Days like today, while not uncommon, inspire me to write.
The alarm goes off at 4 am each morning, just in case I forgot to soak the buckets of hay pellets for Henry, Jackson and Tom the night before (yes, there have been evenings where I fell asleep and forgot!). They must soak for an hour before feeding and since Henry and Jackson demand I be prompt with their 5 am breakfast, I must rise that early.
Shiloh, our little Mustang has COPD and has had a tough Fall with his allergy induced respiratory issues. He has been on and off steroids to control his wheezing and Heaves, but just this past week I was able to step him down and off of them. The cold winter months are usually good for him, but this morning the little guy was wheezing. UGH! A dose of Respi-Free for now and steroids will likely need to be resumed in the evening.
During the lunch feeding, I notice Buddy had made it from the lower pasture up to his main run in shelter and wondered why he gimped up the hill alone. I decided I had better check on him, as he was barely putting weight on the right front due to an impending abscess. Chronic abscesses in both of his front feet have been plaguing him for months. One opened in the heel of the left front foot a couple of days ago, but the right front foot has been building like a pressure cooker, near to coming to the surface.
When he saw me, he let out a high pitched squeal telling me he was happy to see me. He had been munching hay and was deciding if he wanted to make the trek back down the hill to be with his BFF’s Mikey & Tom. We shared an apple and I decided he could use a “snack” of some senior feed while I groomed him. As I left him to care for the others, I felt like the abscess was very close to opening up within a day, which meant relief was on the horizon.
I was determined to scrub Ellie’s legs today. She is a heavily feathered Shire who has endured some trauma with her past life handling. She resents having her legs or feet worked on. She had been biting at and making sores and stomping to relieve the itch. To stay safe, a little sedation was in order before undertaking the task.
Before I begin, Kristen, our amazing Sunday volunteer, had hiked thru the pastures to tell me that Shiloh is wheezing pretty hard and I might need to go check on him. So I trekked thru down the fields to find he and Mary standing in their shed resting, and little man is wheezing and heaving worse than at breakfast. No need to delay treatment, so an injection was in order!
After getting back to the barn, I got Ellie to work on her. She decided seeing Siegfried off in the distance was not good enough, she needed him right nearby! So I brought him over-he was elated to find some fresh sprigs of green grass, but was unconcerned that Ellie needed him. The sedation the vet left for her must have been an extremely conservative dose because she never got sleepy, only a bit relaxed. I did the best I could, and was pleased she didn’t try to kick me in the head-success!
Onward to work on Max-or Mad Max as we often call him, since he has Jekyll and Hyde personality traits! I trust him as far as I can physically throw him not to kick me when working on his legs! He is extremely reactive when working on his legs, so a big tub of hay mixed with alfalfa, apples and treats keeps his mind off of what I am doing, and keeps me safe (most of the time). He was good as long as the apples lasted, so when the treats were gone, we called it a day-another success!
It is then time to soak meals for Henry, Jackson and Tom (yes, again) and perhaps take a half hour rest. Much to my surprise and delight, Lyric, another awesome volunteer, called to say she had made me a Nut Loaf and was bringing it over so I didn’t have to think about dinner! It’s a gluten free, vegan recipe that I shared with her, that has now become a favorite. Wow and Yum!
When it’s time to feed Shiloh again, I was pleased to see that the steroids had already calmed down the wheezing! Hoping another round of a low dose will set him straight and he can be medication free for the remainder of the winter.
It’s now time for the big boys to come in from their daytime pasture. Tom is ready, lets out a rare whinny, and Mikey has no problem taking orders to follow! He is our 2,500 pound, 20 hand Belgian who is always ready to eat.
Poor Buddy makes his way slowly up to the shed, but I was delighted to see that the abscess was now open and draining! After carefully cleaning that one, I proceeded to clean the left front heel that is still draining. WHEW, he will be feeling better soon!
Mikey recently abscessed in his left hind foot, and it is still draining, requiring twice a day cleaning. He had been lame for a few days, but is moving well and other than being sensitive about the area where it opened up, is feeling better!
While old man Tom is not without some issues, he rarely causes any trouble-laid back and easy going. I just so happened to check under his tail and to my disappointment find he needed to be cleaned. He is a very hard keeper when not on grass, but giving him extra winter pasture has kept him healthy and free from the “squirts”. After fetching some warm water and a rag to clean him, as I approached to begin he starting projectile squirting brown liquid. That folks, was the very moment, that I decided to call it a day!
