Yes it's been too long between updates...sorry! I've been dealing with some major medical issues but that's no excuse.
Takoda is at his new home and is learning the new routine and meeting his fellow residents. I, on the other hand, am facing a mound of medical co-pays that are stretching the budget beyond belief.
Since the last update a couple of trailers have popped up in our price range but were gone before I could even get a phone call through. It's been a really tough search but today a ray of sunshine has appeared. What appears to be a very nice 2 horse trailer, with bumper pull, has popped up on the horizon. I still have to go see it in person to be sure of it's value and what work may need to be done for Takoda's safety and comfort. If it works out we are just $500.00 away from ownership and getting our show on the road. There may be a delay as the current owner can't lay her hands on the title but she's assured me she has one and could get a copy from the state. Folks, I know many of you have already helped us a great deal to get to the point we are now...I would really hate to see another opportunity pass us by. If you can find it in your heart (and pocketbook) to help us it would be so greatly appreciated. This has been an exhaustive search and I hope it lives up to the owner's description of past care and current condition. Thanks to all of you. With your support hopefully we'll be on the road soon to help raise funding for the rescue's here in Southwest Florida.
It's been some time since my last update and for that I apologize. We got no help in relocating Takoda to another pasture and for the past few weeks have been working to detox a very sick horse. You see the pasture where he is currently located has two problems...Brazilian Pepper plants and Johnson grass both of which are toxic to horses the worst being the peppers. Apparently these plants were imported a hundred or so years ago because of their bright red berries as competition to holly for Christmas decoration. They are quite prolific and very hard to kill. The leaves and the fruit are both toxic to horses and apparently Takoda consumed enough to make him very very sick. It seems that congesting them, even a little, over a period of time allows the toxins to build up to the point it could be deadly! Johnson grass is not so toxic to horses as it is to cows but it still contains cyanide which makes the toxicity levels even worse. I have talked with the land owner who is aware but has yet to do anything about the problems. The Brazilian Pepper plants, for the most part, are rooted on the neighbors side of the fence and hang over into Takoda's pasture. The root system is quite large and plants have started coming up in the pasture to boot and are spreading rapidly. Poisons to kill them are expensive and even those used by licensed landscapers take nearly 2 months to kill the plant and it's entire root system. With that said I've had to invest heavily in making sure there is fresh hay available at all times as an alternative forage source. As for the funding I've watched trailers in the $2500 to $4000 range go by unable to even make a bid. I hope you will help us as we still have a goal in mind to help equine rescues continue their important work. Just a couple of weeks ago 9 horses were picked up by the Sheriff due to malnutrition and neglect by their owner. Abuses are mentioned on the news almost daily. Rescues need our help...can you spare a few dollars for the cause?
Although I'm having to move Takoda back to the rescue until other arrangements can be made we still are looking to purchase a trailer. The current landlord has denied us credit for half a months rent we did not utilize. It also appears, although he has been paid for this month in full, he will not want to refund the unused days in the pasture. Although he promised to build Takoda a barn if I supplied the power poles for the frame (which I did via a kind donation) it has been nearly 3 months and the poles are still on the trailer. We are coming to the rainy season and Takoda is currently alone in the pasture as the owner sold his cows to market. Therefore the move back to the rescue where Takoda will have pasture mates and a big enough stall for feeding and weathering. We have missed multiple opportunities by not having a trailer at our disposal and many more are coming up this year. We also would like to be able to help transport other horses in need of rescue or rehoming in the SW Florida area. Please share what you can. Many horse rescues are on the verge of bankruptcy. Every one that goes under means more horses have to be absorbed by the remaining rescues meaning more feed, hay, farrier and vet bills etc. No amount is too small. Every little bit helps us to move forward with our mission. Won't you help? You are all advocates and animal lovers so don't just click the 'LIKE' button...click the "DONATE" button and do some good for our equines in need. Thanks so much to those who have been so generous. Your names will adorn the trailer once we find one. If you'd like to have your name showing your support on the trailer then here's your chance...Love to All! Steve and Takoda
It has been some time since our last update. Takoda still needs a trailer so we can hit the road and help raise funding for equine rescues. Animal abuses seem to be on the rise but the good news is more and more states are increasing penalties to felony status and putting people in jail!
BUT...that doesn't pay the feed, vet, or farrier bills! Rescues are in need of donations to exist and for whatever reason people seem to have closed their wallets. Yes they click the 'like' button on Facebook a lot and forward messages with words of encouragement for others to help financially but they themselves don't seem to be willing to follow their own advice.
Over the past couple of public appearances I've found that people hearing the horror story of Takoda and looking at him now with an understanding of the work and effort his recovery has entailed are more likely to reach into their pockets to help.
We need your help with funding...not with just good thoughts and well wishes. We asked artist Angela Lloyd-Briggs if she would offer one of her classic works to help us and she graciously agreed.
