Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Typical Morning Eldercare Chores

I don't know that there is such a thing as "normal" or "average" at an equine Sanctuary, but this outlines many of the common summer morning chores.

First, of course, is breakfast.  Between 6:00 and 6:15, feed is measured into individual feed tubs according to each Elder's individual needs.  Warm water is added to the feed which is allowed to soak to make a thick "mush."  Breakfast is served at 7:00, with each horse eating in a separate stall, paddock or shed.  Once breakfast is finished and the horses turned out, we:


Wash dishes
Since the horses eat "mush" feed tubs get nasty fast and, in warm weather, start to smell bad if not rinsed after meals.


Rinse Beau's place mat (a car floor mat he eats on to prevent him from eating dirt when he drops food, then picks it up -- if not rinsed after each meal, the mat is a huge fly party.)


Remove manure and wet sawdust from stalls and sheds.


Rebed stalls and sheds with clean sawdust


Fly Spray


Dampen shed floors to knock down dust


Shower Clara (because, otherwise, she won't go away)
(which of course rinses off aforementioned fly spray and as a bonus attracts a horse fly.)

Clara's shower then leads to this -



Okay - back to work.
Pick up manure in small paddocks and dry lots (the rest of the fields will be cleaned up this evening when the temperature starts to come down.)


Dump collected manure and dirty bedding in manure spreader


Finally, clean and refill water tanks and buckets


Meanwhile, the residents are all doing this:



As it should be.
They served us, now we serve them.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lindy Reminds Us to "Rethink"

Re-evaluate.  One of TREES’ cardinal rules.  Nothing is written in stone.  What worked last year may not be appropriate this year.  What works this summer may not be necessary next spring.

When Lindy first arrived at Traveller’s Rest, her history included “an old shoulder injury.”  No more detail than that – no clues telling us what type of injury, when the injury occurred or how it was treated or managed.  We could tell by the asymmetry of her front feet that she carried more of her weight on one side, keeping as much load as possible off of the other but had no additional information.

At rest or while grazing, Lindy appeared to be pain free but when moving at any gait faster than a walk, she was noticeably uncomfortable.  Most problematic was asking her to stand for hoof trimming.  Even though she is an extremely kind and willing mare, it was impossible for her to balance her weight on her “bad” foreleg while the other was lifted for trimming.

We added Previcox (COX II inhibitor anti-inflammatory drug) to Lindy’s daily routine. At about the same time, reluctantly, we began using sedation on Lindy’s trim days.  The first time we tried dormosedan gel (sedative/painkiller often used in “standing procedures” on horses,) using the dose listed on the label for horses her size, Lindy still struggled to stand on the affected leg.  During the rest of the trim, however, she seemed so deeply sedated that she was almost sitting on Ernie, her farrier.  For each subsequent trim, the dose was reduced. Even so, by the third trim using sedation, Lindy stood quietly, but was still leaning on Ernie for support.

Today, Lindy’s scheduled pedicure day, as I picked up the tube of dormosedan gel, I hesitated.  Something told me to put the box back on the shelf. I did.  When Ernie arrived, I let him know we were going to try trimming Lindy with no sedation this time.   

Lindy - Arab mare in her late 20's

The little mare was perfect.  No anxiety. No apparent discomfort.  No fidgeting.  Perfect.  Maybe her shoulder just needed more time to heal.  Maybe the healing was due to a change in pasture mates.  None of the other mares with her do anything to cause anxiety or sudden defensive movements.  Maybe it’s the Previcox keeping her comfortable.  The next step, I think, will be to attempt to wean her from the drug and see what happens.  Perhaps she no longer needs it. 

Nothing is written in stone here.  Sometimes changes are recommended by veterinarians. Some new ideas come to us by way of Facebook or Blog followers.  Other adaptations, like today’s change, seem to come from the horses themselves.  If we listen.


Wow! And just now, as I type while the sun reemerges after hours of rain………Blondie, Emily and Nellie cantered a big circle around their pasture, feeling quite fine…… and then comes Lindy, trotting behind.  Not far, not fast, but an even, relaxed trot.  Awesome.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Redesigning a Sanctuary

