Saturday, July 26, 2008

Girl Scouts, Horses, Bats & Bluebirds

As its Bronze Award project, Girl Scout Troop 3502 chose to help Traveller's Rest with its Integrated Pest Management program (part 2 here.) After visiting the Sanctuary and learning that several equine diseases are transmitted by insect bites, the Scouts agreed to research bluebird and bat habits and build shelters to encourage more of the mighty insectivores to take up residence at TREES.
Today, seven bluebird houses and two bat houses were delivered by five representatives of the Troop. In addition to researching construction details, the girls compiled information on where to position the houses, when the houses are likely to be inhabited, and the benefits of encouraging bluebirds and bats to live at the Sanctuary. As a bonus, each house is signed by its builder; each one a signed original!

We'd like to thank Troop 3502 for the time they invested in helping TREES' residents stay comfortable and healthy in their Golden Years. Hopefully, the girls can return next spring or summer and watch young bluebirds cruising the skies. Thank you, Troop 3502! Come back any time.

Horse-y or not: let us recycle your "stuff!"

Maybe you'd like to support the Horse Elders at Traveller's Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary, but your "spare" cash is going into your gas tank or in your own hay loft. Perhaps your tack room is crowded with items that haven't been used in five years. Got extra office supplies you need to move out of the way? Do you have hidden talents that might help the Elders in non-material ways?

There's a good chance TREES can use your "stuff!" Here's a list of stuff we can put to good use if you no longer need it. If you have supplies to donate, please mail to TREES, PO Box 2260, Spotsylvania, VA, 22553 or email, or call 540-972-0936 for street address.

Horse Care/ Stable Supplies

~100X Microscope to use for on site fecal exams
~Alfalfa/grass mix forage cubes
~Bedding, pine- bulk sawdust, bagged shavings, pelleted bedding
~Box fans
~Clippers, heavy-duty body clippers (to keep Cushings patients comfortable)
~Corta-Flx Rx 100 Ultimate Solution
~Cotton leads
~Desitin or Zinc Oxide
~Double ended snaps
~Fly boots (all sizes)
~Fly masks (all sizes)
~Fly traps or strips
~Funds paid directly to Rappahannock Equine Veterinary Clinic for Traveller's Rest account
~Grass Hay - 1st cutting
~Grooming supplies
~Halters (prefer leather or breakaway)
~Ivermectin paste
~Manure forks
~Muck buckets
~Orchardgrass Hay - 2nd cutting
~Portable corral or round pen panels
~Stall mats, used or new, to serve as "place mats" for horses that drop feed on the ground
~Swat ointment
~Triple Antibiotic ointment/Neosporin
~Triple Crown Senior feed
~16 foot stock trailer - Doesn't need to be pretty or fancy, but road-worthy and safe for the horses

Office Supplies/Educational Programs
~8-1/2 x 11 copy paper (white or pastels)
~Legal size paper, white or pastels
~AA batteries
~Books on anything horse related.....fiction, training, nutrition, first aid, genetics, color, general care....if you have it but don't need it, we'll glady accept it!
~Fax machine
~File folders
~Rubber bands
~Paper Clips
~Poster board
~Poster frames, any size
~Permanent markers
~Any surplus office or school supplies - some may be used to support our administrative needs, others might be used for educational displays.
~Table or Floor Easels
~Three-hole punch
~Folding Tables
`Folding Display Boards

~Proof of Purchase seals from Triple Crown, Legends and Reliance feed bags
~100 watt light bulbs
~1x6 oak or poplar fence boards, 8' or 16'
~Battery powered wall clocks w/ second hand
~Gift cards: Office Depot, Staples, or Best Buy, Lowe's or Home Depot, Tractor Supply, Target, etc. We can use almost any cards to purchase office supplies, cleaning or first aid supplies, maintenance and stable supplies, you name it!
~Scrub brushes
~Used tack or books and yard sale items for future fundraising events
~Ideas! Send your suggestions for fundraisers, blog topics, web site content, educational programs, whatever! Let us know what you'd like to see TREES do to further promote the humane care of Equine Elders.