Her original pastel, "Down By The Pond" is up for auction. Take a look at this beautiful 16x20 and bid for your chance to own it.
Due to some very nice local gifts we may in fact get a trailer this week. We've been invited to attend a local church picnic to help raise the remaining dollars needed. The seller has given us a great discount and is willing to let us use the trailer to attend the picnic this weekend. Another donation is pending which may in fact seal the deal...please say a prayer! Steve and Takoda
Update...should we be able to secure this trailer I've spotted I will have vinyl decals made with everyone's name (first name and last initial) who donated to make this happen. (If you don't want your name published just let me know.) It will be a tribute to those who support our mission against animal abuse and raising funds and awareness for equine rescues. I would also like to update the website with a complete list of rescue's and their contact information so it will be easy to reference. Obviously these rescues will need to be vetted before being added to our list. Your help in this matter will be of utmost importance. Thanks again! Steve and Takoda
Good News! I've spied a trailer, in good condition, at a good price. It's a light weight 2 horse trailer my old Explorer won't have trouble pulling. We are close to having enough money to purchase and register. $750.00 (remembering this site keeps 10%) will get us there. Please Please help us reach this goal. With a little cosmetic love we can start making plans and setting dates. PayPal is another way with a smaller fee (.04%) There is a yellow "donate" button on the website that leads you there. www.TakodasVision.com
Any amount big or small will be a blessing! Thanks!
Takoda's first parade was a success! He was a bit skittish at first with all the other horses around but he settled in nicely once he made a couple of new friends. Remember he's been alone since he left the rescue where he was one of 13 horses. His pasture now is shared with 2 heifers. The two horses that were pastured across the back fence are gone now the property has changed hands. After the parade was over we started back to the staging area along some back streets. I learned quickly that he was completely comfortable just being with me. He relaxed and we just walked and talked. A friend provided the trailer transportation with a huge 30' four stall trailer which can be loaded from the back or the sides with drop ramps. (a picture of a similar trailer is below) Takoda rode in luxury! The parade banner I had ordered over a month ago was delayed until the night before the early morning parade so there was no time for Takoda to get used to it. When I tried it out before the parade he was not a happy camper and was dancing a jig not knowing what was touching his hind legs so we ditched the $80.00 banner. I'm really upset about the procrastination of the lady who made it. I had told her I needed time for Takoda to adjust before parade day but still she let me down. Twice I had to correct her...the first time she misspelled his name (Takota) and the second time she had forgotten to add "Ambassador Against Animal Abuse". Once it was done it looked really nice and would have let the crowd know that this was the horse they had seen in the newspaper and on the TV news. Oh well...I have time now to work with him for the next time. Speaking of next time my friend with the trailer is leaving in April to go back home to New York (where he was a mounted police officer) so I don't have him to help me after this month. I've decided to skip 'Pioneer Days' as I don't have the corral panels or a trailer to carry them if I borrowed them from the rodeo again. It's very hard doing this alone. I can't do more promotions or schedule any appearances without your support. This week I have to coordinate the transport of the power poles needed for Takoda's pole barn. Six have been donated but 10 are required so I have to buy 4 more or find someone else to donate. Used power poles are bringing $2.00 a foot and I need 14 footers. As I write this I'm getting very depressed and feeling like the hill may be just too high. Until next time...Steve and Takoda
Howdy all! We're preparing for Takoda's first parade appearance this saturday. His parade banner is supposed to be ready today so I will have just a short time to get him used to having a foreign object hitting his back legs while walking. Remember he can't see it. We are having a rash of arrests here in SW Florida for animal neglect and hoarding. 3 just this week. All kinds of animals are affected...dogs, cats, horses, goats, cows...even a snake! I estimate just about 100 animals have now been removed from neglectful homes and are now in governmental care and will eventually be handed over to shelters in hopes they can find them homes. The equine shelters are all strapped for cash. Donations are slim to none and many are operated out of household budgets putting a real strain on the owner's and their families. There are quite a number of events over the next few months that we could attend to help promote funding and stricter laws but without a trailer we can call our own...well you get the picture. Won't you please help? I'm in contact with an animal law attorney who used to work for the state. I'm hopeful she will help us rewrite the laws and get them presented to the State for approval. Right now her case load is such she hasn't the time to give it proper attention. Until then we are on our own and our only hope is your support and financial help so we can carry our message to more and more people. It amazes me the number of folks that have no clue as to the amount of abuse and neglect animals endure. It also amazes me how generous they can be once they know the truth. We want to help spread the news and the presence of a horse at local events, no matter the cause, attracts so many people who can then be educated as to the seriousness of the situation. Takoda attracts attention wherever he goes. He's the perfect 'poster child' for animal abuse and neglect. If we are successful in Florida then it sets an example for other states to follow. To everyone who has donated so far a great big Thank You! To everyone else we're asking for your support as well. You can donate here or if you prefer PayPal visit our website www.takodasvision.com and look for the donate button. Thanks so much in advance...
