Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc. ----Discussion Forum

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Guess who found her second horse today?  :)  Donna and her husband, Fred, came to the farm to meet horses today.  They met Lakota and the search was over.  Donna and Lakota did fantastic together and we think Lakota is going to be exactly what they were looking for.  We really look forward to hearing of their adventures together, and hopefully we will see them on the trail ride this fall too! 

Thank you so much for choosing the adoption route again Donna, the horses all thank you too.  Congratulations Donna and Fred!  Please tell Crosby I said hi too. 

Here are some pictures from adoption day today, 7/13/2013. 

I want to explain the beautiful pink halter that Lakota is wearing. A wonderful lady named Toni came by the MHWF farm brought 20 halters, 10 pink and 10 blue. The Sandy Hook tragedy hit her really hard and she was thinking about the 20 acts of kindness and she came up with this idea. Each horse that gets adopted now will leave with a beautiful rope halter with attached lead rope, pink for the mares and blue for the geldings. You will notice that there is a little horse figure attached to the halter, and each one of those little wooden horses attached to the halter has the name of a Sandy Hook victim on it.  What a wonderful way to remember them and share their memory!  Here is an adoption day picture of Lakota in the beautiful pink halter in remembrance of MADELEINE from the Sandy Hook tragedy. 


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That is so awesome!!!  Big congratulations to Donna, Fred, Sugar Bear, and Lakota!  I am sure this family is going to be very happy!  I am really very glad that Lakota was there for you when you were ready for her!  I was thinking about her as soon as you said you were looking for your second horse.  Happy trails to all of you!  Such a nice remembrance of Madeleine as well!
Donna M
Forgot to add in my last post, we made it home without incident except for the dog puking on my lap. Poor Crosby has a tummy ache.
Wendy W - WI
CONGRATULATIONS!  Fabulous pictures and you look great with her!  I am so looking forward to more updates.

I hope Crosby is feeling better.  I had a dog that loved to go for rides, but got car sick too.  
Congratulations to Lakota, Donna and Fred! hope poor Crosby feels better quick!
I am sooo happy that Lakota found a good home, and will have another pasture mate to chum with, and enjoy her life to theFULLEST. Congratulations. 
Anna WI
After seeing you and Sugar Bear on the camping trip, I think you are just perfect for Lakota. I can't wait to hear about all your new adventures.
Jenni O.
Congratulations! This is why Lakota was there for awhile-she must have been waiting for you. Happy trails, and hope your husband goes for a ride now and then too. But you will enjoy having two to ride.
Donna M
       Well, nothing like baptism by fire for poor Miss Raven! Today I went out to the farm with one of my employees who has horse experience. My intentions were to introduce Sugar Bear and Raven and do some arena work with "the girls". As I was pulling in, a couple of my riding buddies were just heading out for a trail ride and asked us to join them. After borrowing a saddle and getting both Raven and Sugar Bear ready, we headed out for a 90 minute ride. Megan rode Sugar, who is always calm and for the most part very confident, and I rode Raven.

Raven did very well and I was so proud of her! I asked a lot of her today. She rode with some hesitation at first but settled in about half way through the ride. I found that if she is leading she is a bit agitated and wants to GO! If she follows Sugar Bear she does much better. She was nervous when the first couple vehicles passed but each time one was coming up behind us, I turned her around to face it and asked her to stop. She watched it pass by and got lots of praise for remaining calm. By the end of our ride she was moving forward with confidence when cars were approaching in either direction and passing us by.

She had a pretty good spook when a deer was moving in the woods. We ended up almost in the ditch when she spun in a circle. Her reaction was prompted more by another horses' reaction to the deer than the actual deer itself. A second time we encountered a deer she did not react at all. Sometimes when she seemed distracted by her surroundings I would ask her to trot to take her mind off whatever she was obsessing over. Within a minute or two she settled down.

After our ride she got rinsed off and a grain treat which she shared with Sugar Bear. They each started with separate portions but Sugar is a bit of a piggy and helped herself to Raven's share. At first Raven let Sugar have the grain but then had second thoughts. Soon they were sharing whatever morsels were left over.

