Thursday, November 19, 2009

Instead, let's try to understand

It greatly saddens me that the days of little girls and their horse partners are gone. The woods and trails we rode are now housing projects and strip malls. It all has been replaced by high powered horses and structured "training" of both horse and human.

I thought for awhile that the training methods had improved to the benefit of the horse, but sadly, I was wrong, I can't even watch these well known "trainers." The appalling cruelty just blows my mind. I can't believe these trainers even have a following. The fact that the horses learn anything at all is a tribute to their intelligence and adaptability. Much of it is no better than the old "tie 'em down and buck them to a standstill" method from years ago.

They are not all bad, these trainers, but let your heart decide whether you want your horse to be exposed to these methods. Horses are extremely smart. They don't need painful repetition, they don't need to be terrorized into a "safe place." Once a horse understands a point, he never forgets. Make all your interactions with your horse as positive as you can, give him the benefit of the doubt. Horses are never wrong. Try to become his partner. If something negative happens, try again.

Horses are very forgiving. Reinforce positive - and avoid negative - situations, if you can. If a horse doesn't stand without ripping out cross ties, groom and tack up in his stall Find the easiest, safest ways for the both of you in all dealings. Don't set the horse up for failure. Treat him/her like a beloved child. Show him what you want. Sometimes they need time to figure things out. You see that "aha" moment when they get it.

I was watching one well known western trainer as he forced a young horse to do a "departure into a lope, from a standstill, onto the correct lead, at the correct speed, with its head flexed behind the vertical, while giving to the bit to the left." Huh? I couldn't figure out what was going on, let alone this good horse, who was never rewarded by a release of pressure! This beautiful horse had no spirit left, he just gave in because there was no escape. He took the punishment and abuse because he was given no choices at all, until he accidentally landed on the right combination the trainer wanted. He was dull and broken. I had to change the channel. I could not watch anymore.

I'm not saying a horse doesn't need to be given a swat every now and then for an act of disrespect or foolishness (that is how they discipline each other, after all). Just stay within their rules. It's so much easier that way.

Horse and human partnerships must always be at least 51% for the human, 49% for the horse. That 1% for you makes you the respected head of the team. Use it to your advantage and have fun with your potential life mate and best friend. Your horse is capable of loving you all of its life.

To the ponies

One night while our teeny pony Bess was sick our vet said, "Why is this pony here? She should be with her family right now." Bess was 25+ years old at the time. She was a tough little alpha mare about 9 hands tall. She came to us when her owner died. We became her family. She lived with us another three years. We assumed she was untrained as the only really small adult we ever had try to ride her was repeatedly slammed to the ground (all of my worst falls have been off ponies - one second they're under you, the next they're not).

One day we tried her with a little girl. I swear, this pony changed before my eyes. Not only did she care for this child with every step, but wiped out the competition in the walk/trot class at the Bolton Fair! In that huge ring she trotted into every corner in perfect form!

Two little girls rode her that day and won champion of the day! In a picture she looked like a fluffy kitten with the two little girls beside her. I was as proud as if I had created her myself. Who knows how many children she taught to ride in her 28 years!

Two months later Bess died. In honor of Bess and all the unsung pony heroes that started all the famous/excellent riders on the way, we salute you and remember you always.


My beautiful little horse Willie has faded away before my eyes. It is time also for him to join his angel. He agrees, it is time to go. He has never been any trouble at all, he was just always there. Always a good influence on any upset horse. His sweet calm spirit made all others around him feel safe. But he is very old and time has caught up with him. "Time and unforeseen occurrences befall us all." Ec.9:11 And so in honor of this dear one's life, we let him go with dignity. His pain is over. With all of his friends holding and loving him he fell asleep for the last time. Willie taught so many about just how good and kind horses can be.

We need money still

Thank you all for your loving support throughout the years. Please remember us at this time of giving. All donations go directly to the care of our horses. We are a 100% volunteer staff. -Nina

Recently we were able to place two horses, Baladi, an Arab Saddlebred mare with an incurable lameness, and a teeny-tiny mini mare, Snowflake, into loving permanent homes. We are currently housing 14 rescued horses, most will have sanctuary with us for life. Please help us with their care.

The education work goes on, as well. We are encouraging people to find ways to keep their horses, to be responsible for their care for life.

We are also helping to support other rescues by sending them our excess of donated items such as halters, lead ropes, and stable blankets. We are trying to unite in our cause.

