Monday, November 1, 2004


We promised that we'd tell you more about Butterfly, our new miniature hourse. Finally, here we are:

Butterfly, our tiny somewhat blind mini-horse, is doing great. She is two years old and has grown into a more “horse-like” shape. She was very funny looking at first with a huge belly and not much else. Everything has caught up with everything else. Though not “show quality,” she’s pretty darn adorable. She’s about thirty inches tall with hair the same color and texture of a baby chick. She reminds me of those marshmallow peeps they sell at Easter time.

I can see why mini’s are often little monsters. They’re so darn tiny that you hate to get after them like a big horse. Butterfly has gotten very good at kicking us when we least expect it. While bringing her in one day on a lead, she cantered past me, somehow curled her body around me and kicked me behind the knee! A rather athletic maneuver, I’d say, and quite a surprise to me! Now she knows what “no” means and usually stops her naughtiness, at least most of the time. She is extremely smart and independent and makes the big mares stand up and take notice when she gives the what for! Even our alpha mare, Fancy, backs off with a puzzled look when the mad Butterfly puts her foot down! I guess it goes to show you, in the grand scheme of things, size is not all that important.

Butterfly is also, I believe, pregnant. That may make a difference in their attitude towards her. She was in a farm living as a wild thing with six hundred other little horses, breeding indiscriminately. She has not come in heat since we got her, though surrounded by all our wanna-be stud muffins (we have five geldings and one stallion). I have mixed feelings about her pregnancy. It is exciting and wonderful, but also scary. She is so small and so young. But what will be will be. We’ll deal with it when the time comes! Butterfly has a sponsor, who pays for her support. Because of her failing eyesight (she has iris cysts) she will remain with us for life. She will not be available for fostering.

See a photo of the other horses checking Butterfly out on the day of her arrival.


At the farm we have a puddle with 23 frogs. I love frogs. The puddle is right in the middle of the driveway. I blocked it off so no one can drive through it and I have kept it full by dumping the horse’s yesterday’s water buckets into it all summer. Last year we had one frog living in a tire. I would rinse it out every few days and replace the water. The year before, a frog lived in a cup just outside the door. I kept the cup full all summer. And the year before that, a toad lived inside the barn. I made it a little door to the outside and gave it a bowl of water to sit in. 

Horses, frogs, we love them all!

Skinny Sun

September 10, 2004 was a good day. It was the first cool day all summer. I had no help this day and was afraid I could not care for the fifteen horses alone, but I did. I even had time for a few little projects like dragging all the bins of winter blankets out of storage. Before we know it, it will be winter.

This was was the day that Sun came into my life. Sun is a quarter horse palomino, about twenty four years old, starved almost to death. This was his reward for having been a slave all his life.

I don’t know much about his story, only that he was a school horse no longer needed and growing old. This kind old soul, perhaps, taught scores of people to ride, maybe hundreds. From what I can tell he was probably a pretty handsome guy. I pray I can bring him back to that. He is small, maybe 14.2 hands, but sturdy (he probably packed a lot of muscle in his day) and a bright golden color. What, I wonder, brought him to this?

You can always tell if a horse has been abused or not by handling their ears. Almost every abused horse I have ever known won’t let you touch their ears. Stupid people use them for handles, restraint or punishment. Make note of this: never, under any circumstance, grab or twist a horses ears. They never forgive and they never forget. Sun lets me touch his ears. He has probably never been abused. He is almost comatose from lack of nutrients, he is certainly extremely weak and unsteady. His left rear leg seems to bother him but I don’t yet know why.

Sun is a horse that is completely used up and thrown away. When his useful days were over instead of being retired on the farm where he worked, he was given to people who had never owned a horse, for their daughter, who soon lost interest. Evidently she also stopped feeding him. What really disturbs me is the MSPCA went to see this horse and did nothing. Do you know that the MSPCA has one hundred seven million dollars in assets? Yet with all that, they didn’t do a thing to help this horse. Did you know that they are doing a nine million dollar overhaul on Nevin’s farm? That they are fundraising to do this instead of using the money they already have? And they are getting it. It saddens me that the small rescues that are saving animals for love are barely getting by while a huge multi-million dollar organization couldn’t save this poor old Sun. I know of other horses as well.

The point I am getting to is this: if you can’t commit to a horse for its entire life, in sickness and in health, ‘til death do you part,’ do not own a horse. Sun could be your horse. But Sun is a lucky one, he came to me. He will never suffer again. I promised him that I will care for him until his last breath. He will never be hungry again. There are thousands of suffering horses that will never come to me. I will never be able to help them, but I can help Sun. The horse you give away to a non-horse person will in all probability die because of that person’s ignorance. Or, end up being passed on to someone else, maybe end up at an auction to be bought by a killer. Being dead is not so bad, it’s what leads up to it that really sucks.

In a perfect world all my wishes would be fulfilled. No horse or child or even a frog would die by violence or neglect. Not all stories end horribly, but Sun has made it painfully clear by reminding me of how rough the world is for such innocent ones. We can’t fix the world, we can’t make everyone be responsible, but in the small circle of you all receiving this newsletter, do your best to keep your own circle safe, and know that you are a hero by doing so.