I know it was suggested I give her some time to get used to her surroundings but my desire to ride won over my better judgment. All in all, Raven did superb! Hope you enjoy the pics!

Jenni O.
What a great update, and so soon! I actually don't think all horses need an adjustment period before being ridden. Depends on the horse, the rider, and what you are asking of them. You just have to not have too many expectations and look at it as more of a trial run.

One thing you can do to help Lakota get more comfortable leading, since you have riding buddies, is to leapfrog down the trail. The horse in the rear trots to the front and leads for awhile and then next horse in the rear takes its turn. That way she is frequently switching positions and can relax.

One other thing you can do to keep her distracted if she seems tense is to get her to slightly give or bend to one side while using your opposite leg to keep her moving straight. Work both sides at the walk, and eventually you can do it at a trot. It's a pretty simple way to keep them a little more occupied.

Happy trails, and I'm so glad she found a home with you and Sugar Bear.
Donna, *Raven* looks like he is ENJOYING the COOL down.. It looks his eyes are even almost closed, so it has to feel GOOOOD. The duo seemed to be really munching down the treats. *Sugar Bear* is a good partner for the trails huh? That sounds like you had a nice ride. Does ANYONE ever HONK their horns when going by? I remember it happened to me, and I didn't think it was FUNNY.
mel d
Congratulations on the adoption and trail ride! It sounds as if you two did wonderfully together and that Lakota and Sugar Bear will be great companions. Husband, friend, whatever...you have two super horses to share and ride :)
Donna M
Raven was turned out this morning and enjoyed stretching her legs, rolling in the dirt, and grazing. It's about 90 degrees today so the herd is pretty quiet. None of them except for a big gelding really paid much attention to her. After checking out the place and spending a few minutes in the back of the pasture, she approached the herd but was chased away by the alpha gelding. I will go back tonight to see how she is adjusting.
congratulations to Raven and Donna!  Sounds like you guys are off to a great beginning!
Donna - I love your updates on Sugar Bear and I am so happy for you and Raven.  Many congrats!
Donna M
Thanks all. Raven is a sweet natured gem. I love her "underdog persona" and really want to continue the great work that was done in her previous home. I'm going to take Sugar Bear to a desensitization clinic at the farm and then practice the same exercises with Raven. I don't want to overwhelm Raven with all the props at once.

After work I went to see how she was adjusting and found her alone in the run-in. She has been chased from the heard each time she has tried to approach. I know there is a natural process to this and she will find her place but my heart aches for her. When Sugar Bear came home almost 2 years ago, she sort of waltzed in and said, "Here I am!" so I guess I expected the same from Raven.  I took Sugar Bear for a short ride tonight and left Raven at the farm. When we returned I watched Sugar trot to the back of the pasture to join the herd. I went to Raven and gave her some affection before heading home. How long do I have to watch her in solitude? It's killing me!

Char: I haven't experienced anyone honking their horns but they sometimes drive by like a bat out of Hades! GRRRRR .... Yesterday a man stopped his car and turned off the engine because Raven was uncomfortable. She settled down quickly but was startled when the guy started his car again.

Scott: MHWF
Poor Raven, she is a really sweet horse and I am sure that eventually they will let her be part of the herd. All this is pretty natural. Hopefully she can join them sooner rather than later.
Congrats.  Give it time Donna, it will all settle in.  We just introduced horse #6 to the herd, it took about 2-3 weeks for it all to settle in.
Dona M
Fred and I went to the farm tonight just to spend time with Sugar Bear and Raven. I've learned a few things since bringing home Sugar Bear. When I approached Raven, she avoided me and trotted away so I left her and went to get my now always willing and faithful Sugar Bear. Sugar enjoyed her grooming and massage in the barn and got her special cookies when we returned to the pasture. Raven and her new buddy, a POA gelding who was introduced to the herd a couple months ago, were near the gate when Sugar returned with her human cookie dispenser. Raven almost let me put the halter on her but the gelding pushed between us. When I pushed him away, I missed my chance with Raven. So I picked some fresh grass and offered it to the POA which in turn enticed Raven. She took it from my hand and I was able to put a rope over her neck and then put on the halter. In the barn for her grooming session she was anxious to get back to the pasture because her beau was calling her. She settled down after a while and tried to figure out why this human was massaging her and talking softly. When she was calm she returned to the pasture and enjoyed her cookies. I walked over to the round bale feeder and offered her some hay. After about 5 minutes of hand feeding she wandered off and started grazing. I alternated between her and Sugar Bear who was about 20 yards from Raven. Each time I approached Raven she accepted my presence and was praised for allowing me to pet her. She remained calm the entire time even when I put the rope on her neck and back.

