Resolution for the New Year

Published 4:49 pm Thursday, December 28, 2017

by Pebbles

My New Year’s Resolution: I am going to lose weight, stand nicely for the farrier, learn to drive a cart, stay clean and stop chasing donkeys…well maybe not this last one! It is January, that sobering time to make a list of ways to improve ourselves, get those unfinished tasks completed, clean out that tack trunk.

Resolve means to find a solution on a course of action or to have firm determination. The word rolls off the tongue with noble intent. It is something we should all strive to embrace as 2018 trots into our arena. We should embrace it like the opening of a dressage test: stride in, stopping to take a bow, and then proceed with the anticipated ride with focused commitment.   

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This leads me to reflect on monumental effort in 2017 our rescue group HERD had to tackle to bring a horse home safely to member Teri Renfro Vincent in Florida. A big 8-year-old paint gelding caught Teri’s eye in Texas and she decided he must be saved from the slaughter pen. Getting him picked up from the lot and into quarantine was easily arranged. After a month to clear up his upper respiratory infection, which most horses get in these stressful communal kill pens, he was ready for his health certificate inspection and a safe haul to Shiloh Sporthorses in Micanopy. Teri and my mistress Heather have a weakness for pintos and paints. Teri’s new horse would be joining her farm full of “Premium” registered pinto Oldenburg horses. My big pasture pals, Promise and Sophie, were born at Shiloh and their older sister has competed at Tryon International Equestrian Center so you might have seen her in action.

Through HERD, Heather made enough networking contacts through Fleet of Angels to negotiate for a wonderful clean load rate to get Teri’s new rescue gelding home. Comanche, we learned, was his name. We found this through a copy of his Coggins test. Teri was able to contact the previous owner to learn he was formerly his wife’s horse. She had bought him as a youngster and started him under saddle. The wife died shortly afterwards of cancer and when Comanche lost his partner, all training ceased. He stood around the pasture for four years when the husband decided to send him to auction.

Horse auctions by and large are attended only by meat buyers these days. Because of his size, Comanche was purchased quickly by one of the most powerful horsemeat buyers in the nation. He was also valuable for his good health, able to make the long, hard haul for days without food or water to meet his horrible fate of slaughter in Mexico. Old and starved horses do not survive the grueling trip. They are often discarded or are trampled to death in the crowded livestock trucks.

Jason Davis from Pennsylvania was the designated hauler secured for the trip to Florida for Comanche. Just a few hours into the journey his truck engine overheated and major damage ensued. He was able to get truck and trailer off to an exit before it would go no further.  At 11 a.m., Jason made the call to Teri. He was stranded with her horse on this warm Sunday morning and had no back up he could summon for help from his contacts. None of them were willing to drive to rural Louisiana and complete the rescue rate haul to Florida for the price he had quoted us. Could HERD find someone else to come get the horse to safety?

Just in from a morning ride on Sophie, Heather spoke with Teri and got to work in search of help. The first plan of action was to find boarding barns near the area that might be willing to come get Comanche and keep him at a daily rate until we could find another clean load haul to Florida. Using the Internet, Heather located five barns within a 50-mile radius. On the fourth call, a live voice answered but said they could not help. The gentleman did give Heather the name and phone number for a woman, Kathy Mesche, who had a farm about 30 minutes from the location of the stranded rig. Kathy responded to the call for assistance. She could leave in two hours at 4 p.m., after she finished up at the rodeo competition. She agreed to take Comanche into her facility until we could find him a ride home and refused any compensation for her efforts.

Now to find a hauler. Heather contacted everyone she had corresponded with on previous rescue missions with no luck. Teri also reached out to horse friends far and wide to no avail. It was Jason that landed another hauler who was willing to come to his aid. Worley’s Hauling based in Texas had delivered horses out west and was coming home empty. This excellent company was willing to drive their large transport to Louisiana and pick up the stranded Comanche. They would also match the rate Jason had quoted despite the fact it would not even cover their gas bill to drive the distances required from Texas to Florida. They had resolved to help and would have driven through the night to pick up Comanche if we had failed to line up accommodations for him to get off the stranded trailer.

Jason stayed with Comanche until Kathy arrived about 6 p.m. Then he was able to focus on getting himself a place to stay and a plan to retrieve his truck and trailer as he had to get back to his job in Pennsylvania by Wednesday. As for Comanche, he spent the night and following day resting up in his rescue oasis until Mr. Worley arrived in his spacious trailer. This one lucky horse had a nice ride ahead of him. Comanche was homeward bound for Micanopy and a great new life, resolution made it all possible. •

Pebbles is the “spokespony” for HERD, or Helping Equines Regain Dignity, a local nonprofit that saves equines from dire conditions and in many cases slaughter. She dictates her monthly columns about her adventures and what a rescue organization does to Heather Freeman. Pebbles and Freeman can be reached through

Pebbles’ Ginger Carrot Soup

Makes 4 Servings


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 1/4 pounds medium carrots, peeled, chopped (about 3 cups)

2 tomatoes, seeded, chopped (about 1 1/3 cups)

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

3 cups (or more) chicken stock or canned low-salt broth

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (Pebbles like Meyers Lemon if you can find it)

4 tablespoons sour cream

1 small carrot, peeled, grated


1. Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add chopped carrots, tomatoes and lemon peel; sauté 1 minute. Add 3 cups stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly.

2. Puree soup in batches in blender. Return soup to pot. Mix in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

3. Bring soup to simmer, thinning with more stock, if desired. Ladle into bowls. Top each with sour cream and grated carrot.