Steve and Takoda
We were scheduled to be at 1st Saturday which is our traditional Farmer's Market but alas...our transportation wasn't available. It had been advertised on the radio that we would be there and people were asking "Where's Takoda?" I had to explain we didn't have our own trailer but were trying to raise money for one. I was somewhat embarrassed about the whole situation. Please help us...
The trailer I mentioned yesterday shows promise. It needs a new floor ($100.00), tires ($100.00 used) and paint (?). Until we pull it out of the high grass we won't know about the undercarriage and we have to plug in the pigtail to check the electrical. After speaking with the owner and pleading our case I'm thinking I will make an offer. With what has been graciously gifted so far I think we can get this buggy on the road (to include repairs, title transfer and tags) for another $500.00 but here again the underside needs to be inspected. Please help us so we can begin working on fundraising for the rescues. There was a news article just yesterday about a rescue which had been inundated with nearly 20 horses from local authorities. This was on top of the 8 they already had...imagine having to increase the budget that quickly to provide for the animals. This is not a new or unusual situation anymore. It's becoming more and more the norm and even though horse slaughter is illegal in this state there are those who will buy or take them for their meat to be sold on the blackmarket. Your gift of any amount would be greatly appreciated not only by me but the others who we hopefully can help. With the news media attention Takoda has become something of a poster child in the area. More and more I'm recognized and asked about how he's doing. Two invites (unsolicited) to large community events over the next month tells me we've made an impact. Won't you help us keep this going? Enjoy your weekend...
Takoda and I worked on parade etiquette again yesterday. But like with most animals not everyday is a good day. The problem is stopping and standing still with me on his back. Any ideas you have would be greatly appreciated. Please support our mission. I have my eye on an old trailer that would need some bodywork, a new floor, and paint not to mention a heavy duty tarp for a cover over the existing frame. Depending on the price being asked and the title transfer and tag I may have enough to purchase but the renovations would have to be done piecemeal as money is available. Any amount you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
I attended a Chamber of Commerce Expo yesterday. The turnout was sparse and largely appeared apathetic. Donations were slim (enough to buy a bale of hay). Obviously the economic recovery hasn't hit Arcadia yet. Obtaining a trailer is looking much farther down the road and we will miss many events that could be profitable for our equine rescues. We have to look to you and ask for your help otherwise it could be 2015 before we can make an impact. Everyone around here agrees that our animal abuse laws are way too lax and need improving. Tougher penalties need to be handed down and I want to push our state to develop an Animal Abuser Registry similar to what we have for child molesters. New York has already passed this legislation and if others follow suit it could lead to a National Registry. Your gift to our cause could not only help push this agenda but also help feed and provide medical attention to abandoned, neglected and abused equines. Takoda was lucky. He could have very well been destroyed considering his medical needs and physical condition. Won't you please help?
Takoda and I spent a couple of hours yesterday working on parade etiquette. A slow pace, stopping and waiting, strange noises etc. Takoda has the hardest time standing and waiting but he got better as the day went on. The strange noises were provided by a neighbor repairing and replacing fence post. The noise of the auger making post holes was a little spooky for him but it only took a couple of minutes for the adjustment. The bitless bridle is working quite well and Takoda neck reins nicely with the heavier leather reins. He's just such a great horse! Please help us on our mission against animal abuse. We do have a website that is being constructed (slowly) www.takodasvision.com...Take a look!
I got Takoda fed just as the rain drops started falling. About an hour later the sky opened up with a flurry of thunder and lightning and pouring rain. It has all passed now and tomorrow is supposed to be a little cooler. The high tomorrow is only expected to be in the mid 60's. Some how we'll muddle through. To everyone in the path of the current blizzard please be safe! Stay off the roads if you can. You are every one an important part of our great family. You matter!
I'm sorry I didn't get this out last night but I have no excuse other than procrastination. A wonderful friend who received her tax refund handed me a generous gift yesterday. It is greatly appreciated. Maybe if you have a tax refund coming you'll consider helping Takoda and I on our mission to help raise funds for equine rescues and improve animal abuse laws. Here in Florida animal abuse charges are seldom filed as felonies unless the animal dies. That is insane. The laws need to be rewritten with stiffer penalties i.e. JAIL time and an Animal Abuser Registry needs to be created so abusers are never allowed to own animals EVER AGAIN! Please help us...
Takoda heard the truck and came trotting to the gate to greet me with a neigh! It's getting warmer and the grass in the pasture is greening nicely. The pond is high due to the recent rains so all is good. While transporting the corral panels the borrowed trailer developed a flat and the tire was destroyed before it was noticed. So this morning I spent the majority of the monies gifted at the festival replacing the tire for the owner. I don't know if the original tire was flat when we pulled it out of the pasture or just when it went bad but I figured it was the right thing to do. One step forward and one step back. We've been invited to be at the Public Market held downtown on the first Saturday of every month and to be part of Pioneer Days, an annual event featuring local history, arts & crafts etc. on the 15th. So March is shaping up to be busy with the Rodeo Parade happening in between these two new events. Please help us move forward with our mission. Don't forget you can also use paypal...the email is email@example.com. Your financial help is greatly appreciated!