We have a new piggy, though we are not technically a piggy rescue, we could not say no to this one. His owner, not wanting him anymore, put him in a heavy duty construction bag to suffocate him. He was rescued and brought to us very dehydrated and underweight. He now resides next to our other piggy and his cat in what we call the "pig pavilion."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Knife Sharpening Clinic to Benefit EOTS

This Saturday, Oct. 17 the 6th annual Wine Tasting at Last National Wine Company will feature a Knife Sharpening Clinic. $3 per blade. Half of the proceeds will go to Eye of the Storm Equine Rescue. The Wine Tasting is from 3pm to 6pm. Address is 18 Powdermill Road (Rt 62) in Acton. For more information, call 978-897-5511.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Destiny for Horse Rescue

In my high school year book under my picture is a self prediction for my future. I wrote that some day I wanted to rescue horses. Be careful what you wish for. Although we are still active in the rescue business we are currently housing 12 unplaceable horses and two who can be placed only in the perfect homes due to physical, emotional, and behavioral issues. I also have two of my own.

There are so many horses no one loves. So many who have no future. There are no words to express my sorrow for them. It’s clear we cannot win this war. All we can do is choose our battle and stick with it. Do what you can with all your means and ability within your circle and do not overly grieve for the ones you cannot save. This how I now live my life. I love my horses. With all the breath in my body and all of what is left of my life force, I will care for these 16 horses until I have nothing left to give. I pray we all die on the same day, or are healed and live forever in paradise because, come war, famine, or plague, only death will take me from them. Amen.

Please Give – and Thank You

Don’t forget us. Your tax deductible donation will help with out educational work as well as with the continued care of our current residents at Eye of the Storm. We so appreciate your past support and beg you to keep us in mind during this season of giving. We can continue this much needed work only with your help.

I thank you all again for your immediate emergency response when our stallion, Gabriel, colicked. I am so happy to know we have such a wonderful family as you all. I am so sorry I did not send thank you notes to everyone. There are no addresses from you who donated through PayPal. We love you very much.

On a Happier Note

May you all find peace in the cooler days. I rejoice in the colder days. I rejoice in the lack of bugs, mud, and those horrible summer storms! Though the work is harder in winter, everything is slower and even blizzard conditions don’t carry the horror of tornadoes, hurricanes, and thunderstorms! Our horses seem more content and comfortable. And when they are happy, so the heck am I!!

Happy fall to you all!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Two days before Jaime died our friend Jo Newcomb lost her 28-year-old pony Buttons. After looking all summer we found a pretty little mini to be her new friend. (See photo.) Jo named her Snowflake because on her totally black body there is a little white snowflake on her back. She is a perfect little lady and is very gentle. So sorry for your loss of dear Buttons, but I believe this little mare will help heal your heart.

Good Bye Jaime

On May 1, 2009 Jaime died.  She was 38 years old.  Catherine found her lying on her side with her legs tucked against the wall.  She was awake and alert.  She tried to get up, but couldn't.  With the help of four strong men from Astro Crane Company next door (I so appreciate the strength of men), we managed to pull her away from the wall and roll her onto her other side.  That didn't help.  She still couldn't get up.

I don't believe she had been down for long.  Her stall wasn't torn up.  All of her feed from the previous night was gone and there was a normal amount of poop.  I took her temperature.  It was 98.2, which is too low.  When the vet arrived we tried again to get her up.  By then there were six of us there to help her.  After a dose of stimulant (for Jaime, not us, though we all could have used one by then), she thrashed around but still couldn't rise.  It was then we collectively decided she was dying and euthanasia was our only option.  At this point she was thrashing around between episodes of deep sleep.  She was never going to get up again.

I held her nose in my hands and said to her, "You are the only horse that has ever beaten me, the only one who never gave in.  In all our years together everything between us was a fight.  You win, you tough old mare, you win."

And so, surrounded by loving friends, including her best friend Mary O., we sent her on her way.
She was beautiful and fat and slick.  You would never know we was that old.  Without a great deal of fuss, her life ended.


In the aftermath of so much equine death in my immediate circle I am just not ready to lose Willie. Having been there for three deaths and burials, spending hours on the phone with Laurie from The Vineyard Mini Horse Rescue as one of her ponies, Peppercorn, faded away from some still unidentified abscess infection, my heart needs a rest. The other three were very old, surrounded by beloved friends, and it was just time for them to go. It is amazing how many friends a horse can accumulate in a lifetime, all three were over 30 years old. We had just enough time to say good-bye, and they were gone.

Willie was found unconscious six days after Jaime's death. He was down in his stall and we couldn't wake him, though he was still alive. There were five kids from the Dynamy program and three of us Eye of the Storm regulars present. Thanks to an unfinished sling I had made years ago, the eight of us were able to hoist Willie to his feet and attach him to the ceiling. He hung there like a dead spider. The vet was on his way.

Thinking he was dying, I brought Junebug, his very best friend, in to say good-bye. And - he woke up!

