New Holiday Design Cards are coming soon! Recently a few volunteers spent an afternoon taking photos for this years new holiday cards. These are a few of the fun outtakes! New designs will be available soon in our online store - a special donkey collection - and our classics are already available. Special thanks to a local artist who is helping to edit the final selected photos. All proceeds will help to care for, rehabilitate and feed the rescues at Wings!
This is a time of year when the weather changes so suddenly you have to be ready for anything. Preparing for winter at the barn involves some strategies and planning, especially for basic things like filling water troughs. We unhooked all our hoses a few weeks ago when we had some freezing weather and I started using a handy expandable hose to reach the troughs. Once you turn the water on, the hose expands to 100 feet, but it's lightweight so I'll be able to move it around easily in the snow. With no garden chores now, I've also been able to do more PEMF therapy on horses. Lucy and Dancer got some therapy this past week, as well as Spike, who has a sore hoof.
This past week saw a lot of healing activity as Debora and I worked on several horses with the PEMF machine (see earlier post). Since I already know how to use the machine, I'm just learning how to use it on a horse instead of a human. Honey, who is a new arrival to Wings, was worked on every day last week to try and jump-start her healing, on the advice of Kari from Valley Equine Massage. Her back end was so locked up with spasms that she didn't react when Debora ran her thumbs down either side of her spine on the hind end. Normally, a horse's hind end will curl under with an involuntary response. The PEMF causes muscles to twitch, similar to a TENS machine but much stronger. During the first few minutes of the first session, Honey's muscles did not twitch at all! I've never seen that happen.
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.
Laura Weise is a Wings volunteer who lives in Stevensville and will be bringing you stories of life at the barn.