When Traveller’s Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary was founded, the goal was to provide sanctuary; a place of safety; a stress-free home where everything fits together as a smooth, harmonious whole. We tried to take into account everything that might affect the well-being of both horses and sanctuary, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Somewhere along the road our program took a slight detour, veering into a commonly seen model in which as many horses as possible are taken into a facility, filling every available pen, paddock, and stall.  Housing too many horses at the sanctuary drove the stress-free and harmonious factors in the equation into the background.  While TREES’ residents have never lacked food, shelter, veterinary, farrier or dental care, just meeting “the basics” is not enough to make our Sanctuary whole. 
With that in mind, Traveller’s Rest is undergoing a metamorphosis; not so much a change in purpose as a rebirth – a return to our roots.  We are making some changes in order to return to a more holistic path toward sanctuary; a path we hope will lead beyond “good enough” and set a standard of excellence.  
First and foremost, that means moving away from the idea of accepting another horse any time there appears to be physical space for one more.  “Space for one more” means far more than having a spare stall or a vacant paddock.  We want our horses to live peacefully in harmony with their environment.  Operating a farm under crowded conditions automatically creates conflict with that environment.  Pastures become unhealthy, parasite and pest control becomes very difficult if not impossible, and the horses themselves become stressed, anxious, and irritable, all leading to a decrease in the horses’ physical well-being as well as damaging the land the horses call home.  TREES hopes to develop Sanctuary as an all-encompassing concept rather than being seen merely as a horse farm that happens to house elder equine.
From this point forward, TREES will set a maximum herd size of 12-15 horses rather than the average of 18-20 we tried to maintain for the past several years.  Not only will a smaller herd lead to a more balanced sanctuary environment, but it will also allow time for more educational efforts, something that suffered greatly in the last few years.  Education will, of course, remain focused on equine elder care, but we will also begin to incorporate more “green” horsekeeping philosophy.  Our standards will include integrative management techniques in which the sanctuary environment is every bit as important as the horses in it.  Practically speaking, there is no way to separate the two facets of the sanctuary – what we do with the horses affects the farm environment and what we do with the farm environment affects the horses.  The Sanctuary is a microcosm of the interconnected nature of all things; what affects one thing affects all things.
So, as TREES enters its second decade, we continue to grow by becoming smaller in one sense, while hopefully achieving more balance over all. 
It’s exciting to imagine what that balance may bring. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sanctuary or Retirement?

During the last several months, Traveller’s Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary received increasingly frequent requests to take in horses that “need” a sanctuary setting due only to age, or minor unsoundness. These requests come from both private owners and horse welfarists who are having trouble finding permanent homes for such horses.

It seems like a good time, therefore, to re-run a short version of TREES acceptance policy. TREES almost always operates at maximum capacity. Maximum capacity is determined by a combination of financial status, farm size, and available manpower and may vary slightly depending on conditions. Further, because TREES takes in the horses most other places won’t accept – those of the elder set with one or more “special needs” - most often, the only way a space at the sanctuary becomes available is when euthanasia is judged, by caregivers and vets, to be the most humane option.

At that time, if the Sanctuary is able to take in another horse, priority is always given to those that are not receiving even basic care. In other words, the horses that are not receiving food or vet care necessary to maintain life, or those that are suffering pain due to untreated injury or ailment. These horses may be animals that have been abandoned, seized by Animal Control officials, or whose owners have encountered financial or physical hardships that make keeping a horse impossible. Intake functions as a sort of triage process to determine which horse is in the most immediate need.

If an owner or caregiver is ABLE to provide care for a horse, that horse is not deemed to be in immediate need. If a horse is in a well-run rescue barn, that horse is not deemed to be in immediate need. If a person “bailed” a horse and can care for him properly, but now wants to move him along just so he or she can “bail” another, that horse is not deemed to be in immediate need.

TREES is not a retirement farm. The Sanctuary was not built just to provide a leisure home for all horses of a certain age. It is intended as a place of safety for those (over a certain age) who may otherwise slip through the cracks. Please understand that these spaces are reserved for those horses who, literally, have no one else ABLE to care for them. If you’re ABLE….do it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thinking of Re-Gifting? Re-Gift for the Elders!

Did you or someone in your family receive gifts over the holidays you’re not sure what to do with? Receive the same gift twice or got a sweater that’s just not your style? Turn that gift into funding for Traveller's Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary's mission! Sell unwanted presents on eBay and donate 10% to 100% of the final sale price with eBay Giving Works to support our work.

Enjoy the Benefits!
Your listing will benefit from several unique program features that have been proven to attract more buyers and raise awareness of our cause such as the eBay Giving Works ribbon and enhanced searchability. Plus your listings will automatically qualify for the eBay Giving Works Fee Credit Benefit and you’ll receive a tax-receipt for your donation.

How to Use eBay Giving Works
1. Click “Customize your listing”
2. Look for the “eBay Giving Works” field (Click “Add or Remove Options” if you don’t see it) in the Sell Your Item form in the "Choose how you’d like to sell your item" area
3. Choose “Select a new nonprofit”
4. In the pop-up window that appears, type "Traveller's Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary” in the “Nonprofit Name or Keyword” field
5. Select Traveller's Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary and a percentage (10-100%) you wish to donate to TREES (please note: there is a $1 minimum donation if your item sells)

It’s as simple as that! If your item sells, TREES will receive the percentage you selected to donate. It’s giving back without giving your gift back.

Have questions? Please visit http://www.equineelders.org/ebay.htm to learn more.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

HEAL Hosting Feed Drive for TREES Jan-Feb2012

Helping Every Animal Live - (HEAL) has partnered with an equine (horse) sanctuary to provide much needed supplies and feed to the elderly horses in their care.

