Life in our Foothills June 2023 – Joy to the World

Published 2:43 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2023

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All of us have special qualities. Some of us are truly exceptional. Take me for example. Just ask my pasture mate Sedona, she is an ardent fan. We stand together so closely that our bodies touch, while our eyes close for afternoon naps. My head is lower than hers as we press together, our tails swishing in unison. To know me is to love me– I bring so much joy to Sedona’s world! 

We have another resident here on the HERD rescue ranch, Joy, who is also exemplary. We are strikingly similar in coloring. The only difference is my luxurious mane is blonde and hers is black. Our coats are a shiny chocolate gray. For over two years, this mare has been a grand addition here. She has served as a companion and mother figure to so many young horses. She is a role model that was saved from a terrible fate. 

Joy with equine dentist Rosie Pope having her teeth floated.

Dorothy Moyer, a HERD foster mom and an avid horsewoman in the Tryon area, discovered Joy in January 2019. She saw this mare’s kind eyes pleading for help. Dot worked with our rescue to purchase her. Joy was transported directly to Dot’s farm for rehabilitation and training so that she could be rehomed safely with an adoption contract. The mare was six years old and extremely gentle and polite. 

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Joy’s coloring is rare. She is a Grulla. It is obvious this mare had undergone extensive groundwork training and was rideable. During an examination by Columbus veterinarian Kris Woodaman, it was discovered why Joy had ended up at a livestock lot destined to be sold for her meat weight. Her right hip was positioned lower than her left. This condition made carrying a large adult rider more challenging for intensive work, such as moving cattle, jumping or even western pleasure showing. 

Volunteer Valerie Lowe takes Joy out for a ride preparing for her new home.

It was clear to all who saw Joy out grazing that she came from fine quarter horse stock. Unfortunately, the person who sold her to a kill-buyer did not pass along her registration papers. Her uneven hips would also have made a broodmare career difficult for her during the foaling process. So, this is why Joy ended up destined for slaughter before Dot intervened with HERD.  

Joy was adopted in June 2019 to be used in a therapy program. She was there for approximately one year. The facility was close to Dot’s farm, so she could visit Joy. Unfortunately, the founders closed the program, and the lovely mare quickly needed a new living situation. It was decided she should come live with us under the care of my mistress, Heather Freeman. 

Joy arrived safely at our HERD rescue ranch and found herself a new role, babysitting younger horses. Here she has been extremely helpful to us. This mare has a calming, positive influence on the fearful, timid horses who enter our rescue. She is a confidence builder for them. Joy teaches each horse and pony under her tutelage to trust people as they enter the pasture at feed time. 

HERD Volunteer Natalia Inyakina shares her hat with Joy.

In our attentive care, Joy has also blossomed into an amazing beauty. She often gallops and plays with the youngsters who share her pasture. This has built up her stamina and strengthened her muscles. In every case, she is the boss mare, but Joy is a gentle leader we can count on day after day. Joy is delighted to see humans, receive affection, and of course her daily feed rations, too. HERD volunteer Natalia Inyakina fell in love with Joy and had hoped to buy a farm and be able to adopt her within a year. But circumstances did not work out and so my mistress Heather Freeman began searching for another therapy program that would be a good fit for Joy. This horse’s love for people and her sweet disposition makes her an ideal candidate for a career helping others find their way.  

Through HERD foster contact Beth Harrill, Heather learned about a wonderful 501c3 called Equuvation at Rocky Creek in Statesville, NC. The facility is exceptional for both the resident horses and the participating students. The grounds, barn, and covered riding arena are of amazing quality, and the pastures are well-groomed and generous. It is a paradise situation for any equine.  This nonprofit program is a nature-based therapy and education center offering equine-facilitated psychotherapy, equine-assisted learning, therapeutic horsemanship, continuing education, leadership programs, sensory trail development, and uniquely designed special events. 

The board of directors at Equuvation reviewed videos of Joy being ridden for potential lead-line students. Joy also tackled the scary obstacle course with ease in HERD’s playground. They studied the additional photos Heather took demonstrating her gentleness with the equine dentist and farrier, and during general grooming. It was decided that Joy was a good fit for their organization, and they voted to adopt her for therapy work.

It was both good news and sad news for us in HERD. We all love Joy so much. She is one of the longest residents in our program from 2019 to 2023, as most horses are only here a few years to grow up, be trained, and then off they go to a new home. 

Kailey Greene arrived to pick up Joy along with four-year-old mare Gema yesterday. Gema has also been with us for a long time. She arrived to us as a baby, with her mother. Kailey will be starting Gema in under saddle training and will deliver Joy to Equuvation. 

Joy and Gema have been neighbors here, so traveling together eases the stress of departing from us on a trailer. HERD stipulated in the adoption contract that if for any reason Joy is not a good fit, we will take her back with open arms. 

Tears rolled down our cheeks as we said goodbye to them both. They leave us calmly, loading safely to begin their new journey. We hope they remember us fondly along with their time here at the ranch. May they both bring abundant joy to their new worlds. 

Blondes have more fun, according to Pebbles the columnist.