Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Belle of Ellwood

A few days ago, we promised to introduce another of our special residents, The Belle of Ellwood.


The Belle of Ellwood:

“Belle” is a 33-year-old Arabian mare. While we know she was once known as “AB Kareemah,” we don’t know much of her history. She has, from what we’ve been told, borne quite a few foals in her day and may have worked as a therapy horse for a short time. Scarring on one hind leg indicates Belle may have run into some bad luck some time in her mysterious past, but we don’t know what type of injury she suffered or when the accident occurred.

As Belle aged and her physical abilities declined, the little mare with the large presence became what is called a “hard keeper.” Missing teeth added to the difficulty in maintaining healthy weight and body condition:

Belle, September 2006

One other thing we know about Belle is that she lived in Orange County, Virginia for the past several years, just off of Route 20. Hence the name, Belle of Ellwood.

Ellwood is an eighteenth century plantation home, also located on Route 20 in Orange County, Virginia. Built in the 1790’s, Ellwood was once a typical, bustling Virginia farm. During its early days, the home at Ellwood hosted such guests as The Marquis de Lafayette, “Light Horse Harry” Lee, and James Monroe. In later years, unexpected guests such as Ulysses S. Grant and Ambrose Burnside occupied the property. To this day, the family cemetery at Ellwood is known as the final resting place of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s arm, amputated following the Battle of Chancellorsville, just up the road.

Following the Civil War, the farm stood vacant for a time. Though the owners resumed life there in the 1870’s, and the property changed hands only a few times since, by the 1980’s Ellwood was badly deteriorating. Since then, the National Park Service and Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield worked to stabilize the home’s structure and continue working toward further restoration.

“Restoration” is how we view Belle’s reason for arriving at Traveller’s Rest. It was been a longer road for Belle than for most of our residents. She has been slower to regain weight and slower to find her niche in the other horses’ social structure.

Recently, however, Belle turned a corner. While we believe she will always have some weakness in her hindquarters due to apparent previous injury and arthritis, she is putting on weight and regaining a healthy coat. On her road to her former grandeur, The Belle now spends her days with a trio of geldings, Wade, Val and Sonny, dividing her time equally among the three. Our hope is that she will continue to gain weight as we go into fall, better preparing her for winter. Belle’s progress has been slow, but it has been steady.

Belle, July 2007

Welcome home, Belle. We hope you find the accommodations to your liking and that you will stay quite a while.

For more on Ellwood:

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