Nothing warms our hearts more than knowing that the horses that have
been in our care have made successful recoveries and also found their
forever homes. The staff and volunteers here at NWESC do the work that
they do for the rewards that other people and the horses themselves
reap. We are pleased to share some of their stories below...
Pibb (aka Mr. Wonderful)
• Piper (formerly Paprika)
• Pistol (formerly Scooter)
Mariposa and Bailey
Mr. Pibb (aka Mr. Wonderful)
by Laura Yen
The big brown puppy dog of my barn, how I love you!!
I met Mr. Pibb, a 24 year-old Quarter/Morgan when he was a foster
horse at a barn where I spent time. He had been rescued from a home
where he had starved to the point his body score was a 2. He had a huge
parasite load and it was unclear if the people had fed him. Despite all
of this the people had continued to ride him and he had on new shoes.
Mr. Pibb had been rescued by SAFE and taken to NWESC for rehabilitation,
where he got back to a good weight and health before going off to a
lovely foster home.
I had volunteered for SAFE in the past, and when Mr. Pibb needed
someone to help look after him some of the time at the barn (aka. clean
his stall) I jumped right in, not suspecting what would come of the
relationship. Pibby was greying through his liver-brown coat; he was
sweet and kind and gentle; a bit of an oaf, in an endearing sort of
way. He was quiet and calm and he spent his time grazing in the pasture
or munching quietly in his stall. He didn’t mind being handled and
seemed to trust easily, which amazed me considering his past. There was
a young girl that would come and groom Pibby from time to time and he
would stand perfectly still so that his friend was safe and he clearly
loved the attention she gave him.
During this time I had been searching to find the right horse for
me. One who needed me as much as I needed them. I had realized from a
previous experience with a horse who was beyond my level of expertise
that the love I have for horses is about the sweet kindness that comes
from the bond between the right horse and the right person, and that
match is everything. After interviewing several horses, it dawned on me
that the perfect horse had been there all along, staring at me from
across the barn aisle as I struggled with my decision. I think Pibby
knew before I did. He had gone from looking at me skeptically to
looking at me with the wisdom of a great teacher. Once we did a riding
lesson together to make sure we spoke the same language, the deal was
done. There was no going back, I was in love.
When the day came to take Pibby home, he jumped in the trailer as if
to say, “what took you so long?” We had some adventures in the
beginning like, ‘Pibby’s Great Escape: Country
Road Take Me Home’ and
‘Pibby, A Goat’s Worst Nightmare: The Story of a Horse Who Likes to Play
Rough’, but in the end this angel of a horse has been my dream come
true. (And his goats love him through a fence line!)
Pibby welcomes me home at night by racing along the fence with my
car, and waits at the barn with his head out the stall window. He
hangs out with me when I work in the barn or the pasture with a look of,
“what are we working on today, mom?” He is the most amazing animal, and
I am so thankful for him, and for NWESC and SAFE for saving and
rehabilitating him. I can’t imagine life without him.
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What's Luck Got to do With It - Piper (formerly Paprika)
Some of you may remember one of our first rescue horses, Paprika,
whom we took in from a notorious horse hoarder along with 7 of her
herdmates. Paprika (Piper as she is now known) was underfed, wormy and
lice ridden. Of course, she also had a baby at her side. From the first
moment we met her, Paprika was an instant favorite. She is a sweet and
gentle mare that has the most amazing trot that made each of us imagine
ourselves on her back, in full dressage show gear, riding that floating
trot across the arena to the amazement of all – and for one person, that
would become a reality.
Ally, a horse rescue's dream adopter, met Paprika (let's just go with
her current name Piper) when Piper was at Cowgirl Spirit Horse Rescue
getting some miles put on her and readying her for adoption. Ally was
immediately as entranced with Piper as we were. She eventually adopted
Piper and the team went on to show in dressage and claim the coveted
blue ribbons. The fact was that no one was surprised. Everyone could see
what an amazing horse Piper was, and what a beautiful pairing she made
with Ally, who is a fantastic rider. They are a perfect match.
So begins the story of luck – both bad and good. Bad luck for Piper to
end up with a hoarder who did not take care of her. Then good luck that
Northwest Equine Stewardship Center (NWESC) could intervene and care for
Piper and her baby to provide them the medical treatment they so
But the good luck continued with Cowgirl Spirit agreeing to take
Piper on and then by Ally adopting Piper! But as the saying goes, ‘all
good things must come to an end’ and in Piper’s case that occurred.
