looking at her and looking at me. I could read his mind, Sandy: "Mom, she really needs me!"

Keep in mind I was working Willy at liberty as I often do, and have had few problems in the past with him leaving me for someone or something else. Well, he just couldn't take the site of Gracie (his girl) walking into the wall so he very abruptly left me and rescued her. He ran between her and the wall and guided her into the center of the arena, and decided he needed to stand watch over her the rest of their time outside. This ended his time with me, because how could I ask him not to take care of Gracie and give me attention?

So, for the first time in my life with Willy, he has left me. My only saving grace is he left me for a horse and not another human, and, if it had to be a horse, I am glad it was a cute one like Gracie. Needless to say my feelings were hurt a little bit, but I quickly got over it and joined them in the center of the arena and joined in the grooming session. They both got nice massages from me, and I in return got slobbered on by Willy and hugged by Gracie.

All in all it was a wonderful night. Thinking the fun was over when I returned them to their stalls; I was surprised to find Cisco (a kitten)curled up in Gracie's hay, and very much refusing to get out of her stall; so I left her in there to find her own way out. Keep in mind I found Cisco curled up in Gracie's hay the day before and Gracie had eaten around her. Gracie is curious about the cats, and seems to not mind them, and they all seem to be drawn to her stall.

Gracie was one tired girl and no doubt her feet are a little sore from her trim, so she decided to lay flat out and sleep. Well, in walking Willy out of the barn he called to Gracie and she got on her feet and greeted him at the stall door for one last kiss good night. I took one look at Willy and told him he was pathetic, and he responded with a sloppy kiss to my face (no doubt he was reassuring me he still loves me to).


November 16, 2011

Mom (Louise)is sponsoring her hoof care (feed, bedding, and hay). I am just using the monthly sponsorship Mom is giving for whatever she needs at the time. I will sponsor the rest if there is anything extra. She is doing really well.

Ainsley is the little girl in the pictures. She goes out every night and says goodnight to Gracie.

Cisco, the kitten in the picture with her, is sleeping in her stall with her now almost on a daily basis. Everyone hugs on her, too. I told Jerry not to get too attached, and he said "too late." She is part of our family here now, and it will be hard come spring when she goes back home, but we will enjoy her until that time.

Yesterday when I got there she was laying down sound asleep in her stall and where was Cisco? Curled up on top of her sound asleep herself. They are becoming two peas in a pod and are seldom apart.

There is definitely something very magical about her. Something very magical indeed.


November 26, 2011

Hey Sandy,

I hope the attachments come through. They are pictures of a week in the life of Gracie. She hangs out in the indoor with me, Willy, and Jake and follows Willy around when I ride him. She is also getting comfortable with her surroundings and is walking around exploring on her own a bit. On the nights I have to work late she gets to do laps up and down the barn aisle with Jerry or Nancy.

She really puts a lot of food (hay) away, and I am not sure where it is all going! She is doing well though, but misses her family and you. Ainsely, the little girl, gave Gracie a stocking for her stall. She is soooo in love with Gracie and goes out to the barn every night to say goodnight to her and kiss her nose.

There are going to be a lot of broken hearts when Gracie goes home, but they will all be happy she gets to go home and be back with her family. She is such a sweet, sweet horse.

Hope all is well.


Reading these messages, you can see for yourself how devoted and caring these people are to Gracie. And you can see, too, how Little Gracie is taking full advantage of them, isn't she!!

Refuge Farms will be sending a Christmas basket to Gracie on Monday, December 19th. If you would like to add a note of appreciation or a note to Gracie or horse treats or even some cat treats to the package, please drop your items off at THE FARM before the 19th. I will be sure to send a special note to Louise, Gracie's sponsor, and to the owners of the facility, Dale and Shelby. And, of course, a note of thanks to Auntie Trish.

And if you would like to mail something to the owners, to Ainsley, to Louise, to Trish, or to Gracie directly, just email me and I will forward you Gracie's "winter vacation home" address. Hah! Did you ever know a horse with a winter vacation home?

Merry Christmas, Little Gracie!

Enjoy the journey of each and every day,
Sandy and The Jealous Herd!

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