People are usually astonished to learn that horses are subject to the same types of abuse and neglect that affects far too many domesticated animals and pets. The survivors can be our teachers if we will only listen to them and show them kindness and compassion. They deserve at least that much, and they will quite often return the gift tenfold.
Snowflake ("Snowy") and I met in August of 2014 at a local horse rescue ranch where I began to volunteer. When we met, he was in a paddock with some other horses, hanging back, and eyeing us warily and very defensively. I was told to not approach him and that he was able to be handled only by senior volunteers. He looked so terrified, and I felt badly for him. Right then and there, I desired to give this horse a better life than merely existing in fear of humans.
Snowy, an older (late 20s/early 30s), grey Arab/QH gelding, had endured a hard life of abuse and pain. He was rescued from the slaughter auction where horses are treated as meat rather than the intelligent and sentient creatures they are. His story was that he had been a pack horse in the Sierra Mountains. Physical evidence of poorly healed ribs and dorsal bones in his neck suggested that he had fallen off the trail with a pack on his back... and was not given the proper time and medical care to heal. And although he can move well for his age, he is quite arthritic in his hindquarters and requires a daily anti-inflammatory prescription medication. To this day he bears scars on his nose from a spiked nose strap and partial loss of his lower right eyelid. And there is evidence that he is partially blind. I felt that this horse needed to know that not all humans are cruel and uncaring... my heart went out to him.
I began volunteer training to learn to handle and communicate with horses in meaningful ways they can understand, and this requires a lot of groundwork. About 3 months into training, we were given a choice of which horse we wanted to partner with for the next clinic. I seized the opportunity to select Snowy and couldn't believe they actually let me do it! With help from a senior volunteer, we led him into the area. He began... bellowing! When I picked up my carrot stick (a stick with string used to provide cues and gentle corrections), his reaction was total fear, rearing and glaring with terror in his eyes. I knew then that he had been beaten with a stick. I dropped my carrot stick, and we proceeded to go through the clinic exercises without it, just using the rope and my hands. By the end of the day, he licked my hands. I fell in love.
Snowy and I continued many months of slow and methodical (and fun!) exercises and developed a deep bond. He now is a very sweet, quiet, and polite horse who is a real charmer. While I've been working with him over these past few years, I've gone through a very difficult time in my life due to a family medical situation. Snowy reciprocated and has helped me heal through this process.
While I love all the horses who come to the rescue, I know that they are only passing through on their way to their forever home. But Snowy was one of a few horses deemed to be permanent sanctuary horses, so it was safe to love him, knowing he would always have a home there.....
Fast Forward a few years..... A new board of directors decided that Snowy and another sanctuary horse are now adoptable to the right situation. I couldn't imagine one day finding out that he had been adopted and would no longer be in my life, although it would be a challenge to find an adopter with the desire and training to adopt a very skittish and fearful horse that can’t be ridden. Snowy will always be a special needs horse due to his traumatic abusive past and the residue of his physical injuries.
My boyfriend Burt suggested that we take him in to avoid that situation, and then he offered to help me pay for Snowy's expenses, as I’m currently not able to afford his expenses on my own. I've been waiting over 50 years for this horse - the horse of my heart - the horse I was always meant to have.
We're boarding Snowy in a great facility in a peaceful area nestled at the bottom of a mountain that is a local landmark. He's been settling in and adjusting to his new home. It’s been a few months now, and he seems happy and anxiously awaits my daily visits. He will always require someone to help him feel safe and understand the triggers of his fears and startle responses. I want to always be that someone for him. I’ve also posted some photos of him rolling, full of mud, and just being a happy horse.
In addition to the boarding expense ($625 per month), there are a lot of ongoing expenses for a horse, such as veterinarian check-ups, prescriptions, annual vaccinations, dental care, medical testing, de-worming, farrier services (pedicures), potential emergency medical care (horses are curious creatures and get into a lot of mischief), supplements, and insurance. We've had a lot of start-up expenses to get everything started for him, including boarding, veterinary expenses, medication, farrier services, supplements, and insurance.
We're establishing this fund so that Snowy can live out his healthiest and happiest life - the retirement that he so deserves. We're giving him a lot of love and care, and we could use help with his expenses, especially his health and wellness expenses and help to offset some of his boarding expense.
We've already spent over $1,500 in expenses (50-lb bags of horse feed/supplements, critter-proof feed storage, veterinary exams and vaccinations, prescription, and stall necessities (nibble nets, supplement tub) and $3,000+ in boarding. He’s barefoot and needs a trim, and he requires another vet call for the farrier’s visit to provide sedation for the procedure so that no one gets injured due to his discomfort and skittishness. I’d also like to get him a supplement to soothe his arthritis, but the only effective supplement proven in clinical trials is quite expensive.
Snowy survived his abusive past for a reason. He has found it in his heart to forgive humans. Snowy and I helped to heal each other. He means the world to me, and I want to be sure that the rest of his life is full of the love and care he deserves.
The $6,000 budget is based on the estimated annual cost for health and wellness expenses for a horse, including a medical emergency contingency. Burt and I would be so grateful for your help to offset some of these costs so that we can focus on loving him and giving him a good life.
I'd to share an anonymous quote... "You can't buy love, but you can rescue it!" Can you help us with $10? $25? $50? or any amount? and keep me with my therapy horse?
Thank you so much for your consideration,
Mindy and Snowy
P.S. Snowy would LOVE to meet his friends in the San Francisco East Bay Area! Contact us through GoFundMe to arrange a visit, and be sure to bring carrots and bananas!
- Margo Salone
- Margo Salone
- Margo Salone
- margo salone
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