Saturday turned out to be slightly overcast but warm most of the day. All and all very comfortable. I rode Takoda the one mile to the college for the festival without any incidents. I had borrowed corral panels from the Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo along with a pop-up canopy so we had cover and shade. The festival is new so it was small by comparison to most but the turn out was better than expected. So many people saw Takoda from afar and made a beeline to come see the horse they saw in the news. Most were quite generous.
Many people agree that our animal abuse laws are entirely too weak and more people should experience jail time for such atrocities. One of the artists made a run to the nearest grocery store just to buy Takoda a bag of baby carrots and another brought a bag of peppermints. Needless to say I had plenty of both but I wasn't going to tell them that after making such wonderful gestures.
Takoda turned out to be the star of the festival. So many wanting to take his picture and he was in fine form. Local horse folks commented on his perfect conformation. Takoda was a bit skittish when the electronics came on for the band's audio and it took a while for him to calm down. He was also not happy being confined to a 10' x 10' enclosure but quickly adapted.
For the most part it was a great day allowing Takoda to desensitize to crowds and electronic music in preparations for the Parade next month. I will still have a spotter on the parade route just in case but I think he'll do fine.
Thanks to Roger Dalpe for his valuable help, I could have never pulled it off without him.
I spent the day putting together a makeshift display for the Arts & Humanities Festival. I have a 10'x10' corral for Takoda very near a water supply. I've borrowed a pop-up canopy, purchased a notebook for photos, a big jar for donations and am getting ready to print out the pics for the notebook. I have hay, a water bucket, a rake and bucket for 'refuse'...what am I forgetting? Oh, if I have to I will be riding Takoda to the event. It is just one mile down the road we've been riding for the past few days. It starts early and it's going to be a long day but hopefully those who come to visit will be generous. Wish us luck...and help us if you can,
Another excellent day of riding along the highway. We're supposed to appear at an Arts & Humanities festival this Saturday but there may be some obstacles to overcome (like a trailer to get Takoda there). They are expecting a big crowd and I hope we will be able to make it happen.
So many have been so kind. Please help us...anybody on Facebook can see animal abuse is running rampant in our country and rescue's need help with funding. If you prefer to use PayPal you can send your gift to Takoda@takodasvision.com. Thanks so much...Steve and Takoda
Takoda was in fine spirits this morning and waiting for me at the gate. I guess he was really hungry after our 3 mile ride yesterday. I'm posting a picture of the current structure I'd like to get replaced ASAP. It won't survive much longer. Please help us if you can...
I am so proud of Takoda. Today we ventured out of the pasture alongside a busy route in and out of town. It's only 2 lanes but carries a lot of traffic including everything from big-rigs to motorcycles. Fortunately there is fairly wide (30' or so) distance between the roadway and the fence that encloses the golf course.
We rode what I later measured off as 3 miles (way longer than the parade route) and he never shirked. His ears were busy but I talked with him the whole way and we did just fine.
We did have a lot of folks waving at us. Maybe they recognized us from the pictures in the newspaper or maybe they just wanted to be friendly. Either way it was a very pleasant experience especially for me.
There was a trailer offered in today's shopping guide...a bumper pull, 2 horse trailer for $3500.00. So we're still hoping for your help as we continue to shop around.
Today was a great day riding with Takoda! It really feels like it's coming together and we're becoming a team understanding what is expected of each other. I mentioned the other day that a wonderful supporter had sent a gift with the request to be sure Takoda gets some apples. Here are the pictures I promised...
The weather today is sooo much warmer...expected to be in the 80's today and for the next week or so. Takoda apparently scraped his wound on something and it broke open again so I sprayed it down with the antimicrobial medication again. It doesn't look too bad though. It will heal nicely. A local gent has made me an offer on a beautiful saddle for an excellent price. I went by to look at it and it's a couple of years old but may have been used 4 or 5 times. He wants $350 for it even though he paid nearly $1000.00. He bought it for his ex so he's wanting to get rid of it (like he did her...LOL). I need some help to keep from dipping into the trailer fund which I really don't want to do because I have a lead on what might work out to be an answer to my prayers. If you can spare a few bucks to help us out it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
It's another rainy start to the day. It's just a steady rain, no thunder, no lighting, not even wind. Takoda was fine and pleasantly surprised this morning with a special treat. A very kind man that lives not too far away had read our story in the newspaper. He called the Arcadian and asked for my address and phone number which they provided. He called me to let me know how touched he was and that when he was a kid his mother used to tie gunny sacks on either side of his saddle horn and he'd ride into town to get groceries. He said one thing he always made sure of was that he got apples for his horse who loved them. A few days later I got a letter from him that reads like this: Dear Steve Stapp, I talked with you on the phone Saturday. God Bless you for taking care of that beautiful horse. No reply is necessary. Give Takoda some apples, God Bless you...Ken. Enclosed in the envelope was a $50.00 bill. Needless to say I went straight to the store and got a bag of apples! Takoda got his first one this morning and as soon as the weather clears I'll take photographs to post and to send to Ken with a thank you from...
