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Mar 7, 2018

Samson's Journey

Samson's first day at Easy R, keeping his distance
Samson's first day at Easy R, keeping his distance

In June of 2016, Easy R Equine Rescue received a call from the Sheriff's Department of a county about 80 miles from Lubbock.  The Deputy informed us they had a Mustang in their custody with a brand from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  A few weeks earlier, someone had called in a report that a horse was running loose on the highway outside town.  After several failed attempts to catch the horse, the Deputy called a local, elderly rancher and asked him to try roping the horse.  Which he did.  The horse was checked by the local veterinarian and tested for any contagious diseases.  After a full month of attempting to locate the owner of the horse, the Department had done their due diligence and needed a placement for him.  No one had claimed him. 

We went to pick the horse up and placed him in a willing foster home.  These types of situations are disconcerting because we have very little to no information about the horse or its history.  Why was this horse running loose?  Was the owner tired of him and let him loose? Did the horse get out and travel a long distance? Was he even being adequately cared for? The poor condition of his hooves and a 15 inch piece of wire that was severely tangled up inside his long tail would lead someone to guess that he might have been turned out and left to fend for himself.  We quickly learned that he was very leery, distrusting, and more than slightly uncooperative with many things.  It is not too far-fetched to think that someone might have adopted him from a BLM Mustang sale, which happens after mass roundups of wild Mustangs, and got more than they bargained for.  Wild Mustangs are a special breed which takes special skill and a lot of knowledge to competently handle. 

After spending a week at the foster home, the foster dad called us and said he had named him Samson.  It seemed to fit his stocky, strong body and determined attitude.  In several more months, a spot opened up at the Easy R campus and Samson was moved.  His journey, so far, has been interesting to watch.  Over time he has gone from a horse that took MANY weeks to even let someone touch him to a horse that follows us around and looks for reassurance that people are okay and can be trusted.  He still has "demons" that he hasn't let go of.  He still has to be sedated for the farrier to trim his feet; he spooks easily; and being completely agreeable on a lead rope is a work in progress. He wraps his neck around small children, moves in close to be groomed, and gets droopy-eyed when someone scratches right above his muzzle.  He is the first to welcome and accept new herdmates and has formed a strong bond with the other Mustang gelding.  He can be seen standing watch while the rest of the horses nap in the afternoon sun. 

We don't know if there will be an adoptive home that will be appropriate for Samson.  But, if not, we are content to let him just continue being a part of the Easy R herd.  Not ALL horses will be adopted and we desire to give sanctuary to the ones that don't. Donors are the biggest reason we can take in, nurture, and provide continued quality care to Samson, and horses like him.  The financial gifts from our supporters are never taken for granted.  In fact, when we see Samson almost "hug" a little child that comes to Easy R, we are very aware that those moments could not happen without the generosity of people who support our mission.  Thank you.

Putting on some weight
Putting on some weight
Enjoying the winter snow
Enjoying the winter snow
Samson and a West Texas Sunset
Samson and a West Texas Sunset
Samson was the first to welcome Ocho to the herd
Samson was the first to welcome Ocho to the herd
Being sweet with a little boy visitor
Being sweet with a little boy visitor

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Dec 7, 2017

Justinn Heals a Broken Heart

Justin at his foster home in Lubbock
Justin at his foster home in Lubbock

Justinn Time, aka Justin, ended up at Easy R Equine Rescue a few years ago, not because he was abused or neglected, but because there just had not been a good "fit" for him at his previous homes.  He was a registered full Arabian gelding with an extreme amount of talent.  But he had his moments--moments when he would take off at a full sprint with an inexperienced young rider on his back.  This bolting happened too many times when he was being used at a local riding facility to make him useful as a lesson horse--which is what he was purchased for by the facility owner.  Put a well-seasoned and experienced rider on him and he pranced around showing off his skill, looking beautiful as he did so.  After trips to the vet revealed no underlying pain being the cause of his episodes of running off, the owner contacted Easy R asking if we could please give Justin a place at the rescue.  We agreed, knowing that finding a home for a periodically "hot-headed", prone to bolt, middle aged Arabian gelding might not be so easy. We figured Justin would be one of those horses we had, well...until the end.

As we had thought would be the case, we had numerous inquiries about Justin, but each one was interested in a "kid horse" that would be safe with children.  We had to deny every inquiry knowing that we could not recommend Justin for anyone other than a very experienced (preferably with Arabian experience as well) rider. And we had had no one inquire that met that criteria.  Until, one day when a lady whom we will call "Kelly" sent an email asking about Justin.

Kelly lived in Alabama and was in her late 60's.  She had ridden, trained, owned, and LOVED the Arabian breed.  She was very inquisitive about Justin and his lineage. Since we did not have registration papers on him, we couldn't give her much information except the names of some of his previous owners.  Kelly did weeks of research.  She tracked down everyone she could that might have any tidbit of information about Justin to include his registered name, his age, his Arab lineage, etc.  She started sending Easy R a monthly check for $50 to "reserve" Justin, hoping that she would be able to find out all about him and one day officially adopt him. 

We received a phone call one day from Kelly.  She was ectastic.  She had talked to Justin's original owner--the lady who had Justin when he was born.  She was able to give Kelly his registered name, which then allowed her to track down lineage back 4 or 5 generations.  She wanted to adopt Justin and would make any arrangements necessary to make that happen. And in the spring of this year, we hauled Justin from Lubbock. Texas to Ruston, Louisiana--the halfway point between Lubbock and a small town in Alabama where Kelly lived. We loaded him into Kelly's trailer and he headed for Alabama with his happy new owner.