Traveller's Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary uses approximately 1,050 pounds of senior feed, 100-150 lbs of alfalfa cubes, and 35 bales (avg 40lbs each) of hay WEEKLY! We would like to raise at least 3,000 pounds of feed and 300 pounds of alfalfa cubes for the horses in their care this year.The sanctuary currently has 23 elderly horses in which they provide care for. Because these horses are elderly they all have long term illnesses or special needs that must be managed daily. As such the veterinary, farrier, and dental costs incurred by the sanctuary are enormous.

You can help by donating items from the horses wish list below. Your donations will free up the sanctuary's funds to provide further veterinary care. Currently, one horse is in need of an eye surgery.

Please consider donating to help and elderly horse this winter.

Join us at one of the below events to pick up a wish list or drop off donations .A wish list of items needed is included below.

Collection drive runs through February 18, 2012

3 Ways to help:

1.Phone in your order of feed, alfalfa cubes, mineral, or salt blocks to Southern States located at 8718 West Broad Street in Richmond, VA 23294. You can call (804) 747-9315 during store hours and place your phone order for any of the below items. When you call let them know you are purchasing feed through the Helping Every Animal Live feed drive. Be sure to leave your name and address with the attendant if you would like your purchase to be tax deductible. We will mail you your letter for tax purposes. Please call in your order in support of the sanctuary today.

We would like to thank Southern States Manager, Ken Long and all of the staff for working with us to provide this phone in ordering service.

Items that can be ordered through the Phone in Ordering Service:

50 lbs Triple Crown Senior Feed - $18.99
Triple Crown Alfalfa Cubes - $16.00
Trace Mineral Block - $5.99
Salt Block - $6.99

You can call 804-747-9315 and place your order during the below store hours:
Sunday:9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday - Saturday :8:00 AM - 7:00 PM

2. Visit us during either the January or February Metro Richmond Pet Savers (MRPS) Events to drop off your donations, see photos and learn more about the elderly horses in the sanctuary or pick up a printed wish list. While at the event there will be numerous cats and dogs available for adoption from various local rescue groups. Event dates and locations are as follows:

■Saturday, January 14, 2012 at the Petsmart located at 1276 Car Mia Way Richmond, VA 23235. (Near Chesterfield Town Center) - 11am to 3pm

■Saturday, February 11, 2012 at the Petsmart located at 9870 Brook Rd Glen Allen, VA 23059. (Near Virginia Center Commons) - 11am - 3pm

3. Visit us at our final collection event location to learn more about HEAL, see photos and learn more about the elderly horses in the sanctuary and purchase any items you would like to donate directly at Southern States.

■Saturday, February 18, 2012 at Southern States located at 8718 West Broad Street Richmond, VA 23294 - 8am - 7pm.

HEAL will be making delivery to the Sanctuary Sunday, February 19th.

Elderly Horse Wish List - Please consider donating an item to help and elderly horse this winter.

From Southern States:

Triple Crown Senior Horse Feed
Triple Crown Alfalfa Cubes
Legends Pelleted Rice Bran
Salt Blocks (White)
Trace Mineral Block (Red)
Pelleted Pine Bedding
Double Ended Snaps for Hanging Feed Tubs
50 or 100' water hoses
Cotton Lead Ropes
Nolvasan (or other Clorhexidine) Skin and Wound Cleanser


Eco Bedding
Kaytee Soft Fiber Blend Bedding (NO GRANULE BEDDING)
Any Carefresh Brand Bedding
Bronco Equine Fly Spray
4" Flexible Bandaging Any Color (Vet Wrap)
Nolvasan (or other Clorhexidine) Skin and Wound Cleanser

From Walmart, ETC

Rubber Curry Brush
Pine Bedding
Equate Diaper Rash Ointment
A&D Zinc Oxide Cream
Beatdine Soultion
Equate First Aid Antiseptic
10% Povidone Iodine
Neosporin Original Ointment
Equate Triple Anitbiotic Ointment
Any Size Johnson & Johnson Gauze Pads
Human Hairbrushes - Any variety
Hydrogen Peroxide
Epsom Salt
Grey Duct Tape
Nolvasan (or other Clorhexidine) Skin and Wound Cleanser

Please contact us with questions: info@helpingeveryanimallive.org or at 804. 614.HEAL (4325)

To learn more about us visit: www.helpingeveryanimallive.org
To learn more about the elderly equine sanctuary: http://www.equineelders.org/



Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lindy Needs Eye Surgery.

Until now, TREES has never solicited donations for specific vet bills. Now however, with rising costs and more horses in need, we need to ask for your help.

Lindy, our little Davenport Arabian mare, who arrived underweight and in need of vet care in the fall of 2011, now needs surgery to remove one eye.

Arrival - November 1, 2011
What probably started as uveitis some time ago has progressed to glaucoma. While it is not yet terribly painful, this eye does cause some discomfort and should be removed before it begins to cause greater problems.

The veterinary surgeon gave us an estimate of $1170. Can you help us help Lindy sooner rather than later, by using button at the top of this post and "chipping in" to her surgery fund ?