We faced a night and day of cool (I won't use 'cold' out of respect for those of you north of us) air and lots of rain. Takoda was soaked and shivering when I went to feed him this morning. After he ate and got his cookies I gave him plenty of hay to make it through the day. I checked back about an hour later and the shivering had stopped and he came begging for peppermints which he got. This evening all is well and he's been rolling and quite the muddy mess. We're expecting upper 70's tomorrow and mid 80's for the next few days after so a BATH will be the order of the day once I see rain is no longer in the forecast!
I have bad news...the prospective adopter of the calamitous canine backed out after meeting her. This morning while Takoda was feeding she suddenly began to snap at his heels and he jumped nearly knocking over his makeshift stall. So from now on when Takoda and I are riding or he is feeding she will be tied up. I do have to say that I give kudos to the landowner for not sending her to the pound as our's is a kill shelter. He will keep her until he finds her a home. With that same attitude he is truly in love with Takoda and is very caring towards him. With that said I have raised our goal to hopefully include a new shelter. As I said I thought it was coming down this morning when he jumped up against it while under 'attack'. The dog is just too mischievous and the shelter too rickety. We have several 'rent-to-own' companies in town but the pasture rental alone stretches my budget. I do hope you'll consider helping us. So many have been so generous so far and you are all appreciated greatly!
My surgery went well. No more unseemly bump on my face. I went out to feed Takoda and he's doing fine. His leg is looking better everyday. I didn't stay long as I started getting nauseous. He got his dinner, his cookies, and a big hug before I left though.
Please help us when you can. Once we have the trailer we can start making plans.
Takoda did much better today as we rode the pasture. He's learning voice commands and reigning beautifully. We did get torpedo'd by the same dog. She came at us low and fast through the thick grass. I didn't see or hear her but Takoda sure did. He jumped straight left as she came broadside from the right. Fortunately I staid on! The landowner is taking her to a prospective new home tomorrow so say a prayer for her never to return. She's a good dog but feisty.
Please help us with our mission to raise badly needed funding for equine rescues.
Steve and Takoda
P.S. I'm having surgery in the morning to have a sebaceous cyst removed from my face so I won't be around until later in the day. I'd appreciate your good thoughts and prayers!
A beautiful morning and Takoda was in fine spirits. It still amazes me to watch him negotiate the trail between the fence and the relatively steep edge of the pond. You can watch his nose as he sniffs how close he is to the tree lined fence and the water of the pond. It must be like radar to him.
This afternoon's planned ride is currently on hold as unexpected shower's have come into our area. I hope it breaks up before too long.
We still need your help in case the 'right' trailer pops up so we'll have cash on hand for purchase, registration, and insurance. Not to mention a badly needed saddle.
Takoda and I did about 2 hours today. We did alright even though he was really skittish throughout even during his bath which is unusual for him. Maybe it's this crazy weather or maybe he was just having a bad day. I plan to ride again tomorrow and see how he does. The farrier came out this morning and we've scheduled again just a couple of days before the rodeo parade. He's going to look sharp. I have a lady making his parade banner. Not too pricey for custom work but we have to let people know who we are!
The landowner bought a roll of cow hay. I guess Takoda thinks he's a cow because he's really enjoying it. I went to the feed store and looked at the difference between what they sell as 'cow' hay vs. 'horse' hay and there is quite a difference...about $20.00 a roll difference.
The cow hay doesn't appear too coarse and he doesn't appear to be having a problem with it. In fact I called him away from it to get his grain and as soon as he was finished he hauled right back to it. If any of you have experienced issues please let me know.
A lot of new support has come in and to all who have been so generous...Thank You So Much!
I will be looking at an old trailer tomorrow for possible renovation. I have a good friend who is really handy (former general contractor) and he's offered to help with whatever may need to be done. (The price also has to be right)
Until tomorrow keep your powder dry and may the good Lord take a likin to ya!
Takoda was waiting for me in his stall wondering where his dinner was. I thought..."I'm actually 30 minutes early"...but I guess he feels the cold coming as we face another night of sub-freezing temperatures.
He has a roll of hay now so he'll be able to keep plenty warm. I sprayed and wrapped his boo-boo again so he's good to go.
Thanks again to all who have participated in our efforts...you are truly appreciated!
After breakfast this morning I decided to do a little more 'doctoring' to Takoda's injured leg. I soaked it down with anti-microbial spray and put a sterile pad on it to help hold the loosened skin in place. BTW VetWrap is GOOD stuff. Don't worry it's not as tight as it looks.