Piper somehow ended up with a bone chip that needed to be surgically
removed. Then, shortly after completing her recovery from that surgery,
she was diagnosed with EPM. However, with luck back on Piper’s side she
is quickly recovering and is now down to her last dosage for treatment!
Now, your first reaction might be....well, that was certainly a lot
of bad luck, and you would be correct. However, in those dark days is
sometimes where something more important shines through. In Piper’s case
this was Ally's unwaivering commitment to her. While Ally is hoping for
a complete recovery that will allow the team to once again grace the
show arena, she is committed to the fact that even if they can't, Piper
has her forever home. In my book, THAT is the best luck of all because
Piper is loved unconditionally, in sickness and in health (remember when
I said that Ally is a horse rescue's dream adopter?).
Piper is truly loved. Isn't that what it's all about? No matter what
else happens, that is the best luck of all. And that's what luck has to
do with it.
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The Story of Pistol
by Lorinda Hays
90 days. That was the time frame I would tell clients they should leave
their young horses with me in order to be “broke”. It’s also the amount
of time I would try and have my seasoned show horses back in the barn
after their winter vacations, before the first big show. 90 days is
just the right amount of time for a lot of good to happen.
Exactly 90 days ago on June 17, 2012, I adopted Padrons Secret from
S.A.F.E. I had heard about “Scooter” from my dear friend Heather, who
works at NWESC. She had repeatedly asked that I consider this horse or
at least come and meet him to evaluate him as, in her words, “He needs
you.” As we were finally closing on our new horse property in the next
couple of weeks and the possibility of having a third horse was very
real, I agreed to go and at least meet him. I knew he had behavioral
issues, but I also know that Heather has good instincts on horses and if
she thought I could help…well I had to see.
I exchanged a few emails with someone from the rescue, and she filled me
in on Scooter’s history. He was seized in November 2011 from a breeder
in Pierce County and was locked in a chain link enclosure that had mud
so deep that it had to be cut apart to rescue him. He was filthy and
starving and scored a 2 on the body condition scale. He was deemed
extremely ‘studdy’ and aggressive, in addition to having had minimal
handling when he arrived at NWESC in February, and was a stud who was
gelded immediately. The rescue had hoped that by gelding him, his
behavior would start to change but as of the time when I went to go and
look at him, that hadn’t happened yet.
Heather was brutally honest with me in that this was an extremely hard
case. Not only did Scooter have serious behavioral issues, he also had
some physical, the S.A.F.E. Board had actually met and considered
euthanizing him for safety and health reasons. While they were
devastated to have to consider such an ending, they felt that his many
years of being isolated and neglected had created emotional and physical
damage that far exceeded their ability to heal. While I was welcome to
meet him, I was also warned that they couldn’t guarantee that he would
be available to adopt.
About a week later, I met Scooter. The moment I first saw him, I think
my mouth literally dropped open - he was gorgeous! I have worked with
many Arabians, and could recognize his breeding instantly. He looked
very much like his sire Padron with the classic dished face, perfectly
shaped ears and huge expressive eyes. He wasn’t tall, but he was
well-built with large, sloping shoulders, a short back and an incredible
hingy neck. Even with no bridle path, remnants of winter hair and
having just completed a vigorous rolling session, he oozed Arabian
beauty. His one blue eye was a bit odd, as that is not breed
characteristic for Arabs, but somehow still suited him well and added to
his overall appeal.
Heather brought him over to me and he had the classic “don’t mess with
me I’m a stallion” look on his face, ears pinned. He just hadn’t quite
figured out that he was indeed a gelding at this point. Heather
patiently explained that this was just one of his behavioral issues that
made him appear less than suitable for adoption. Having worked with my
share of grumpy horses I simply ignored his greeting, and carefully
began to stroke his neck. Another of his issues was that he hated to be
groomed and even touched it appeared. He would swish his tail, wiggle
and move away if you even attempted to touch him anywhere behind the
withers. He tolerated the neck stroking and eventually seemed to forget
that I was there as we continued to talk. I was told that he didn’t
lunge, had never been turned out anywhere other than the round pen and
was a monster in his stall - squealing and backing up to the walls to
kick almost constantly.