If you are looking for me, I will be in hibernation until the alarm goes off at 4 am!
Happy New Year to all!
Cindy Daigre, Founder
Ferrell Hollow Farm Senior Horse Sanctuary
We have had a very busy month, and it does not appear to be slowing down! Our Open House event on 11/22 brought out a great crowd of people, the weather was perfect and the horses enjoyed the day!
We have several items for sale that are great for gift giving! Photo book-marks of the horses, photo notecards, and photo charm jewelry-contact us if you are interested in making any of these purchases!
We also have our Benefit Wines available-they are available by ordering online here:
If you would like to purchase holiday gifts for the horses, visit our Wish List for ideas! Items can be purchased from the listed websites and shipped direct, and store credit at our local feed stores or gift cards are always welcomed! Monetary donations are needed as well so that we can continue to provide the best possible care to our senior horses–your donations are tax-deductible as we do have 501c3 tax exemption status!
The change in seasons has brought about an array of issues for the horses which have been quite costly. Buddy had a colic episode which appeared to set off some ulcers, Shiloh‘s COPD became out of control where he could not breathe (or eat), and Mikey has a cancerous growth on his eye that is being removed this week. Four vet visits in two weeks is a lot to endure! Then there are the seniors that have such digestive upsets that it is costing a fortune on trial and error supplementation to find what will work to clear those issues, Siegfried‘s battle with hoof abscesses and Snow White’s intolerance to her Cushing’s medication!
I have dedicated my life to giving these sweet souls what others would not, and I truly appreciate everyone who joins me in my crusade 🙂
Peace to all!
Cindy Daigre, Founder
Ferrell Hollow Farm Senior Horse Sanctuary
Jackson is a 25 year old Belgian draft horse that we know little about except he was used for harness work and needed a forever home with lots of TLC! He is a nice guy and it’s all about the food for him! He requires soaked meals and fine, soft hay. He needs lots of grooming, a customized diet plan, and hoof care needs addressed. He is extremely itchy, so much so, he has numerous sores all over, especially in between the hind legs and uses whatever tree he can find to rub on! We need to purchase him a draft halter, start him on a supplementation plan to address his issues and goodness gracious all of the soaked meals he will require!
Please consider a donation to our sanctuary to help with not only Jackson’s expenses, but the others in our care. All contributions are tax deductible as allowed by the IRS as we are a 501c3 non-profit charity.
Enjoy these photos from Jackson’s first day!
Two months ago I was called upon to help another senior draft horse. We were not looking to take in another just yet, however the mare was fairly local and I could go take a peek at her. After seeing her I knew two things: 1-she needed to come to our sanctuary and 2-she was going to be quite a challenging project horse!
Liz is a 21 year old grey roan Clydesdale mare who was a victim of the PMU industry. Mares are kept pregnant year after year so their urine can be collected to make the hormone replacement therapy drug Premarin. Liz has the number 51 branded on her left hip, which is how the PMU farm identified her. The foals they produce are considered a “by-product” of the industry and most end up at auctions and slaughter plants. When the mares are no longer able to breed, they too often find themselves in this situation-old, unhandled, used up and unwanted, destined for slaughter.
More about Premarin
Liz spent the first 30 days in Quarantine where she was taught to respect her human care-taker. She had to be taught to be haltered and handled. It took 10 days to be able to touch her shoulder without her flinching and shying away. It took 3 weeks before I could touch her hindquarters. Handling her legs and treating the visible pastern lesions were a No Go until 4 weeks. She has long feathering on her legs, characteristic of the Clydesdale breed, and close inspection and parting of the hair revealed some pretty nasty lesions that needed immediate attention! She was also biting her front legs and stomping her hind ones.
Left front leg after 7 days of daily treatment with Equiderma Skin Lotion!
Her current routine is day time turnout in the large dry lot, which is situated where she can see most all of the other horses on the farm and get friendly with Henry, Ruby and Maggie if she feels like it. In the evening she is brought into the barn for the night in a dry comfy stall with plenty of hay and water. Each night before “bedtime” we have our routine of grooming and inspecting all legs and treating the pastern lesions. Currently we are working on teaching her to pick up her front feet for handling and cleaning.
