Pebbles the Pony: The Dog Days of Summer

Published 2:47 pm Friday, July 28, 2017

Written by Pebbles, the HERD Rescue Spokespony

Here comes August, the hot sultry month that we equines find the most uncomfortable to tolerate. With blazing hot sun by midday and biting flies in full force, the pasture is now spent compared to its lush bounty days, when it rolled effortlessly and nimble in the wind.

Dutch, my brother Anatolian Shepherd, who is not quite as stout as I am but he is every bit as tall, gets to lie and rest in comfort. He spends most of the day inside the house on the cool tile floor complete with an air conditioning vent. Me, well, I am forced to remain outside seeking shade in my run-in shed, tail working full force against the annoying insects that buzz me for their biting pleasure.

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These dog days, which most people think are the summer days so devastatingly hot that dogs lie around panting— not even thinking about us poor ponies — originally had nothing to do with dogs, or even with the lazy days of summer. Instead, it turns out, the dog days refer to the dog star, Sirius, and its position in the heavens. To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred around the day when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun. They referred to these days as the hottest time of the year, a period that could bring fever, or even catastrophe. That’s right, a catastrophe, which pretty much sums up how I am feeling this month.

You see, I hate change, most equines do, and lately there have been too many changes for my liking here.

There is a gigantic newcomer here with us on the farm. He is a 3-year-old Thoroughbred gelding standing 16.3 hands tall, named Hold On To Me. He is about 70 feet away from me in his own paddock down the hill, and I keep a watchful eye on him. He is so tall I could walk right under his lean belly. His head hangs low. I can see his ribs, and he is not yet sure of what has happened to him over the last few months other than to comprehend fully that it was a nightmare experience. His neck and flanks are covered in bite marks from other horses.

Hold On To Me is one of thousands of thoroughbreds that get dumped annually because they are not fast enough. Many ship direct to slaughter in Mexico, and there are documented cases of domestic slaughter in Florida of young thoroughbreds for black market meat.

In the kill pen, Hold On To Me had to fight to get water and any nibbles of hay in the crowded containment, awaiting his fate. From checking his tattoo number, we know a little bit about his short history. It seems he ran one race in Louisiana, finishing last place. His owner decided to send him off to a horse auction, then to another, which eventually landed him in a kill pen in Texas. Helping Equines
Regain Dignity, or HERD Rescue, paid his bail, thanks to generous donations, to save him from shipping to slaughter across the border.

Then arrangements were made for him to be picked up for quarantine and then transported to the Carolinas to recuperate. He will be put in training for a new job once he recovers. He came up in private load Heather arranged with a very kind Houston-based hauler named Jay Texas Jones. His trailer was filled with horses that HERD had saved from the pen, all bound for new homes in Georgia and the Carolinas.

I have decided to call him Holden, and he seems to have little interest in anyone including Dutch and Deco, the barn cat, who regularly visit him in his pasture. He is angry with people right now. Holden is very unsure of what is next. He has experienced firsthand the dog days of summer catastrophe that the dog star, Sirius, predicts.

I keep a watchful eye on him from my hilltop. Lucky for him things are about to get a whole lot better in our HERD. Me, well despite the heat and the flies, I got it made-in-the-shade to wait out these ‘pony days’ of summer. •

PEBBLES’ Watermelon Salad

Super easy to make and very refreshing!

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon Tabasco

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

One 8-pound seedless watermelon, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks (10 cups), chilled

1/2-pound feta cheese, crumbled (2 cups)

1 1/4 cups pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (optional)

1 small sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves

In a large bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, salt, Tabasco and pepper.
Add the watermelon, feta, olives and onion and toss gently.
Garnish with the mint and serve. As a salad, serves up to 12 people.