Here's the reason we want to share this story.  We receive monthly, sometimes weekly, emails from Kelly telling about her love and appreciation for Justin.  One email was particularly powerful and affirmed the mission of Easy R and why we do what we do.  And the answer to our prayer that a "perfect" owner is found for each one of our horses. Kelly's husband and her favorite Arabian mare had both died in the past few years.  In this email she wrote,

"Justinn was sent by God as last Friday my husband's horse, Val (named changed), passed away and I am in a state of grief, but my Justinn has been wonderful. It's interesting how horses react to death. Justinn Time was just in time! Marley (named changed) would have been alone and Justin is so good with her. He is such a sweetheart. I'll miss seeing him and Val playing with the balls as Marley isn't into that but it is rewarding to see him come running for the apples and carrots. He is also quite vocal and fun hear to  him and her trying to be the loudest for attention. Both Justinn and Marley stood watch over Val until I could get a backhoe here to bury Val next to my hubby, and my mare. I even had to feed them out by the loved ones as they would not leave where Val had died. I'm sorry but I'm not even good to talk to, as I loved my husband and horse so much and now feel like I've lost all closeness to my hubby and my mare. I can't really explain it except I thought all the tears were gone. I just love my horses. Val had never been sick, my husband was very ill and my mare was incurable. So I believe Justinn was Heaven sent. He is such a good boy. He gives me no trouble and it brightens my heart that he comes running and winning as soon as I walk out the door."

So, now we know why Justinn Time got that name on the special day he was born.  He was meant to bring immense joy to the grief of an older woman in Alabama who had suffered multiple losses of loved ones.

Justin and Jeremiah-now both in happy homes
Justin and Jeremiah-now both in happy homes
Sweet little Arabian face
Sweet little Arabian face

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Sep 6, 2017

Ocho Joins the Easy R Herd

Ocho Grazing
Ocho Grazing

A few months ago the local sheriff's department seized 8 Thoroughbreds from a "trainer" who had pretty much stopped caring for them all together.  A ninth horse was dead on the property from either starvation or illness, or both.  Easy R Equine Rescue agreed to take 3 of the 8 horses.  The two geldings both had injuries but were not difficult to handle.  But then there was the mare.  She was "#8".  The veterinarian had painted big numbers on the sides of all the horses to match each horse to the Coggins test.  The mare had a big "8" painted on her side.  Originally, another rescue had agreed to take her, but after not being able to catch her, much less get her loaded in the trailer, they opted to leave her at the vet's office.  We couldn't see her get left behind--which would mean a trip to the sale barn.  And then, most likely onto the slaughter truck bound for Mexico.  But we also had no luck catching her.  She would spin her backend toward us, prepare to kick or look wild-eyed at the fence as if to determine whether she could clear it if she tried to jump over.  Thankfully, she did respond to being herded through an alleyway into a stock trailer. On the way to the foster home that had agreed to take her in, the sheriff's deputy said, "I've come up with a name for her.  Crazy 8." 

In the past 8 weeks, she has oftentimes lived up to that name.  At first, she was very distrustful and scared.  But not scared and timid.  Scared and brazen--which can be a bad combination.  Her first response to us attempting to get close to her in a pen was to turn her backend and threaten to kick. So, giving her as much space as she needed, but gradually increasing our expectations of her, she has slowly started to positively respond to interactions.  Her eyes have softened, she is more prone to turn her face toward us instead of her backend, and she will cautiously take treats out of our hands.  But she is still very quick to look for, and take, an escape route should she feel too nervous or pressured. Working with horses like her takes a delicate balance between pressure and release.

Interestingly, she's been handled by humans in the past.  She is lip-tatooed, which means she has been (or at least was training to be) on the racetrack.  And who knows what has happened to make her so distrustful, defensive, and difficult.  It's easier to make progress with a horse if you know their history, but more often than not, we don't.  She came to us with a halter on.  A very tight halter that was rubbing sores all over her face and making an indentation across the bridge of her nose.  Well, just walking up to Crazy 8 and taking that halter off was NOT going to happen. But it was prioritized as our first task due to the eventual consequences a tight halter like that will cause. We have spent the past several weeks standing with her, moving her around the pen, approaching/retreating, offering treats, etc.  And, finally, being able to get the halter off.  It was as if she breathed a sigh of relief.  As did we. 

We have decided to call her Ocho, instead of Crazy 8.  She's not crazy.  She's smart. She's learned behavior that protects herself.  And hopefully, she will learn that she's no longer in danger. That no one is going to hurt her.  That most humans are good. She will be a challenge for our staff but we think she's worth it.  Paying for professional training is not something we can usually afford in our tight budget, but it might become necessary with this particular mare.  Difficult and unsafe horses are almost impossible to adopt out, for very good reason.  We are so appreciative of our GlobalGiving donors. The funds raised increase our ability to provide the best care for the rescued horses and move them closer toward adoption. 

Curious but distant
Curious but distant
Indentation from the tight halter
Indentation from the tight halter
Sores from halter
Sores from halter
Open wound from halter
Open wound from halter
Sigh of relief, for us all
Sigh of relief, for us all

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