Please help us with our mission of fundraising for equine rescues. They need all the help they can get!
Takoda had a pretty nasty fall this morning coming to breakfast. He was down next to the pond and on his way up he stumbled and went down on both his front 'knees'. He jumped right back up and trotted to his stall. As he backed out I could see some blood running down his right leg along with a pretty good gash. I ran back to the house and got some spray on anti-microbial medication. He's not limping or favoring it at all so hopefully it's just a flesh wound. I sprayed it down again at dinner time and it had already begun to heal up. I also took out a cheap plastic tarp (dollar store) that snap, crackles and pops for some desensitizing work. I flung it around him, rubbed him with it, even laid it across his back...he never flinched once! We had a good love fest. Hopefully we'll see continued healing in the morning or I'll call the vet.
I'm looking forward to a day with Takoda! After his breakfast has had time to settle we'll go for a ride and learn more about each other i.e. signals and responses. More with the bitless bridle which seemed to work excellently on the first ride.
Today I'm going to work with a "dollar store" tarp for noise and begin working through any issues he might have about strange sounds around him. I don't think he'll have a problem as long as he can hear my voice but with just a few weeks now till the first parade I'd rather find out now rather than later.
You all have a great weekend, kiss your animals and tell 'em you love them.
A friend of mine and I spent the afternoon pulling out hogwire that was down and posed a threat to Takoda. Heavy heavy wire with protrusions that could have easily punctured a leg. The landowner and I had discussed it so he had no problems with it's removal.
Thank goodness nothing ever happened before we were able to get to the job. The wire was so deeply embedded in the dirt and grass we had to pull it out with a tow chain and my truck.
Now all is well. We survived the cold snap and I expect a nice day to ride tomorrow followed by my favorite time grooming and talking and bonding.
I'm so blessed to be alive and be surrounded by my animals.
Please help us help others in rescues by donating a few dollars towards a trailer. Rescues are in dire need of funds to continue their work.
Well they say it's going to freeze here tonight. Takoda was really gulping hay this evening rather than his normal nibbling. We just pray the grass will survive!
We want to 'shout out' to Takoda's number 1 fan Rachel DeWitt. Rachel is a young animal advocate and very interested in horse rescue. In fact she and her family have a rescue horse as well named 'Ari'.
So "HOWDY" to Rachel, keep up that enthusiasm for animals. They need your voice!
A week or two ago when we had our first real cold snap (that's 38 in Florida speak) I bought a bale of hay and have been giving Takoda a flake after his meal and cookies.
Now Floppy and Wooly are the two cows that share the pasture with Takoda. It wasn't long before they spotted me bring the hay and drop it next to Takoda's stall. Each day they've gotten a little braver and a little closer.
(Through observation I've determined that they have figured out Takoda is blind but they still give him his space.)
Today as Takoda was munching away at his hay Floppy and Wooly decided they would try to sneak some of it away without his knowing. (I was watching from the truck about 30 feet away) Slowly they approached, Floppy on his left and Wooly on his right stepping as quietly as they could. (Did you ever see a cow try to sneak? Hysterical)
Floppy (a flop eared Hereford) took the first bite and Takoda quickly turned his head her way which sent her off. Wooly (a black curly haired heifer) tried to take advantage of his back being turned and grabbed a mouthful. Takoda wheeled on his back legs, head back and ears pinned! Wooly headed for the far reaches of the pasture in a dead run having spit out the hay in the excitement.
Now Floppy wasn't through. She had only gone as far as the other side of the stall and came around the backside again to take advantage of being at his rear. Takoda heard the munching and quickly with the same voraciousness turned and dispatched her chasing after Wooly to safety.
I was laughing my ass off as I watched Takoda act as if nothing had happened and continued his dessert so calm.
It will be a long time before those two try to steal from the blind again...
I was trying to video Takoda's navigation of the pasture again yesterday when the land owner came out and of course he's followed by 5 dogs. One of the dogs is a real pest and jumped and growled at Takoda. He stopped and waited patiently while she barked at him then put his head down and ears back...she decided it was time to go! LOL!
Takoda amazed me again this morning. I put his feed in the stall and went to the edge of the pasture and called his name. Normally I've been having to yell or 'cluck' to give him a sonic beacon but not today.
Takoda came from the far corner of the pasture all the way to me and then as if he could see me went around me and straight into his stall with no physical contact or verbal commands.
WOW! I think he's feeling right at home and that makes me very happy!
It's this type of demonstration that makes you aware that the loss of one sense is not necessarily a handicap.
All of God's creatures are capable of surviving and thriving if we give them a chance at life.
This is the job of rescuers and rescues. But that takes money for feed, hay, farriers, vets, medications etc.
I hope you'll find it in your heart to help us help them by raising awareness and funding for their mission.