As we continued to talk, I continued to pet
him and applying massage techniques that I picked up from working with
previous training horses. By the end of our visit, I was able to touch
him on both sides, all the way to his tail. Not only was he tolerating
it, he seemed to enjoy it. By this point, my son had even given his
approval with a simple, “I like him Mom.” We thanked the staff at NWESC
and S.A.F.E. volunteers that met with us, and started home. By the time
I got there, I knew that this horse was meant to be mine. I also knew
that he needed a new identity as “Scooter” was just not an appropriate
name for such a special horse. My son suggested “Pistol” and that
somehow seemed just perfect. S.A.F.E. felt comfortable with my
interaction with Pistol and was thrilled with my proposal to adopt him
and just like that…he had a chance.
When we brought him home, it was a bit nerve wracking as he had to
adjust to having a stall/run combo with hot tape fencing and two gelding
friends in the adjacent stalls. He was used to solid round pen panels
that he could back up to and kick. He learned quickly that the fence
was not so forgiving and after watching him do the same thing to the
stall walls I opted for a well placed hot wire around the perimeter of
the stall. He watched me string that wire, backed up to it one time and
that was that. Smart boy!
I put him to work the very next day with small tasks that I thought he
could excel at. Having worked with my share of “damaged” horses, I know
that most times they are seriously lacking confidence - not only in
themselves, but also in their surroundings. Giving them something to
succeed at not only builds their confidence, but lays the foundation for
them to start to trust you. Pistol desperately needed something to
“own” as he was extremely insecure. I cross tied him, clipped him,
lightly groomed him and lunged him the day after he came home. My
instinct was that a horse like this was not bred to simply stand around
in a dog kennel…he had likely been handled at least as a youngster. The
more I worked with him and rewarded his good efforts, the less he acted
like an aggressive stallion. By day 3 I had a saddle on him, by day 10
he was turned out with his gelding friends. Exactly 30 days after I
brought him home, I rode him for the first time and he was a star!
Heather had been right - this horse was exactly where he needed to be.
It has been 90 days since I brought Pistol home. He is an absolute
changed animal. He is going well under saddle and is a natural born
western horse. He is the first to greet me in the morning (ears up of
course), and the last to retire to his hay pile in the evenings since
he knows that if he waits around for me to lock up the tack room, it
means Berry Good treats (his favorite) and scratches. He is polite,
honest and 100% devoted to doing exactly what it is he thinks I want. He
is completely non-confrontational in the herd and in fact, lets my 26
year old gelding boss him around continuously and also tolerates the 6
yr old gelding’s play antics with patience and only an occasional “get
He is an independent, goofy horse that loves to gallop to the far end of
the pasture every single day when he is turned out as if just to say,
“Look at me!” before settling down to graze. He is easily the prettiest
horse that has ever graced my barn and most evenings you will find me
just standing there gazing at him in his stall. In all of my years of
working with horses, I can’t ever remember a horse that I loved to just
look at more. He is constantly amazing me with his appreciation for
things like food and clean water. Sometimes he drools as I walk in with
the grain bucket and always after he eats, he sips his water with his
eyes half closed and a look of pure bliss on his face.
I hadn’t planned on adopting a horse, especially one that had such an
unknown future but I am incredibly thankful that I did. As a horse
professional, I feel that it’s important that we give something back and
help those that can’t help themselves. This was my opportunity to do
just that, and he has reminded me exactly why I do this. I encourage
anyone who is thinking about acquiring a new horse to contact their
local rescue and find out what is available. You will be glad you did!
A Message from NWESC
Lorinda and Pistol are a shining example of how the right networking and
partnerships can work to find the perfect home for many rescue horses in
need. While Lorinda and Pistol were the perfect equine/human match,
another perfect match was formed many years ago between S.A.F.E. and
NWESC. This match has resulted in countless success stories, each one
touching our hearts and further fostering that special and unique
relationship that we have.
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Fate Happens - The Story of Mariposa and
submitted by Valerie Wood
This is a story about fate, love and commitment. Meet Bailey and
Mariposa - a couple of thoroughbreds who found each other through
unfortunate circumstances. Bailey, had been on the racetracks and had
been retired due to a severe knee injury that sidelined him. He had been
sent to a facility that promised to take care of him and send him to an
adoptive home, if one could be found. The facility turned out to be one
that was so poorly run that it was soon overrun with too many horses and
not enough management. Unfortunately, some of these horses died and a
huge rescue effort was undertaken to save the rest. While we are not
sure of Mariposa's history, NWESC staff and volunteers met her and
Bailey during our own rescue efforts to save these horses.