She has seen our equine dentist, veterinarian and is starting to have her feet trimmed on a regular basis. Her hoof handling is still a work in progress and will take several more months before she will be completely comfortable with that. She is still very wary of anyone except her primary care-giver (Cindy) and we have been introducing her to volunteers to assist with certain aspects of her care. She will retain this routine for the winter and when the grass begins to grow, she will have full turnout in a large pasture with a suitable companion. For now, she is quite content with her new life, has gained the needed weight and is slowly learning to trust humans–we all don’t want to take something from you without giving back sweet girl! At least not those of us at our Senior Horse Sanctuary!
Please consider a monthly sponsorship or donation to help care for Liz! She requires daily anti-histimine medication for the extreme itchiness with her pastern dermatitis. Donate Here
Cindy Daigre, Founder Ferrell Hollow Farm Senior Horse Sanctuary
Liz after 2 months of care!
We’ve had the coldest new year on record in 20 years! Caring for a dozen special needs senior horses on a daily basis, without temperature extremes can be exhausting, never knowing what you might face on any given day. Add in sub zero temperatures, wind, frozen ground for days, snow….well you get the picture-COLD!
In the middle of afternoon feeding rounds, as I was dreaming about sitting in front of the wood-stove, I saw that Snow White was laying down in her frozen shavings pit with Siegfried standing next to her. Visions like this stop me in my tracks. I knew that several days of frozen ground were not kind to her foundered foot, and that she was tired from not laying down for a night or two.
All thoughts of how my knees were aching, hands were hurting, how cold and tired I was faded away. All that mattered was how could I help this sweet old lady feel better. Discovering that all the faucets in the barn were now frozen, despite all efforts to keep them working, I had to use a crow bar to hack thru 6 inches of ice in the water troughs making a hole large enough for a bucket to dip down in order to fill all heated tubs and buckets. Drinkable water was crucial. As I cleaned their large run in shelter which is floored with stall mats and shavings, I carefully picked out any frozen nuggets of manure that would be uncomfortable for her to walk or stand on. Then I added several bags of fresh shavings to the pit she likes to lay in, making it soft and fluffy instead of cold and frozen. Hay nets are always hung in the areas where mats are on the ground so they can stand in comfort.
She rose and came over to eat her dinner and went on about her business as usual. It only takes a moment like this, seeing these two gentle giants comforting each other to remind me about what my life’s purpose is–to give back to these forgotten old souls that need a soft place to land. Our mission is to give sanctuary to senior horses who would otherwise not have a chance at a forever retirement home. It is truly my honor to care for them each and every day, no matter the weather conditions, to keep them safe, healthy and as comfortable as possible for the time that they have left with us. Consider supporting our efforts if you can. Donations are always needed to help care for them.
Cindy Daigre, Founder
Ferrell Hollow Farm Senior Horse Sanctuary
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Spring has finally arrived, things are turning green, early flowers are blooming, and the horses are shedding their winter coats!
Eagle‘s Cushing’s Disease was not able to be managed well over the winter, despite our many efforts to do so. A recent vet visit and blood work confirmed that a significant increase in his medication was needed. Special thanks to volunteer Paula for giving Eagle his spring body clip!
Siegfried, who recently turned 24, has been battling abscesses since early February. First the left hind foot, then the left front foot, then the right front foot. All abscesses have occurred in the white line, so picking up his feet is a necessary, however quite challenging, part of his treatment. Even our vet agreed that there was no time to waste when picking up and working on this big fella’s feet!
Big Mack has presented with more issues surrounding his arthritic knees and left stifle injury. We are giving him extra supportive care in attempts to keep him as comfortable as possible. He also has blown out an abscess in his right front foot!
Shiloh has issues with his respiratory condition from Spring thru Fall, and allergies exacerbate his coughing, so he is on supplements to address that condition and help reduce the coughing spells.
In early March we accepted a new senior into the sanctuary–she is completely blind in both eyes and we named her Ruby. She is a big draft mare and requires special management for her disability. She is very sweet and enjoys attention, but has some issues with touching her head ,ears, and the handling of her feet. She is getting healthier by the day and has made a new best friend in Maggie, one of our eldest horses.
