Pebbles: Few and far between

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Here comes the steady cascade of autumn leaves that are cause for John Major to engage the leaf blower almost daily.

Our stable is kept so neat and tidy that one can eat off the floor. Sometimes, I do just that when I topple my feed pan of low carb pellets and chopped carrots, my favorite treat. No doubt about it, Lee Major spoils me rotten.

I have resided here under the Major’s gracious care for over a year now. I must say, there is much to be thankful for this November. My life is a cornucopia of delicious adventures and cherished friends on this farm. Because of their kindness, I have amended my ways.

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To my mistress Heather’s surprise, I come when I am beckoned from my pasture. Well, most of the time I do obey. Those in-the-know are aware that every pony has a strong-willed day!

There has been a real hum of activity this fall. For one thing, the radiant golden palomino we have in our HERD rescue program got to meet his future riding partner. Jennifer Baillargeon-Demyanovich made the journey down from New Hampshire to meet 2-and-a-half year-old, Bud ORO.

She and Heather had spied him in a Texas kill pen looking so scared and thin. The two women worked together to raise the funds to save him and arrange his transport to Edge Brewing Rescue Barn once a month-long quarantine was completed at a sister rescue in Texas.

Bud ORO with farrier Jessica Orr. (Photo courtesy of Scott Homstead)

Bud ORO arrived as a young stud colt with quarter horse registration papers.  Jennifer has been donating to his care in HERD in preparation for him getting ready to be backed to ride.

She has big plans to show him ,as his movement is elegant and he is a head-turner with his beautiful presence. Once a feisty stud colt, Bud ORO is now a more compliant, gentle gelding.

Volunteer Karen Mastruserio has been Bud ORO’s groundwork training coach since his arrival into HERD. She has been responsible for his trailer loading classes, obstacle work and stable manners.

This shining star enjoys jumping barrels and showing his extended trot with great animation, to Karen’s delight.

All the while, Jennifer has been slowly collecting her tack, grooming tools and equestrian accessories preparing for his arrival to New Hampshire. Her father is even building her a custom tack trunk out of beautiful wood he has collected over the years for this special gift.

I want to add that I am rather perturbed Heather has not prepared a special trunk of accoutrements just for me. Jennifer must think a lot more of Bud ORO in creating his ample “trousseau.”

And alas, he is a mere gelding, while I am “spokespony” mare who has delivered two foals in my short lifetime!

Owners like Jennifer are really few and far between, it seems, from my personal experience. I am sure Bud ORO is very thankful she is going to such expense in preparation for his future arrival.

I must not allow myself to be jealous as, after all, I have the Majors tending to my ever wish.

Jennifer spent hours each day grooming Bud ORO. She also enjoyed a groundwork lesson with HERD trainer Rick Millweard. She dedicated each morning to practicing her new-found skills to build a bond of trust and respect with this special horse.

On her last day here, Bud ORO came flying to the fence calling for her, begging her not to leave him. He is totally hooked on her calm, kind demeanor. Bud ORO acknowledges happily that Jennifer is his partner. Big tears cascaded down her cheeks as she departed home to New Hampshire, thankful for her time with him. 

Speaking of grateful, a group of four young thoroughbreds who had been saved at an auction in last spring, found themselves back in a kill pen in Tennessee this fall. Heather was busy with family on a rare vacation and had vowed to stay off the computer for just a few days.

Lucky for these youngsters, she did not keep her promise.

She sounded the alarm notifying all the rescue groups. She even contacted the woman who recently dumped them back as a “loose lot” at the horse sale. The kill buyer also knew of the thoroughbred farm from which they originated.

Heather learned as much as she could about these young innocents. They were all halter broke, stood well for the farrier and were in good weight at about 800 pounds each, a kill buyer’s easy pickings at this young age. Few people would outbid him at the auction and, alas, no one did.

Heather focused on the only filly in the thoroughbred group, a bright chestnut with a wide blaze and tall white stockings. She walked head down in defeat, her strong back legs skinned and swollen from her kill pen ordeal. A decision was made to send half her payment in to hold her back from shipping on Friday afternoon. Another group intervened and saved the three brothers, while donors help HERD finalize paying for the solo filly.

What to name this lovely new HERD member? Heather and her mother were at the beach in South Carolina which is surrounded by an expansive maritime forest. The tall pine trees and peaceful setting were an inspiration. “Let’s call her Maritime!” 

A name to honor these prized Longleaf, Loblolly and Slash pines. Hurricane Florence did so much damage to many coastal forests in the Carolinas.  This name seemed befitting to honor those thousands of stoic trees lost to the flooding.      

Ponies like me are hard to find, we are one in a million. Partners like Jennifer for Bud ORO are also rare gems who are patient and go that extra mile. Those unsung heroes who got permits and went to the line of duty to rescue people, horses, dogs and cats who lost their homes to the hurricane and flooding, well they are truly angels that are few and far between!


Servings: 8

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 sweet yellow onion chopped

1 small ginger root peeled and finely diced

3 cloves garlic minced

3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth and 3 cups water

1-pound carrots cut into 1/2 inch chunks

1 can (15 ounce) pumpkin puree

Pinch of curry powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.

Add onion, ginger and garlic; sauté for 5-10 minutes.

Add the broth, water, carrots and pumpkin to the pot and heat until boiling.

Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes.

Puree the soup in batches using a blender or a food processor.

Season with curry powder, salt and pepper, to taste and serve warm. Flavors intensify if you make ahead and reheat the following day for serving.

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 Heather can be reached through