Spring Fever: Catch me if you can!

Published 3:56 pm Monday, May 1, 2017

Written by Pebbles, the HERD Rescue Spokespony

It is now May and life seems different here at Helping Equines Regain Dignity (HERD) Rescue. I am settling in and comfortable now, but change is in the air. I have gotten to know some of my new people and the other horses living here. I watch them being ridden in the riding ring or performing to cues in the round pen below my pasture. There is always a lot to be done on this farm, as it is a big job caring for and training us all.

Sometimes other kindhearted people come to volunteer and work with the new HERD members, teaching them the art of being a fine horse. But so far, Heather is the only one working with me and her time is limited. She is busy trying to help everyone get accustomed to their new foster homes in the neighborhood and hold down her day job, too.

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Oh, I am forgetting there is Charlie. He is a very special person, and he makes sure that we all get our hay and grain plus all the clean water that we can drink. Charlie also picks up after us, keeping our pastures and sheds neat and tidy. This man shows us that people do care as he is here to help seven days a week.

In my former life, I lived on a farm with lots of ponies as it was a nonprofessional breeding operation producing lots of babies. I had my first foal at age 3. Having too many ponies to feed ends with sad consequences. It led to my kill pen sentence and lucky for me, I got a pass out of that place. The thing is I have no value because I don’t have an impressive pedigree or resume to make me appealing to anyone. I am adorable, but pasture ornament and grade broodmare don’t get you far these days.

Then here comes Cheryl, the new volunteer who picked me out of the herd to be my special friend and teacher. She recently learned that on average 150,000 horses a year ship to slaughter in Mexico and Canada from the USA, and 75 percent of these are healthy, young and sound horses under the age of 9, like me.

Now back to Cheryl and our first day together. Shall I try the Catch Me If You Can game again today? I love this game of chase, let me see if she does. Rats, she walks right past me like I’m not here. I run and stop to watch her, and Cheryl turns towards me, reaches out her hand and says “Cookie?” She takes a step forward, then another. I turn and run.

Okay, it is her turn to run after me, but instead she turns her back to me and stands still. What does this mean? I stand still and again she turns to face me, reaches out her hand and says “Cookie?”

I hit the road again at a gallop, tail held high. Now she has changed her game, and when I run she just keeps walking slowly towards me. I keep running and she keeps walking, and I am now getting tired.

I stop and she keeps walking calmly towards me with her hand out. “Cookie?” Is that carrot I smell, I love carrots! I am confused as this game is not at all like the game I play with everyone else.

She approaches me and I reach out to take the piece of carrot as she moves in closer. Cheryl is calm so I feel calm. A new game is in play, Let’s Make a Deal. She very gently slips her hand under my halter as she gives me another piece of carrot. As she snaps the lead-line in place she notes my confusion. Wait, what just happened here?

Cheryl replies to me, “Don’t worry little one, only when we are confused are we teachable. This is just the beginning of your education. We will learn a lot together.” I have the feeling there is a job in my future! 

Rum Raisin Carrot Salad

Salad Ingredients:

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup spiced rum or spiced cider

6 cups of grated carrots

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Dressing Ingredients:

½ cup safflower oil or olive oil

3 Tbsp. of honey

1 Tsp. vinegar of choice

1/2 Tsp. ginger powder or 1 1/2 tbsp. of freshly grated ginger

1/8 Tsp. of pepper

1/8 Tsp. of salt

Mix golden raisins and spiced rum/spiced cider in a glass bowl and set aside for several hours or overnight. Mix the dressing ingredients and set aside for several hours or overnight. When preparing to serve the salad, drain excess moisture from carrots, and mix in the nuts and raisins incorporating the dressing. Serves 4 to 6 people as a side dish.