Mabel’s Transformation

Friday, when Apache and I came back from our lesson, a brown blur appeared. A horse was galloping full speed towards us, then stopped on a dime at the gate. What energy! Who was that?

Not me. Nope.

No, not Fiona. Last July, Kathleen rescued a large, dark bay horse, who we named Mabel. She was in such sad shape, she melted our hearts. She was skin and bones, and had open wounds on her legs.

You could see her spine and her hip bones stuck out sharply.

Kathleen spent a lot of time getting her veterinarian treatment, dealt with severe choke, and tried to get weight on her. It was slow going. she also had ulcers.

Legs all fixed up. She was all leg, hips, and bones.

I admit that I thought she was pretty ugly. Her head seemed huge for her, even though she was tall. She looked mean and upset. Well, she probably was. She had to feel horrible, which would make anyone irritable. I’m sure her back hurt a lot. It looked awful.

It’s hard to see, but her back looked like a roller coaster.

When Kathleen left in November, I took over feeding her horses. I just kept giving Mabel more food, but the winter was hard on her. At least she had shelter. By spring, I decided to try to get her more healthy myself, since Kathleen’s health stuff meant she couldn’t.

Also. One of the other horses but her tail completely off. She was the bottom of the pecking order.

I’ve been giving her the coconut stuff Drew gets to put on weight, and I’ve given her amino acid oil. She’s been steadily putting on weight since spring and gotten noticeably friendlier.

Trixie trying to work on her.

We have fewer horses here now, and they’ve been getting supplemental hay, so her life has been more peaceful. She’s grown fond of Apache, so he’s now her protector. Her coat grew in shiny and bright this summer. And her demeanor is 100% better now that she’s had her teeth taken care of.

Her face is now pleasant. All the pain wrinkles are gone!

Her tail has grown at least a foot, and it’s so thick and shiny! Her feet look better, which may explain why she’s running now. She gets them trimmed by a pro soon and will be on a regular schedule.

She’s shiny and of normal weight! And look at that face!

I look at these recent photos and get all teary. She’s happy, except when I try to take burs out. She may never be rideable much, but I’m trying to slowly help her build up her muscles.

Big and cute.

She will soon start getting bodywork, too. The last time we tried, she wasn’t ready and it hurt and scared her. Maybe now she’s ready! At least she’s got friends, people who care for her, and good nutrition. I’m so glad I could step in and help out!

We’re looking forward to doing more with her. Kathleen is getting better and so is Mabel. These things take time. I’m happy for them both!

Hark! It’s a Thundering Herd!

It’s always something with my equine buddies. Today was no exception. I’d been out for a while in the morning feeding Drew and Mabel (more on that later), so I was back at work concentrating on job aids, user guides, and the like. The dogs began to bark. What could it be? The letter carrier? The UPS driver? FedEx? The barking seemed a little different than usual.

I soon found out why. There was a thundering herd of six horses and one small, spotted donkey running across the front field, looking majestic AF. Oops. I fetched my non-computer glasses and my phone and ran out to see how that had happened.

Thundering herd

The photo you see here is them running after I came outside. I wish I’d had a camera when I first saw them. They looked all a-flutter. When I came out, they had started to settle down and get to the important work of finding new and different grass to eat. They paid Jim’s RV area a nice visit.

MMM, grassy.

Then they took off again, because they saw me and wanted to say HI. I invited them into their pen, but they had other plans.

I think there’s some grass over here. Yes, there is.

By the time I got the gate opened and fetched a tempting feed tub of deliciousness, they were back over by the RV, which appears to be where the best grass on the property can be found. I rattled the container of feed at them. You can imagine how I laughed when I saw how quickly Dusty’s head picked up. FOOD! He was headed my way before I was even able to pick up the phone to get a picture, with the others trooping along right behind him.

I see a food tub! Mabel, come on! T, let’s go! The rest of you slackers better get your heads out of the grass!

I’d barely gotten into the pen myself when Dusty’s head was poking at the tub. Soon, everyone was there. Even Fiona was faster than Drew, who I guess was more interested in that grass than any boring old senior horse feed. But, all I had to do was set the tub down, stand at the gate, and shut it (well). I saw that they’d managed to open one of the small gates out of the pens, which means I didn’t secure it well enough. I’ll get that lesson through my head one of these days.

I guess the adventure was fun, since it made Drew roll around with glee. Damn, he is a cute little feller. His mane is getting so full, it reminds me of Curly on the Three Stooges.


I’m glad that excitement ended quickly. Earlier, on my morning feeding break. I realized that Mabel was patiently standing in one of the pens while Drew ate his morning calorie dump. I’d been planning to try to give Mabel extra food, too, once we had fewer horses to wrangle at feeding time, so I went and got her some alfalfa and coconut meal, wet down with a lot of water.

I got food!

Since she, like Drew, had choked before, I watched her like a hawk until she was finished eating. My goodness, she seemed happy to get the extra calories.

Look at that face. She has a Roman nose, for sure.

I’ve been noticing that she is filling out and even gaining some muscle since I started on a magnesium supplement and coconut powder (which I give all of the horses that aren’t mine, mainly so she can get it). Her tail, what little there is left of it after a horse bit off most of it, is even all shiny now. The best part, though, is that she is so much more relaxed and friendly. She now comes up for love and petting, which makes me so happy.

Kathleen and I have talked about plans for her, and I think she will at least have a chance at a useful life once we get her feet under control, worm her (and the rest) again, and get her weight a bit more normal. She’s going to be thin, we think, no matter what. She needs to show a little less rib, still.

Looking out toward the future.

I’ve also noticed the other horses have stopped pestering her so much. Maybe it’s because Drew is now competing to be the lowest ranking horse in the herd, but I think she is stronger and can put up more of a fight. I’m happy she is on the mend at last. We can dote on her and give her all our human love. That will make us feel better, too.

something poetic

(formerly The Lost Kerryman)

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