Since that day Willie has never laid down again on his own. After six days he's so exhausted that for some reason he develops muscle spasms in his "bad" hind leg which causes him to spin in a circle. He continually hits his right eye on whatever it is he crashes into. He's also a very picky eater, although he really wants to eat hay and he just can't anymore.

No one can accuse us of not trying to help him. We had his head x-rayed so the dentist could float his teeth properly, that is, the few he has left. He's had acupuncture, a chiropractic adjustment, steroids, pain meds daily, and buckets of loving care. He's very thin and looks like a plucked chicken. But Willie wants to live! He's really a horse though he's only 13.2 hands tall. He sparkles like a bright red jewel. He glistens with health and he heals practically overnight. His original name was Diamond Jim, we have recently discovered. He had a catastrophic tendon injury to his left hind leg leaving him, basically, three legged. No one in his past wants to take responsibility for hurting him, of course. But now he's with us for the rest of his life, and we love him.

We have become quite adept at plunking him down on a memory foam mattress so he can sleep without getting sores on his poor little bony parts. (See the photo.) After some hours we hoist him to his feet in the sling. In a few minutes he walks off, gets a drink of water, poops, pees, and dives into his food, totally refreshed for another few days. Then we do it all over again. We have changed his feed to Blue Seal Senior, which basically dissolves in his mouth and he's gaining weight.

One day recently I found him lying in the mud mashed up against the gate. He must have slipped and fallen. I ran next door and got three big men to come help me drag him through the gate and out of the mud. These awesome guys just roll their eyes when they see me coming and say, "Oh no, what's happened now?" Other than the horrible and constant noise they make, it's quite wonderful to be surrounded by heavy equipment operators, as there is always someone to come running. They all love animals and have different and very good ideas on how to help at such times. I love them all and can't thank them enough.

Though we again helped Willie to his feet, he had not rested, as he felt very exposed and afraid out in the open. So two days later we laid him down on his mattress in Faith's "cabana," a 14'x14' screen house with rubber walls, floor deep bedding, and his 4 inch memory foam mattress with fleece blankets to lay on.

He still could not relax. He kept trying to get up. Every three minutes Catherine and I would find ourselves standing outside to watch him. Cassie, his stall mate, parked herself just outside. She held vigil, refusing to eat or drink. I said to Catherine, "I feel like he's calling me, I just have to keep coming to him." Catherine said, "Yes, I feel him, too!" As did Cassie, apparently. We didn't want to go in and bother him, we wanted him to sleep. So, after due consideration, we gave him one mg of Xanax. In 15 minutes Willie was sound asleep.

Willie has taught me that undisturbed REM sleep is essential for old horses. They need a place to feel safe and comfortable, where no other horse will bully or harass them. They want to know there are others nearby to protect them from predators. Willie sent us all a clear message of "Help me, I can't get up and I'm alone." Catherine and I went in and lay down on the mattress with him. He wanted us there. We held him and petted him. We whispered to him. He slept surrounded by our love.

Late that night, after Xanax for both me and Willie, who now rested comfortably with his back against the cabana wall, I also tried to sleep. I could not. My mind would not let things go. I decided that if Willie could not get up on his own, tomorrow would be the last day of his life. I just couldn't do this anymore. I prayed, "Jehovah, you entrusted the care of Willie to me, but both he and I belong to you. Let your will take place in our lives and please let us both get some sleep. In Jesus' name." And we slept.

Next morning I found my Willie standing in the midst of chaos. He had eaten most of his grain, drank water, peed, and had just finished pooping on the edge of his mattress on which he as standing! The extra mattresses and blankets were strewn about and mashed into the mess. Evidently he had been up for a while and had been very busy. But he had gotten up alone!

I waded through it all and with tears of joy I threw my arms around him and thanked God for this gift! Kissing and kissing his beautiful old silken, shiny pony face, I feel I experience the resurrection of the dead with him over and over again!

How can we know when it's time to make the awful decision to euthanize them? Often it's obvious. Jaime was never getting up again. Buttons, Pepper and Bess were not going to make it. Snowdrop was living with endless unmanageable pain with no hope of relief. But, what about Willie? He's a tired old man, exhausted at times, yes, with muscle spasms at times, but he's not suffering. I watch him hobble around with his two friends, Cassie and Junebug, tossing his head like the stud muffin he thinks he is and I know he's happy to be alive. It's frustrating and inconvenient for us on the days we have to lay him down and help him up, but how much longer is he going to live anyway?

When life is no longer fun for him, he'll let me know. It will be his decision, not mine. I'm so glad. I don't know why I think that it's up to me anyway.