~Grant Development
~Fence Painting
~Farm Labor

If you have supplies to donate, please mail to TREES, PO Box 2260, Spotsylvania, VA, 22553 or email, or call 540-972-0936 for street address

And, or course, cash donations are always appreciated.

For more on how your stuff helps senior horses, visit

Friday, July 25, 2008

Coming soon to Traveller's Rest..........

New arrival! This is Marye (pronounced like "Marie.") She is currently being cared for by an acquaintence of the owner and will arrive at TREES Monday (july 28) She seems like a dignified, elegant girl. (So far......we'll see what happens when she puts on a little weight and joins a group of already smart aleck elder horses.)

If you're in the Fredericksburg, VA area and would like to meet Marye or any of TREES' other residents, let us know. We'll schedule a visit!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Traveller's Rest in the news!

Thank you Toni Stinson, Caroline Progress and CFC Farm and Home Center!

Read article here

"Smith was overjoyed at the gift of free feed for the 14 elder residents at her farm. The senior feed that many of the resident horses require is their sole source of nutrition since many no longer have the ability to graze due to dental issues.

'We feed about 100 pounds of feed a day, so this will really help,' Smith said."

Sunday, July 6, 2008

TREES and the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign

Traveller's Rest is now registered with the Combined Virginia Campaign!
"The Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC) is the tool that facilitates State Employee giving."

If you are a Commonwealth Employee, please consider TREES as your CVC designate to help Forgotten Friends.
CVC Code 3876

Traveller's Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary

Friday, July 4, 2008

July 4th Firework Safety For Horses

From 'A Horse and a half'

TREES does not particularly look forward to "the Fourth." Last year, neighbors on opposite sides of the sanctuary seemed to be having a competition to see who had purchased more illegal fireworks than the other. Batten down the hatches and pray for rain tonight.

Wade's new clothes

Wade, Wade, Wade.

What looks like one of TREES' strongest, healthiest geldings is actually one big ball of special needs.

To begin, Wade has Cushings. He had already been diagnosed as Cushingoid before arrival and was being treated with pergolide. He seemed to be free of observable symptoms, with the exception of excess sweating on moderately hot days.

Two summers ago, Wade had a short period of the itchies. Tail rubbing, belly rubbing, occasional hives. Episodes seemed to come and go quickly, so we didn't get overly concerned.

Last summer, it became apparent that Wade was developing serious allergies to something in his environment. He rubbed an enormous bald spot on his tailhead. The hair on his midline was replaced by weeping, itchy lesions. He lost most of the hair on his face, even though we never saw him rub his head.
Allergies in horses are often treated with steroids like dexamethasone or prednisone. Steroids and Cushings, however, are not a good mix. Wade was given hydroxyzine, an antihistamine, and Voila! Itching was gone, hair returned, life was good. Hydroxyzine, in horse-size doses, though, can get a little pricey.

As spring 2008 approached, it was obvious Wade was facing even more pronounced symptoms. By now, the vets were fairly sure Wade's sensitivity was to insect bites. As they dispensed antihistamines, they recommended finding fly spray concentrates and diluting to only 10% rather than 5% or less. Ach. Not something we really wanted to apply to a horse with so many imbalances already.

Thus began yet another round of experimentation and observation. Aha! Wade was coming in with hives in the morning, but by each evening the hives were pretty much gone. The culprit seemed to be nocturnal.

Coincidentally, Schneiders catalog came along......lo and behold, a Mosquito Mesh sheet for horses! Its perfect. Wade wears his at night. No hives, no tail rubbing, his facial hair is returning. Bingo! And he's been off hydroxyzine for several weeks now. Even better!

He's not wearing it in the photo above, but as an afterthought, we also purchased a neck protector since there were a few bites just in front of the sheet.

Wade wears his new clothes at night, and trades them during the day for a fly mask and boots.

Oddly enough, Wade's excess sweating seems to have decreased as well. Whether or not the two things are actually connected is in question, but we'll take it!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What types of horses do you have?