Mariposa and Bailey were rescued from an animal hoarder who had secreted
them away to a different property with 6 other horses. They were thin,
malnourished and full of lice and worms. In addition, Mariposa had a
foal at her side (Buddy). Throughout their stay with us, Mariposa and
Bailey became quite attached to each other. At a distance it was
difficult to tell them apart (same color, same non-existent forelock)
and if separated, they clearly suffered great distress even though they
had other friends with them in the pasture.
They were truly bonded.
While no one wanted to separate these two gems, it was also a known fact
that the odds of them being adopted to the same home were slim. We
understand that horses are expensive and since each horse had some
issues (Bailey's knee and Mariposa's trust issues)we never dreamed it
would be possible for someone to take them both on, and it broke our
hearts to imagine it.
Then something wonderful happened! Anne H., who for so long had been a
driving force for NWESC (feeding, medicating - whatever needed to be
done- rain, snow or shine) started developing such a strong bond with
Mari and Bailey that she firmly believed they should stay together and
should be adopted out as a pair. We so wanted that to happen but we knew
in order to place these horses, we just couldn't make that a stipulation
to adoption as we felt that it would be almost impossible to find such
a home. However, Anne was so committed to finding them a home where they
could stay together, that she decided that she would be the needle in
the haystack!! She decided that she would give these horses a home with
her so they could live out their lives as a bonded couple and everyone
at NWESC were so very grateful to Anne.
Anne is so devoted to Mariposa and Bailey that she has just worked
wonders with these two, especially Mariposa who had some significant
trust issues. When I went to visit Anne and her two charges I was just
stunned at how beautiful they both looked. It is quite obvious to see
that they are clearly happy and content.
Anne, you are our hero! There just could not have been a better home for
them. Taking on one horse is a huge commitment, but taking on two -
especially to keep them together so they can grow old together with lots
to eat and all the love they could hope for - is what keeps us going.
Happy anniversary Mari and Bailey! And here's to many more to come!!
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thick mist was coming down when the bay mare stepped off the trailer.
Her head hung low, her steps were slow and calculated and everything
around her was once again new and frightening. Despite her fear and pain
she walked placidly to a stall filled with deep shavings, clean water
and a small handful of hay.
She was starving to death and her survival was questionable. She was
covered in lice, had open sores and was suffering from rain rot. But her
eyes…her sad chocolate eyes held hope in them and despite her pain and
emaciated state, her quiet demeanor and polite ways quickly won over the
hearts of everyone who was graced with her presence. And so begins the
story of Summer.
Summer arrived at NWESC on May 9, 2012. Her story, unfortunately, was
not uncommon. She had been seized by Animal Control and transferred to
Pasado’s Safe Haven, a local equine rescue, for further treatment. Due
to her emaciated state (rating a 1 on the Hennecke Body Score Scale),
Pasado’s quickly contacted NWESC to see if we would be able to help save
Summer came to NWESC in a deplorable condition. She needed to undergo
a refeeding program to help build her weight ever so carefully. She
immediately went under strict quarantine for a severe lice infestation
and she needed immediate treatment for her open sores and wide spread
rain rot. Yet, through it all Summer was a true lady, nickering softly
for hay at feeding time, politely stepping aside to allow staff into her
stall with her and savoring every moment of attention and softly spoken
Despite her condition – one vet commenting that she had never seen a
horse this thin still alive – Summer fought a quiet battle to regain her
weight and conditioning while thriving on the love she received on a
daily basis from the staff at NWESC and Cedarbrook Veterinary Care.
On June 30, 2012 Summer returned to Pasado’s where we learned more
about her history. Summer was a tattooed, off-the-track Thoroughbred.
She raced a total of three races winning a mere $126. But the surprise
was saved for last. You see Summer was named by NWESC staff as she
arrived in our care at the beginning of summer. Her history was unknown
to us, but now we learned that her sire’s registered name was Come
Summer and we realized that we couldn’t have picked a more appropriate
name for her.
With the summer season coming to an end, we are happy to share that
Summer’s life is just beginning again. She remains in the care of
Pasado’s, where she will receive the love and attention that she
deserves while waiting to find her forever home.
Her story is a remarkable one – from a horse that shouldn’t have
survived to the horse that is now thriving. Through the collaborative
work with Pasado’s Safe Haven and NWESC Summer’s legacy lives on and she
is now featured as one of our success stories, but really…her story has
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