My sweet beautiful jewel, Diamond Jim Willie, kisses for his nose, another day, another gift of his presence. Maybe tomorrow will be his last day, but today is not.

Article: Equine Cushings "Cure"

by Nina Arbella

(Please note that we're calling this a "cure," but it's really just a great treatment that we discovered for Equine Cushings disease. We're not vets, we're just observant horse people who want to help other horse owners who want to learn about helping horses with equine cushings. Call 978-897-8866 for information on purchasing our supplement for Equine Cushings.)

See also our Frequently Asked Questions on the Equine Cushings Cure.

Equine Cushings disease is caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland, which is responsible for the production and regulation of hormones. Symptoms include a long, shaggy coat that does not shed, excessive drinking and urination, laminitis, a tendency for recurring infections in the hoof (foot abscesses), and a loss of muscle mass, especially along the topline and rump.

A "Cure?" for Equine Cushings Disease?

At Eye of the Storm Equine Rescue, we’ve discovered what appears to be a cure for Cushings disease in horses. We’re not licensed nor are we doctors, but we know what has worked for our horses and for lots of others, so we wanted to share our experiences in case it helps cure your own horse of equine Cushings disease.

While looking through a nutritional healing book at Debra’s Natural Gourmet in West Concord, Mass., I came across a sentence that said “Chasteberry feeds the pituitary gland.” Chasteberry in recent times has been used mainly for “women’s complaints.” I know it works because it beats the crap out of PMS, you feel better in 20 minutes. “Hmm,” I say, “I like chasteberry, let’s see what it can do for our two Cushings horses.”

Bess - A Shetland with Equine Cushings

Bess, our 26 year old Shetland had obvious symptoms: long hair that didn’t shed and she was a sway back. Not as bad as some, but still obvious. I couldn’t wait for the vet to take some blood to find out her “numbers.” The results were positive for equine Cushings. I put her on one teaspoon twice a day, three weeks on and one week off. Though she began to shed her coat of “buffalo” hair almost immediately, she never was a very slick pony. But I was determined to keep her on the chasteberry one year before testing her blood again. If I saw results then, I would tell the world.

One year later, after Bess’ test results came back, the vet said, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep on doing it.” Bess’ numbers were down 33 points! I don’t know exactly what these numbers represent, but evidently this never happens in real life! After one year of feeding her pituitary gland, had I managed to reverse her equine Cushings disease? I was very excited as this ailment affects the lives of millions of old (and not so old) horses in so many negative ways. This disease is more common now than it has ever been in the past. No one really knows why, though I have my theories. That is another tale for another day.

Chasteberry for Equine Cushings

I was getting whole chasteberry in one pound bulk bags from Natural Gourmet and running it through a coffee grinder. The seeds are very hard and I figured it would come out the other end the same way they went in, unless we knocked the shells off them. You run the grinder until most of the pinging of hard berries can’t be heard anymore. You cannot grind them up completely, but that’s okay. Horses are made to digest roughage. They handle the chunks just fine. You should have a grinder for this purpose only, as your coffee might taste funny if you use the grinder for both.

Right around the time I was ready to tell the world about this “equine cushings cure,” another product came on the market called Hormonize. It is a liquid and costs around $45 per liter and lasts two weeks for your average size horse. That’s $90 per month to treat the horse. The developers of this product found it to be effective not only on mares in heat, but it also did some impressive things for Cushings horses, too. It is sold for this purpose as well. It is an all natural herbal remedy. A bit pricey, though.

I checked out the ingredients. It is a tincture of chasteberry! I think they call it vitex or monks pepper on the back. I’m not sure. It greatly saddens me that the treatment for such a devastating disease sells for so much.

Horses don’t need herbal tinctures. They can and do digest some pretty coarse stuff (have you ever tried to eat dry timothy hay?). They can not only digest the herb, but utilize it in that form beautifully.

Bess, unfortunately, died at age 28 when she decided her mission was accomplished, so we never got a third blood test from her. We have two other Cushings horses, and all of our older mares are on chasteberry as well. Junebug, who is 8 years old, was tested last year and we’ll test her again soon to see where her numbers are. Snowdrop was never tested, but all her symptoms have disappeared and she is doing well at 24 years old.

The Equine Cushings "Cure" Recipe

If any of you out there would like to try chasteberry, here’s what to do. Go to your local health food store and special order one pound bulk bag whole chastetree berry from the Frontier herb company (please mention Eye of the Storm Equine Rescue when you do). You might want to order more than one bag so that when you’re down to one you can reorder. One bag will cost you less than $20 and will last a couple of months per horse.

Run the berries through your coffee grinder and feed one teaspoon twice a day with feed. We give the same amount to horses and ponies. It works on both mares and geldings. Give it to them three weeks on and one week off all year round. It will even keep the mares from being quite so crabby in the spring.

