Really, how lucky am I? I get to come to Wings and see these wonderful faces. I get to walk into the pens and touch these beautiful animals. For me, it doesn't get any better than this. Seven months ago, I didn't know a thing about being around a horse or taking care of a horse. Now I know the basics of horse handling, grooming, feeding, and horse psychology. And there's so much more to know! Sure, the work is sometimes physically demanding, and I come home smelling like a horse, but I've never been a glam girl. I've always been more of a tomboy who likes to play in the dirt.
I'm very happy to report that Wings has successfully applied for and received a grant from the Ravalli Electric company's Power of Change program! The grant will allow the purchase of an indoor arena building that can be used year-round for the Equine Assisted Therapy programs. Check out our Facebook page for more details.
I've been so busy at the barn that I haven't had time to blog, so it's time to catch up. A lot has been going on, with animals coming and going. These two cuties, Francis and Gibbs, were adopted to a donkey trainer and have gone to a good life in Eastern Montana. Terri, who is one of our volunteers that helps to socialize the wild donkeys, got this photo of them in the trailer. It is so sweet! Francis closed his eyes and he looks like he's smiling! It's great when the animals find a home with someone who will care for them properly. I feel sad to not be seeing them anymore, but this is what the program is all about.
Check out this awesome video from Dr. Irmak Birey, board member and volunteer...
Saturday was a busy day at the barn as three new rescues came in. You can read more about them on the home page and on our Facebook page. I was there to muck and feed so I had a chance to run around taking pictures of the new guys so I could put them on the site. It's always heartbreaking to see a neglected animal, but the good news is that they have basically landed in Horse Heaven. I can't imagine anyone who could take better care of them than Debora and her staff. It seems that a lot of horses hooves are really neglected so with her experience, Debora is able to help them immediately. She also has a lot of helpers and friends who contribute their talents to caring for the rescues.
A lot of what goes on at a horse facility is feeding the horses and cleaning up after them. The basics! I did a lot of that the past couple of weeks and the cool thing about doing both tasks is that you get to be in the pens with the horses. The more time I spend there, the more I'm getting to know the personality of the different horses, and those personalities really come out at feeding time! You find out who the bossy ones are, who the polite ones are, and who is impatient.
I didn't get a chance to post last week because we were busy getting ready for our booth at the Bitterroot Celtic Games, which took place on August 21 & 22. It was so much fun! We took Nikki, four mini-horses and Brighty the mini-donkey to the games to help promote interest in the Wings Sanctuary. The animals were set up in a pen next to the Wings booth so people had a chance to feed and pet them. It was so great to watch people's faces light up when they saw the horses.
I was really pleased this week to be in a position to offer the use of a Pulsed Electro Magnetic Frequency (PEMF) machine to Wings. This is a technology that sends a pulsed charge of energy through a loop that can be placed on the body. The energy charge vitalizes the cells, allowing for cell waste to leave the cell and nutrients to enter the cell. This can be a big help in healing tissue of any kind. The portable unit I have is ideal for working on horses as it can be moved to the barn easily. On Monday, Debora and I worked on several horses.
I didn't do as much at the barn this past week as I was out one day, but a few weeks ago I got a chance to learn a new task - mineral cups. Just like it sounds, these are cups full of different minerals that are given to the horses with their feed to supplement their nutrition. It's really helpful to have a bunch of these made up ahead of time, so the person doing the feeding can just grab a cup and add it to the feed. This is the kind of extra care that I love to see.
I've been getting to do more horse handling, which has been a lot of fun. Since I don't have much horse experience I'm just going slow and trying to pay really good attention to what I'm doing, what the horse is doing, and what the experts are telling me. I started out with Scooter, who is fairly new to the facility. I went to his pen, got a halter on him and led him to the washstand, where I washed his arthritic knees with cold water. He didn't like it too much, but it was to help reduce inflammation. Next, I took him into the barn and did a little grooming and a little massage.