I am seeing how important it is for Raven to trust me so I'm taking things slower. She did very well during our first trail ride, but I would like to see if there is a difference in her response and behavior after I gain her trust and she feels more secure in her surroundings. She really is a beautiful girl inside and out.
How kind and patient you are Donna.  You are doing the right thing and all will come in time as you know.  Love the update.
Amy T
Hi Donna, I'm Raven's former adopter. I can tell you that once she commits to trust you, you will love her even more. If you give her the time she needs on her terms she WILL come to you readily. I'm happy to hear all your updates. If you ever want to email, Scott and Karen have my info. Keep up the great work!
Donna M

Today I picked up Raven and Sugar Bear and brought them home for a few hours. I wanted to see how they would do with my dogs. I know the horses have been around dogs but my dogs have never met horses. Introductions went well and they all acted like they've known each other their entire lives.

It was such a great feeling having them here even though the fencing isn't up yet and the run-in isn't built. It is only a matter of a week or two (crossing fingers!) before the work is gets done so I can send pics to Scott and Karen for approval. Today we were limited to walking on lead ropes and lunging. I did saddle Sugar Bear so I could ride her for a bit and also ponied Raven around the field that will soon become their pasture. That went well considering it was probably the first time for all of us. Raven was very relaxed here. My home is much quieter than the farm where she boards and she appreciated the tranquility. I do think all the commotion at the farm is in some ways good for her though. She gets exposed and desensitized to a lot more there.

They "had a field day" here! There was so much to eat!!! The field hasn't been mowed all year but we did clear a path around the perimeter where the fencing will go. They also enjoyed all the attention.

Questions ~
Is there any danger to them overeating other than packing on extra pounds?
Should I put a grazing muzzle on them for part of the day?
If I use a muzzle, will they still be able to drink water?

Amy ~ I will contact Scott and/or Karen for your email address. Here are a few pics from today.

Pic #1 my back yard abutting their pasture area (beyond the wood pile)
Pic #2 sort of the same shot but with zoom
Pic #3 Sugar with another kid on her back (poor horse probably thinks she works at the fair sometimes!) Raven with my husband's cousin just hanging out
Pic #4 Raven being photogenic    

Jenni O.
Donna, they won't be able to eat that tall grass with a grazing muzzle on. The grass will bend over rather than poke through the holes of a muzzle. You can always limit turnout time-that's what I do. I have a separate dry lot where the shed and water are located. That is divided in half because our mares can't be together in the dry lot. Right now the mare on a diet is in the one half of the dry lot, the other two are in the pasture but have acces to other half of dry lot and water/shelter. And yes, they learn to drink with the muzzle on.

If you can't limit turnout you can put the muzzles on for part of the time. There are a lot of things to consider when letting the horses out on grass, but I will let others post on that. Time for work!
Are they on pasture now where they get plenty of grass to eat all day?  That will help determine how much time they should spend on pasture at your place.
Ditto what Faith said, that was my question also.  Any time you go from hay to lush grass can be an issue.
If your horses are use to grass grazing as it comes in to the pastures then maybe not as much issue.  Great question though as fonder / colic is something all should be aware off when introducing horses to new feed.

I suspect Karen and Scott will have great advice once they regain their ability to hear things under 100 Db :-)  Donna if your horses were on hay a few times a day then I would most def. be apprehensive about 24 hours on grasses.  If they have been on graze throughout the year maybe a lil les nervous but that sure is your call.
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