I got busy last night after returning from feeding Takoda. We did a local newspaper interview that went quite well. The Arcadian had done an article about Takoda and Jasmine's Dream Ranch & Rescue back in 2011 after they took over his care. So this new article is like an 'update'. The reporter fell in love with him, even brought him a carrot. Takoda was his usual charming self!
Cool and damp this morning but the high is expected to reach near 80.
For the first time at this new location we heard a coyote howling. Boy did Takoda's ears perk up!
I can't wait to give Takoda's new Skip's Bitless Bridle a try this weekend. Intermittent showers are expected but the temperatures are forecast to be in the mid 80's.
Please help us in our quest. Being in 'horse' country (meaning just about everyone has one or two or ten) trailers are pricey. We can't make commitments to fund raising events until we know we can be there.
The temperature climbed into the lower 50's today and if you could find a sunny spot out of the wind it was downright beautiful! Lot's of blue sky and sunshine.
Takoda was waiting for me at the gate...this morning he finished off his feed but only nibbled at the hay I had bought. He ate his dinner with gusto, took a few licks at the mineral block then proceeded right back to the pasture.
He certainly doesn't act like the cold bothered him in the least. Tomorrow's high is expected to be 68, then 78 on Thursday then back to 83 and 84 for Saturday and Sunday.
Good Bye Polar Vortex! I hope you folks up north get some relief soon!
Well the day went pretty much as planned. Takoda and I did about an hour ride. We're still getting used to each other but it's coming together nicely. Then it was bath time after a complete brushing, combing an hoof picking.
So I go back at feeding time and of course he's rolled in the (at least it was) sand. So after he ate we brushed again. This time it really dawned on me how much enjoyment "I" get out of the process. It's such a wonderful time to communicate and bond.
After a spray down with fly spray I waited for the breeze to help dry him off then brushed again to make sure he wouldn't be a muddy mess in the morning. I think I spent nearly an hour and a half. Just as I was about to finish Takoda turned his head and nuzzled right into my chest and let out a deep sigh. It made me feel like a million dollars!
Please help us in our quest. Every horse is a blessing and offers so much to those that they share their life with. It is our mission to help raise funding for the rescues that make it all possible.
We're expecting near 80 degrees and clear skies. I'm thinking a mid-day ride with Takoda followed by a complete grooming session. He loves the attention. First stroke of the brush and he cocks a back leg and lets out a deep breath. He's a happy boy!
Please, if you can, help us out with our quest. We've started a new website (under construction) and would appreciate your suggestions about content. Visit www.TakodasVision.com and let us know what you think.
If only I had had the camera...yesterday afternoon when I called Takoda for dinner he actually began to prance tossing his head and looking so spirited. I've never seen him so animated. Something new everyday!
I had every intent on showing off Takoda's navigational skills this morning with a new cheapie camera...I don't know if it was the camera or the dollar store batteries that died but I was able to salvage some of the short video...It starts after I call Takoda and he calls back...
Takoda was so funny this evening...I was waiting as I always do for him to finish his dinner because he gets 3 cookies for his dessert (no he's not spoiled!). The land owner came out and we were talking about the weather and what have you. Takoda finished his dinner and walked up to me looking for is cookies. I gave him one and the land owner and I walked over to the pond so survey the water levels with the expected rains tonight and tomorrow. Takoda followed and head butted me in the back wanting his other cookies.
Don't believe that horses can't count...he knew he had two more coming and he wasn't going to let me forget.
Spent about an hour bonding and brushing. Takoda had been out in the rain but at least he hadn't rolled in the mud.
Grooming is the best time to really bolster your bond with your horse. Keep one hand on their body while the other brushes or curry's. This does two things...they feel your love and you feel their balance should they shift their weight and you need to move your foot... ;-)
Takoda and I took a spin or 10 around the pasture today (thank God for Tramadol!). We're learning each others quirks. We learned walking at Parade speed today rather than his spirited "I wanna go" speed.
Finally today Takoda got something not from the pawn shop...He has a new halter! I noticed on the tv report that his old halter, while quite sufficient, was a bit tattered. So today I got him a new one...what do you think?
I will admit I started this day a bit morose. But my 'children' bring a smile quickly. My two 'indoor' kids want to go out in the 40' weather and run and jump and play (damn the sun wasn't even up yet)!
After a pot of coffee I go the 2.9 miles to feed Takoda. It seems the bond gets stronger everyday and today he was like a new puppy. He just wanted to play, he wanted me to scratch and rub him. Of course he knows there's a cookie or two in my pocket...shhh!
If I may offer my two cents here...Christmas is a day when most people of the world try to be nice to each other and let their loved ones know how they feel about them.
But why do so many of us remember only one day of the year? We should be telling everyone we care for how much they mean to us everyday they're near. And what a blessing it would be if everyone did the same with the animals in their lives!
Today is the first Christmas since I lost my Granite. We were constant companions for 10 1/2 years. Since his passing I've adopted another pound puppy...The Artful Dodger (a chocolate lab)...and...Takoda. Together with Czar (my rescued golden mix) they have come together to make this day meaningful and joyous.