This morning, a reporter with the Caroline Progress asked what kinds of horses we have at the sanctuary. In thinking more about that question, we realized just what a variety of residents we've been priveledged to care for at Traveller's Rest.

In terms of breeds, we've hosted several Thoroughbreds (one a grandson of Secretariat,) a few Quarter Horses (to include Impressive and Poco Bueno descendants,) a Standardbred, two or three Arabians, a Friesian mare (Els B, the first mare to grace the cover of the Stud Book,) two Tennessee Walkers, a mule, two Shetland Pony crosses, a couple of draft crosses, and a plethora of wonderful grade horses (in other words, we don't know their breeding and don't care!)

We've cared for an eventer, a "big lick" Walker, a steeplechaser, several (former) brood mares, Western Pleasure mounts, dressage horses, a cow "pony," camp horses, trail horses, a harness racer, an endurance horse, a barrel racer, and some horses whose pasts are complete mysteries.

Some residents came to the sanctuary due to owners' financial, family, or health difficulties, some were abandoned at boarding stables, some "conveyed" with the property when farms were sold, and some were plainly neglected by owners who didn't care.

The conclusion seems to be that there is no "average" TREES resident. By the same token, no resident in more "special" than the others, regardless of pedigree or accomplishment. Retirement is the great equalizer in the world of equine elders. A Kentucky Derby winner is no more deserving of comfortable Golden Years than a camp horse who toted dozens (hundreds?) of squirming children up and down Blue Ridge trails.

Whatever their backgrounds, all of our residents are "golden" oldies. If you are in Virginia, whether you live here or are passing through, stop by and meet these wonderful old veterans. Forget the stereotype of "old nags." Our residents may surprise you.

Watch for...........

Traveller's Rest and CFC Farm & Home Center in the July 10th issue of the Caroline Progress!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

VA - 27 yo TWH needs home

(This horse is being place by a private owner and is not a resident of, nor affiliated with, Traveller's Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary.)

From our friends at White Bird Appaloosa Horse Rescue:

"All:I have received a call about a Tennessee Walking Horse in Gretna, VA who is losing his home due to a divorce. He is 27 yo and suffers from ringbone and had EPM. That's the bad news. The good news is that he isa friendly, good-looking ex-show horse who would look great in yourpasture. He is a 16.1 H mahogany bay who is well-mannered and pasture sound with just a little bute. If you ever wanted a "big lick" TWH butnever had the nerve to actually ride one, here's your boy!Unfortunately, he is losing his home in two weeks and risks being left with someone who is unlikely to even feed him, so he really needs a guardian angel to come get him. "

Interested? Please contact TREES for owner contact info.

To see more listings for senior horses in need of new homes, please click "needs home" tag following this post. This is a listing service only. Traveller's Rest cannot guarantee the accuracy of information contained in "Needs Home" entries.

"No Latitude for Attitude"

After reading this article from the Connecticut Post, we had to pass on the link. A quote from the owner of Gray Friesian Farm sums up horse farm management perfectly. "Our emphasis on mutual respect and community means there's no latitude for attitude.....It's a healthy environment for both people and animals."

"No latitude for attitude." Love it! Applying that phrase to Traveller's Rest includes both humans and horses. Humans can leave ego, attitude, and preconceived notions at the gate and pick them up later on their way out. Caring for a herd of geriatrics requires teamwork, not competition.

Horses, too, can get over "attitude" here. While most are here because their working days are long past, the residents are still expected to maintain good ground manners. There is a tendency to allow special needs horses to get away with behaviors that would not be tolerated in other circumstances. Val, for example, broke a former owner's nose while "head butting." Not acceptable, no matter how "weak" he was at the time! Betty, in her former home, plowed over an elderly man trying to enter her pasture. Obviously not acceptable, chronic illness or no! While we like to see spark, spirit, and self-confidence in our Elders, "attitude" is not necessarily a good thing.

"No latitude for attitude." Leave it at the gate!