We also give them all vitamin E in the evening, vitamin C in the morning, and MSM. No sugars or carbohydrates (not even a carrot). There are feeds out there that are low in both, such as Blue Seal Racer and some of the senior feeds (do some research). All in all, chasteberry is the answer. Even our two 30-year old mares don’t have equine Cushings, only Bess, Junebug, and Snowdrop, who came to us with the disease and it appears to be reversed. I never had horses of my own get Cushings. I have every horse in town that has Cushings on chasteberry and they’re all doing great! This is a cheap, easy, healthy remedy for Equine Cushings disease.

Frequently-Asked Questions on Equine Cushings

Q: Should I shoe my Cushings horse to make him more comfortable?

A:. If your horse has Laminitis a knowledgeable and experienced farrier who specializes in corrective shoeing may be able to, not only make your horse more comfortable, but can possibly save it’s life. If your farrier can not do this he can refer you to one of his colleagues who can.

Remember all cases are different. It took 2 years for our farrier to realize that Snowdrop needed her shoes to not put pressure on the walls of her hoof but could tolerate a fair amount on her soles, so her pads are adjusted accordingly. This could change at any time as new laminae grow out from the coronary band and the connective tissues strengthen. A good farrier will stay on top of things and tweak this or that as he gets to know our horse better. Be prepared to pay for the best. In the long run it will be worth it and may return your horse to reasonable soundness.

Remember it takes 1 year to grow out a new hoof. It is possible that it may take at least 2 years for a hoof to begin to look normal again, if ever. Be prepared also to deal with abbesses, as that dead tissue will seek a way out of the hoof capsule and your horse will be very lame until they burst. The horse will then experience instant relief. Just ride these episodes out. They will pass.

Q: My horse has a very heavy hair coat, and sweats in even below freezing temps, should I clip him?

A: I have to tell you, I just don’t know. I have no experience with this. In summer by all means clip him. I suggest you check out an “equine Cushings chat site” and ask what others have done. I would think if you could somehow clip him and leave 2 inches of hair on in the winter that would be good. Feeding Chaste tree berry ( also known as Vitex) will often make a horse begin to shed within days or it won’t happen until normal shedding season in the spring. In our experience it always does happen eventually, though Bess, our 28 year old Shetland never was really slick, we didn’t have to clip her even in summer. Again, every case is different. Seek knowledge. There are lots of people out there who know.

Q: How much Chaste tree berry should I feed?

A: We give 1 level teaspoon 2 X’s a day to our 550 lb. Shetland and 1 slightly heaping teaspoon 2X’s a day to 750 lb. Snowdrop. This is based on whole berries in which you grind yourself. If you purchase the powdered form use slightly less. We also give all our older mares the same as Snowdrop though they don’t have equine Cushings. It makes them happier during their heat cycles and less fussy. I also feel that it’s possible to prevent Cushings by starting early, maintaining good pituitary function with Chaste tree berry. It seems to be okay to use on male horses too. We have done so and the boys have done well.

Q: Can I feed my breeding stallion Chaste tree berry?

A: It’s your call. Im not sure I would continue to breed a Cushings horse. Is it hereditary? Does anyone know? Another name for chaste tree berry is “monks pepper”. Supposedly monks used it to curb their libido. Does it work that way? Some studies show it does not. If it was my stallion I would feed it to him. The pituitary is the master gland which balances the endocrine system which includes the thyroid, adrenal, thymus and sex organs. The most important thing is to improve this horse’s life.

Q: I’ve heard alfalfa was unsafe to feed to Cushings/Laminitic horses, yet you feed it in your “diet”, why is that?

A: There are all kinds of reasons that I’ve read that alfalfa is bad. Too much protein, certain chemicals that cause certain negative things to happen in a horse’s body, etc. but what I have also learned is that there is more positive reasons to feed small amounts. Too much of anything is bad, including alfalfa. It is so full of trace minerals, not to mention Beta Carotene, which is a major component needed for healthy hoof growth. We have been feeding Snowdrop 1 Quart of alfalfa cubes (Purina) soaked in 1 gallon of water once/day for 3 years. Though her hooves are very deformed (her coffin bones almost point backwards!) She has not re-Foundered in a year and a half. I feel alfalfa has aided in her recovery. Remember small amounts only. I would not feed this to small overweight ponies though. Definitely too many calories! If you are concerned, please ask your vet.

Q: What about magnesium?