The worst thing you can feel about yourself is worthless. To not have meaning to anyone or anything else. Although not too often I do fall into this melancholy trap sometimes. Today is different though.
I have a goal to reach and that is to remind the world that animals are to be cherished and not brutalized. To be nurtured not starved. To shine light on the cruelty of some and to highlight the caring spirit of others.
I do hope you'll help me reach this goal. Thank you for your support...Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
This morning it's dank and dreary as a cold front pushes through our area. The high today is only expected to reach 70'. Takoda once again was on his way even before I got to the gate with his feed bucket.
As he ate he did something I've never seen before...he picked up his right front hoof and just stood on his left. Kinda like a flamingo. He stood that way for quite some time. Have any of you seen this behavior before? I thought maybe he had a rock or something else might be wrong so after he finished I cleaned his hooves and found nothing.
Howdy!...Well Takoda was all nice and clean but he rubbed up against something wet and dirty...que sara!
We are scheduled to ride in the March Rodeo parade to promote Jasmine's Dream Ranch & Rescue. They will also have a booth on the rodeo grounds to collect donations from the expected 20,000 or so visitors.
I've added saddle and tack to the wish list. It would be nice to get a custom saddle with his name on it but that might be too much to ask. Maybe one of you has an 'in' with a saddle maker...
I've also attached a new pic showing the indentation left from the ax used to try to kill him. You can see it has healed nicely but he still doesn't like it when I rub him there.
Thanks again for all the contributions so far! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!
The new hitch came in handy while I gave Takoda a bath. He never batted an eye and with his back leg cocked and letting out a big 'sigh' it seems he was enjoying it. Well at least he's clean for now. I'll go out later to brush him out after some air drying. If he's rolled in the dirt again...we're going to have words! LOL
He's become quite content with his new surroundings. In fact the landowner said he's become a 'bully and a thief'. Apparently he called in his two heifers to feed them and Takoda followed. Mr. "T" decided to push them away and started eating their feed. LOL I gave the landowner a lead to tie Takoda up if he became too much of a bother then yesterday he tells me he's figured out the system...He has a very close tie with his animals and they respond to him verbally and physically so he 'waved' them in knowing Takoda can't see. The cows came in and ate and Takoda remained in the pasture munching on grass.
"Where there is a will, there is a way"
Yesterday afternoon I finished getting the old Explorer ready for the job ahead. I added the hitch!
To all of you who have already contributed...Thanks so much!
To those of you who have shared this around your group of friends...Thanks to you as well!
As the months went by, Takoda gained more weight and continued to get stronger. He began to hold his head up more as his spirit healed as well.
It's been special watching the miraculous recovery at the caring hands of Jasmine's Dream Ranch & Rescue's volunteers. They never gave up on Takoda and he has not let us down.
It will be an honor to share him with folks. It's important to remind people that there are those among us who do unspeakable things to animals. Our laws are not adequate enough to curb their pernicious behavior.
They also need to know there are folks who will come to the rescue when needed. There is no reason to abandon or neglect an animal.
He's learned the sound of my truck! I went earlier than usual today to give Takoda his supper because I have a Christmas Party to attend tonight. I drove up, got his grain and a lead so I could go get him if I had to but guess who was striding down the path to meet me..Takoda - a friend to everyone.
We brushed and hugged then he ate his supper. I had a couple of cookies for his dessert which he enjoys then I told him I had to go. He strolled away towards the pond to wash down dinner and the cookies, took one last look my direction then proceeded down to the water's edge.
I left him drinking...Thank you God for allowing me to care for Takoda!
A most brutal attack left a permanent reminder...In this photo you can see the scar (indentation) that remains to this day. Starting just above the blaze and extending to just above his left eye is the mark of cruelty!
After he came to the rescue we could only give him hay to help him to begin gaining weight. Slowly grain was added to prevent colic and to help him gain lost muscle mass. Eventually we were able to allow him to graze for short periods of time.
Right after Takoda arrived at the rescue there was some concern about the beating he took and if it had affected his teeth. I put out a plea and Dr. Geoffrey Tucker offered his services free of charge. He traveled nearly 150 miles. He's the best...look him up on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/equinepractice
Now known as 'Takoda' this beautiful paint gelding you see today was the victim of a brutal beating by his previous owner that left him blind. He had been neglected and starved and appeared nothing more than a bag of bones.
Today, Steve and Takoda are on a mission that includes strengthening animal abuse laws with stiffer penalties and to help raise funding for rescues...
"Our mission is to raise the awareness of the general public that there is never a reason for animal neglect or abuse. Help is often just a phone call away and those that provide that help need contributions to survive.
You can help their cause by helping them raise money for a trailer to attend parades and other events in an effort to promote their mission. Rescues receive absolutely NO government funding. It is up to us to help them continue their efforts, saving lives, and finding forever homes for abused and neglected equines.
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