On a positive note, you won’t believe your eyes when you see the transformation that Tom has made in the 4 short months he has been here. Arriving in December in an emaciated state, infested with lice, look at him now! He is coming out of his shell and looking fantastic! He is a big boned, elderly Percheron who is quite handsome!
We currently have a long list of Needs! Our donations are down and our bank balance is meager. We need your help and there are many ways to do so, even if you don’t have money to give! We keep our WISH LIST current and by clicking the link will see what we are in need of!
In the next week we will need to order more medication for Eagle, and prescription anti-inflammatory medication we use for several of the horses arthritic conditions. Our hay supply is low and fingers crossed we make it until the first cuttings are ready!
Just some of our monthly costs to support our Sanctuary Senior Horses: Hay $1,200, Feed: $800 Trims: $355 Supplements: $1,200 Medications: $200, not to mention supplies such as shavings and topical products (all on our Wish List).
Some of the supplement items we buy from Bulk Foods: MSM, Vitamin C, Tumeric, Garlic.
Our choice of Vitamin/Mineral supplement from Horse Tech: High Point for Grass.
If you have horses, know of folks that do and use any of the Triple Crown feeds, please collect the Proof of Purchase (POP’s) from the back of the bag for us. We are able to redeem them for cash towards our next feed purchase!
If you conduct a bit of on-line shopping, please use iGive.com to support our charity! Hundreds of merchants donate a percentage of your purchases to charity and issue monthly checks. Just sign up, and choose Ferrell Hollow Farm Senior Horse Sanctuary as your charity of choice!
We have several on-going Fundraisers that we would love for you to be a part of!
If you are in the area, our next Open House is Saturday May 18th from 10 am to 3 pm. Come see what we are all about, I don’t think you will be disappointed! Feel free to share this post to interested friends and family!
Cindy Daigre, Founder
Sunday March 3rd I received a call to help a draft x horse in need of getting out of a bad situation. Because this was a good friend of mine calling and I knew it was a desperate situation, I agreed even though I did not know anything about the horse. Once the horse was loaded for transport, I was told it was a mare, she was thin and probably blind with a bad left hind leg.
I got the Quarantine paddock and shed ready for her arrival. As you can imagine, she was very scared to come off of the trailer and into the paddock. However once she got a whiff of some yummy orchard grass hay, she relaxed and dove right in! I named her Ruby. She is 16 hands tall, weighs a bit over 1,200 lbs and wears a size 82 blanket.
The vet came to check out Ruby today. She has very little vision in either eye, the right one is cloudy from some sort of an injury. Her hocks are quite large and there is some soft swelling on the front of the left one. She came infested with lice, which have been treated. She has sores all over and her tail has been rubbed off from the intense itching lice cause. She has had many foals and fortunately she is not in foal now! She needed a mild float but overall her teeth are in good shape, but do show quite a bit of aging, we estimated her to be at least 25 years old.
I will await her blood test results before making any changes with her, but she will remain in quarantine until the end of March in case she develops any contagious diseases. She will continue to receive proper care and nutrition and when she is ready will be introduced to a new equine friend!
Ruby is a complete sweetheart! She uses her nose, feet and sense of smell and hearing to guide her around the paddock to the hay and water. She is very patient and waits for meals and attention very quietly and is easy to work around. It will be a challenge to get her feet trimmed with her joint issues, but my vet, who knows me well said, “Cindy put her on some of your herbal mixes, and with your proper nutrition and TLC, in 30 days she will look like a different horse!” 🙂 Donations towards Ruby’s care are much appreciated!
Ruby has sores and a rubbed tail from lice and is thin.
Ruby, after 4 days of TLC, is very comfortable in her new home!
Siegfried turns 24 years old February 10, 2013! While many of our sanctuary horses we do not know much about their past, let alone their birthday, we do know a bit about Siegfried. He spent his working career as a jousting horse in New York. Quite noble and bomb-proof, I imagine he was a wonderful mount for the sport! He is an 18 hand, 2,200 lb Percheron Draft horse, born black, has turned pure white as he has aged.
Read more about Siegfried’s Bio.
We will be honoring Siegfried’s birthday by opening the part of the farm which he resides for a short “Meet & Greet” on Saturday February 9th from Noon to 2:00 pm. You will be able to visit with he and his lady friend Snow White, and quite possibly catch a glimpse of the other horses who reside here. Please note that the entire farm will not be open for tours on this date. However, mark your calendars for Saturday May 18th, as we will have the entire Sanctuary open for visitors!