A: This is probably the second most important ingredient in the “Equine Cushings diet.” I forgot to mention it in the newsletter. Magnesium helps utilize carbohydrates and helps break up those fatty deposits (cellulite) that form on the crests, tail heads, above the eyes, etc. It also aids in muscle function. We use Twin Labs 400 mg. capsules, 1 capsules per 150 lb. body weight. This stuff is very inexpensive and can be purchased at any health food store. Just open the capsules and pour in to the feed. Horses know they need it and eat it right up! Give it to him/her once a day.

Q: Why feed them brewer’s yeast?

A: There are many reasons; it keeps the gut flora healthy and it is full of B vitamins which feeds and repairs the nervous system. Biotin is a B vitamin found in brewer’s yeast and is a very important nutrient used in hoof growth formulas. They charge a lot of money for it as well. Save your money and feed your horses brewer’s yeast. Do not feed it if your horse has any respiratory problems like heaves or seasonal allergies. If he’s allergic to mold, he will probably be allergic to yeast.

Q: Can I feed Chaste tree berry while using Pergolide?

A: I have never used Pergolide. I do hear that it can cause liver damage with extended use. I do know someone who has her pony on both and after 2 years (!) The pony is doing just fine. I have suggested that the pony be taken off Pergolide, as she probably doesn’t need it anymore, but should have a blood test from her vet if her owner is concerned.

Q: What is Chaste tree berry and why does it work so well?

A: Also known as Vitex and Monks pepper. While researching Cushings disease in humans and natural cures, I came across this sentence. “Chaste tree berry feeds the pituitary”. Down through history it has mostly been used for women’s complaint and it’s other uses have been lost in obscurity, but that one little sentence set me on a path that has helped improve the lives of so many horses.

Q: I called Frontier herb and when I asked for Chaste berry they didn’t know what I was talking about.

A: My mistake, it is Chaste tree berry, Chaste tree or Vitex agnus castus.

Q: How much Vitamin E, Vitamin C and MSM do I feed?

A: According to dosage on the labels.

Q: What causes Cushings disease?

A: I believe that in most cases it is an autoimmune disorder. We are over vaccinating all our companion animals. As of last count the drug companies were encouraging us to give eight different vaccines per year and one of those 4 times a year!!! Horses have spectacular immune systems. Proper feed, good friends and a natural healthy lifestyle goes a long way in keeping our horses going strong to a ripe old age.

Q: Why did my Cushings horse Founder?

A: There has been loads of research done, brain-storming seminars and lots of ideas, but the bottom line is, no one really knows. The “perfect”design of the equine hoof is awe inspiring. It does not seem possible that Laminitis can occur. There is a wrongness about it and I feel that the answer is close. Let’s pray that someone figures it out soon. All we can do is tr eat the symptoms in the meantime, we’re all in the dark.

Q: If you don’t vaccinate your horses, how do you keep them from getting sick?

A: We do vaccinate for rabies. Since a rabid skunk got in with our pig last summer, we decided that was a real threat, but we will do Titers this year before re-vaccinating them. What about the rest? We feed Pau d’arco. It’s a very inexpensive immune booster. Whether is actually kills parasites or gives the immune system what it needs to kill them, I don’t know but it seems to work for us. We also feed Vitamin E and Vitamin C and MSM. for Czardas’ hoof canker we feed grapefruit seed extract. These supplements are healthy “food” which feed the body and help keep it strong and healthy.

Q: Where can I get these products?

A: Pau d’arco and Chaste tree berry you can order from Frontier Herbs, or a local health food store can order them for you. Call 800-669-3275 and open an account. You save 10% over retail prices when you join and become a member which costs only $10. Not a bad deal.

-Vit. C, Vit. E, MSM are expensive supplements and very important. They can be purchased from any equine supply catalog or from your local feed or tack shop.

-Magnesium is very important. We use Twin Labs, human grade 400 mg. capsules from any health food store .

-Alfalfa cubes (soak 1 qt. in 1 gal. water once/day) Purina, any feed store, any other brand will do as well.

Q: Why do you feed Chaste tree berry one week off?

A: We feel that given consistently causes the body to get too used to it and it might possible become less efficient. That week off is not so long that the pituitary can go out of balanced again but enough time to still be efficient. Here again it works for us so that’s what we do.

If you have any equine cushings questions for us, please email us. Nina Arbella is available for scheduled phone consultations on equine cushings and other topics. Please call for an appointment. We ask for a tax-free donation in exchange for her time.

