Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Race To Survive--Saving Sunshine

Yes it is graphic, but suffering often is graphic. Sunshine was a wild mare of the Corolla herd. She was sighted absolutely emaciated with the largest abscess that I have ever seen. The picture above shows what that wound looked like. That is not a joint --That is the lower quarter of the hip.  The cause of the wound and resulting abscess are unknown.

The picture below is her moving effortlessly at her new home in Lexington Virginia. She is one of the few remaining  Colonial Spanish Banker horses of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. That band is among the rarest, and perhaps oldest, distinct genetic grouping of American horses.

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund rescued her and she received first rate medical care from Dominion Equine and was adopted by Becki Wells. Becky had the foresight to understand that Sunshine deserves more than to be put out in a pasture. She needs physical contact and the security that only comes from being part of a band of horses or developing a close relationship with a person.

Becki is working to give her both. When she arrived in Lexington Alexis Cash began the process of gaining the mare's trust. A by product of gaining trust is to reduce levels of stress--something very important for continued physical and emotional healing.

We have three wonderful Corolla stallions that were rescued from the wild that we rehabilitated, trained and use in our breeding program. They ranged from being crippled with founder, one  in need of stifle surgery, and Edward even had a gaping hole in his neck, likely put there by a wild hog.  All fully rehabilitated and happy and producing Corolla foals for the off site breeding program.

And now we will move on to the next step--and you are all invited to come and watch. On Saturday, May 13, beginning at 9:00 am. at Mill Swamp Indian Horses, 9299 Moonlight Road, Smithfield Va 23430. Sunshine will move into her next level of gentle humane training. I will begin with a bit of conventional round pen work and then will quickly turn the horse over to Lydia Barr.

Lydia is a professional horse trainer who began riding with me when she was eleven years old. She is a first rate practitioner of natural horsemanship. Her focus with this horse will be using a technique of gentle handling known as  "Doma India."  I have little exposure to the technique but I have never seen anything that relaxes a horse as fast as these unusual exercises.

And, to make for an even happier ending, Sunshine will be staying with us for a while to breed to one of our Corolla stallions. Our Corolla off site breeding program might one day be these horse's last chance to stave of extinction.

Save a spot by emailing me at Bring a lawn chair and pack a lunch. There is no fee charged but we strongly urge all participants to make a contribution to Gwaltney Frontier Farm, Inc to allow us to continue to wok to save these horses.

Speaking of Contributions:   You can be part of this effort. Go to our website and make a contribution today. We are a 501 (c) 5 non-profit breed conservation program and as such contributions are not tax deductible. We are in our first month long social media fundraising effort. Feel free to share this with everyone that you know who cares about horses and people.

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