Siegfried does have a Wish List for his Birthday! A few of the items have already been purchased for him -the Fly Sheet has been ordered and Nicker Treats have arrived! We do love the Equi-Spa products for him as he loves bathes in the warmer weather! We can always use bagged Pine shavings to keep his shelter/stall and sleeping areas dry and fluffy! Any and all Donations are greatly appreciated!
Siegfried’s Diet: In case you were wondering just what does it take to keep this handsome beast so good-looking, here is what he receives each day!
50 lbs Bermuda Grass hay
1 lb Alfalfa Hay
4 cups Ration Balancer pellets (Triple Crown Lite)
Stabilized Flax Meal
Kauffman’s Equine Gold (Pre/Probiotic)
High Point Vitamin/Minerals
Smart Flex IV Ultimate Joint Supplement
Devil’s Claw (for pain & inflammation of his Ringbone)
On occasion, he requires also Firocoxib prescription anti-inflammatory medication for the Ringbone
Nicker Treats, and lots of love and attention!
As you can imagine, it is quite costly to care for him, and we would appreciate any Donations you could manage to help us continue giving him the best in his senior years!
Today we had to lay to rest our oldest and longest term resident Willie. He was 32 years old and had been with us for 8 years! Willie came to us from New York all those years ago when his arthritis was getting worse and the winters in NY were not kind. He thrived here, having four seasons to enjoy, full turnout, being able to come and go as he pleased, using a run in shelter for his feeding and loafing needs. He has had a loving owner for many, many years who never denied him anything he needed, including all these years of retirement. He truly lived the high life for quite some time!
Things will definitely not be the same here without him, as he was always a constant, as horses have come in and passed on, Willie was always here. His faithful companion, Maggie will miss him the most, as she has been his devoted follower for several years. Run free my friend, in the green pastures where your troubles are behind you. We will certainly miss you!!!
Please take a few moments to pay tribute by viewing the Slideshow of Willie and his friends.
The start of 2013 has been a tough one-two of our oldest residents Maggie & Willie have not been well, battling ulcers, the stress of weather swings, going off feed, and just feeling their age. Then the hard drive crashed in my laptop, but I am back up and running now, albeit behind on my year end paperwork and books. For all of those who donated in 2012, you will be receiving your donation receipts before the end of January! We filed for our 501c3 tax exemption status on 9/1/12 and are waiting on the IRS to get thru their back log to receive our determination letter. All donations of goods and dollars will be eligible for tax exemption back dated to our date of becoming a registered non-profit on 7/20/12!
We continue to receive inquiries of owner surrenders and senior horses in need of our care, but are equipped to only care for a limited number, as much as I would like to say yes to everyone, I simply can not. We are always in need of donations to help us care for our residents-these seniors with special needs are quite costly to care for.
Siegfried has a Birthday coming up! He turns 24 on February 10, 2013! He is a magnificent horse, full of beauty and charisma, but not without his own set of health issues. The ringbone in his front legs is significant and causes him discomfort a lot of the time. He requires soft, stable ground to navigate on-mats and lots of shavings in his feeding and sleeping areas, joint supplements and anti-inflammatory medication. I have created a WISH LIST for Siegfried’s Birthday if you care to purchase a gift for him! I will also open the farm for a 2 hour “Meet & Greet Siegfried” on his birthday weekend! If you wish to come see him, bring a donation or a gift! Details will be announced soon. How many $25 donations can we raise in Siegfried’s name by his Birthday!!!?! I would love to see enough of them to cover his care for one month 🙂
We are accepting 80 donations towards our Rockin’ For the Seniors Fundrasier and when we reach that goal, will draw a name to win one of Alan Daigre’s Rope Rockers!
We still have our 2013 Calendars available-each month featuring a different horse in our care! Simply donate $25 and specify “Calendar” and we will mail you one!
We will be scaling back the number of natural horse & body care products that we can make and sell. The needs of the sanctuary are too time consuming at the moment to offer the full array of products. Each season, they will change, and announcements will be made when new products become available. Existing customers need not worry, your orders will continue to be filled!
Thank you for your continued support! Cindy Daigre, Executive Director, Ferrell Hollow Farm Senior Horse Sanctuary