Phone: (978) 897-8866

How You Can Help the Horses

There are many ways that you can help the horses at Eye of the Storm.
  • Send a tax-deductible donation. See the instructions on the bottom of the page. Eye of the Storm is a non-profit corporation, registered with the IRS as a 170(b)(1)(a)vi, a non profit organization for the prevention of cruelty to animals, under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. Your entire contribution will go to to help the horses. Frequently-asked questions about donations.
  • Visit the advertisers you see in the Google adwords ads appearing on this blog. These ads help provide additional income to buy food and supplies for the horses. Every time someone clicks on one of the ads, Eye of the Storm earns a few cents. So please, feel free to click on them. All the ads are related to horses, so you'll learn about some new products and services while helping Eye of the Storm at the same time.
  • Remember us in your will. If you would like to make a contribution to Eye of the Storm as a provision of your will, please contact us for details so the bequest is done correctly and the money is certain to go to the horses.
  • Go shopping at, a central online shopping mall that includes great stores like Land's End, Sharper Image, ToysRUs, Barnes & Noble, plus flowers, gifts and gourmet food shops. Register, select Eye of the Storm Equine Rescue as the non-profit beneficiary, then go shopping! Credit card purchases are secure and shipping fees are low. (Be sure to follow the instructions to confirm your purchases, so Eye of the Storm receives the donation.)
  • Volunteer! We need experienced horsemen and horsewomen to help with feeding, watering, turning horses out, and cleaning stalls and paddocks. We especially need responsible local people who can work with a minimum of direction. Call Nina Arbella at (978) 897-8866 or send us an email to find out more!
  • Donate horse stuff -- feed, veterinary supplies, and equipment for the horses to use. And we'd REALLY love to find a new location, at a farm with plenty of pasture and turnout space for 12 - 15 horses. Here's our wishlist.
  • Donate items, such as riding apparel and tack, that we can sell..
  • Subscribe to this blog and to our Facebook group. Hear about the latest horses we've rescued and all our latest news. 
There is no such thing as an insignificant donation. Every penny counts!

Just click on the button above to make an on-line donation.
Be sure to let us know if you would like a gift.

Or mail
your check to:

Eye of the Storm Equine Rescue 
Forest Edge Farm 
PO Box 218 
Stow, MA 01775 

We are extremely grateful for your
interest and help. You are making it possible for these beautiful
animals to have a permanent, safe and loving home.

Equine Rescue Donation FAQs

We often get questions about donating to Eye of the Storm Equine Rescue.

Where exactly does the money go?
Horse care, horse care, and nothing but horse care. Nearly a dozen horses have been rescued, rehabilitated, or purchased to remain with Eye of the Storm permanently. This facility is run completely by volunteers. There are no salaries or expense funds. (This web site is donated by a local web creation firm.)

Through the cooperation of local businesspeople and help from volunteers, we're able to keep expenses as low as possible, but providing for these animals is still costly. Here are a few examples of costs for just one horse . . .
  • Grain for one week: $12
  • Basic shoeing: $45
  • Hay for one month: $40
  • Annual shots: $45 
  • Winter blanket: $70
  • Emergency vet call: $90 - $300
(These are 2002 numbers)

Are donations tax-deductible?
Absolutely! We are a 509(a)1 non-profit foundation, and every cent of your donation is tax-deductible. This means that your donations can help YOU to lessen your tax bill. For instance: If you're in the 40% tax bracket and you donate $100 to Eye of the Storm, your federal income tax is lowered by $40, so your donation actually costs you only $60.

We are listed on, a national database of non-profit organizations. If you have any questions about our tax-deductible status, please contact our IRS representative:
Kevin Kahmann, ID #31081, Telephone: (877) 829-5500

Can I designate my contribution for a particular horse?
Yes. If you'd like to help sponsor a specific horse or pony, we'll send you a photo and profile so you'll know more about that horse's history and special needs.

Is there a minimum contribution amount?
No! We're delighted to accept donations in any amount. We also appreciate donations of needed services, equine horse-care products and feed. If you've recently lost an equine companion, and would like to donate your left-over (good quality) hay or grain, please give us a call. Check our wish list to see what else we need!

There is no such thing as an insignificant
donation. Every penny counts!

Just click on the button above to make an on-line donation.
Be sure to let us know if you would like a gift.

Or mail
your check to:

Eye of the Storm Equine Rescue 
Forest Edge Farm 
PO Box 218 
Stow, MA 01775 

We are extremely grateful for your
interest and help. You are making it possible for these beautiful
animals to have a permanent, safe and loving home.

About Eye of the Storm Equine Rescue

Who We Are

Located in Stow, Massachusetts, Eye of the Storm is an equine rescue center dedicated to saving the lives of horses who have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Horses that come to this barn remain here for life, or may be placed in approved foster homes once they are completely rehabilitated. Eye of the Storm always retains custody of its horses, even when they are placed in foster homes.

The farm was founded by Nina Arbella, a long-time horse owner who was inspired by Stormy, her first and best equine friend. Nina and a small group of volunteers now devote many hours each day to helping, learning about and caring for several horses rescued from abandonment, abuse or a miserable trip to the slaughterhouse.

Eye of the Storm also has many "end of the line," young, unsound horses to whom we provide sanctuary for the rest of their lives.

Eye of the Storm received its final IRS determination in 2004 after a 5- year working period. We are very excited that we were designated 170(b)(1)(a)vi, a non profit organization for the prevention of cruelty to animals, under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code.

Our Philosophy

People have used horses for centuries, for work, war, sport and companionship. We owe our horses a fair and responsible partnership of good care and understanding, because their lives have essentially been given to us.

Unfortunately, Eye of the Storm isn't able to house or place all of the abused or neglected horses who need our help. But we can save a few -- and we can also provide information, advice and a network of support for horses and their owners who need to know how to care for horses with special needs. Through our newsletter, Internet resources, referrals and consultations, we hope to improve the lives of many old, neglected or unwanted horses.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Our Friend: Minerva Solutions

In today's competitive business world you have to make your messages clear and simple. Minerva Solutions, Inc. can help align promotional activities with your overall marketing goals to help you gain:
  • increased visibility in your marketplace
  • higher book sales
  • lasting customer relationships
  • thought leadership status in your field
  • solid credibility with your clients
  • improved return on investment from your website and blog

A sampling of what we offer:

Craig Ashmore

Our Friend: Debra's Natural Gourmet

Debra's Natural Gourmet
98 Commonwealth Ave,
West Concord, MA.
(978) 371- 7573

-health food
-delicious ready-to-eat meals
-personal care products
-great advice
-and so much more 

Our Friend: Redbones Barbeque

RedBones Barbeque
55 Chester Street · Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 628.2200

Our Friend: Applefield Farm

Applefield Farm is located on Route 117 Stow, MA

  • Organically-grown produce
  • Annuals
  • Perennials
  • Pick-your-own flowers and produce 

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jaime, Warrior Mare

On Dec. 17, 2008 we finally succeeded in trimming 36-year-old Jaime’s hooves. We got Jaime 9 years ago when her owner died. She had spent all of her life, since she was three months old, in the company of cows. She was halter broke, but totally untrained in any other way.

Whenever we tried to trim her overgrown hooves she would throw herself on top of us, willing to commit suicide and take us all down with her before she would ever submit to a trimming. This tough old mare is still beautiful – my favorite color, dappled mahogany bay. She glistens with health. Only her dentist knows she has five teeth missing, as she eats very well indeed. Other than the sway in her back you would never guess she was that old.

The only health issue she ever had was an impaction colic that took four days to pass. We turkey basted mineral oil into her mouth, which she allowed us to do (sick horses are almost always submissive when they feel badly). She sucked down buckets of apple cider as she refused to drink water at that time. On the fourth day she passed a dried out, brick-sized lump of manure and was back to her old self. In those four days she stood in the corner of her stall like a rock, never groaned, never rolled on the floor, never showed any outward signs of the turmoil going on in her tummy. Tough old mare!

I had pretty much decided that if the old girl didn’t want her feet trimmed, so be it. I could barely stand to look at her, though. I felt everyone thought I was neglecting her. So, we tried one more time.

Our vet, Dr. Brett Gaby of Essex Equine in Bolton, came and gave her a tranquilizer and went to work. That old gal, barely conscious and drooling, still put up such a fight - rearing first, then sinking down on top of us - that I feared for us all. I found myself leaning on Dr. Graby as he tried to trim. The poor man was supporting the weight of both me and the horse. He gave her another dose of the tranquilizer.

The battle continued. At one point as she started to sink again, we let her do so. I jumped on her head and held her down. Dr. Gaby had to extract himself and his tools from under her, but she was down and was going to stay there, by golly!

For the next hour I sat on her head and Dr. Gaby trimmed all four of her hooves while she lay flat on the floor. She tried to get up a few times and Dr. Gaby had to step quickly amidst flailing legs. Finally, the job was done!

We let Jaime get up. Her tongue was hanging out on the left side of her mouth, dried out, and covered with bedding. That meant she had been unconscious, but even in her sleep she had fought us!

Dr. Gaby’s only complaint through all that hard work was “this is a very awkward position for hoof trimming.” Thank you, you wonderful man! I add one more hero to my list. Thank you!

On another note…

A friend whom I haven’t seen in ten years called me from Florida and said, “Nina, I can’t believe it – you’re famous!!” Well, in this day and age it doesn’t take much to be famous. Too bad I’m not rich, too. Any you may quote me.


P.S. Our latest wishlist items: portable fence panels, a round pen, surveillance camera, and a video camera. It's OK with us if any of these items are used. Thanks for any help you can provide.