Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dodger is Doing Great

Do you remember Jeeves the police horse I told you about who saved a 2 day old foal who was abandoned out in a field?  Here's a follow up story on Dodger the foal and he's doing great!!

Here's the first story about Jeeves I blogged about in May.  ~Declan

Delightful Dodger proves artful in recovery

Dodger is getting stronger by the day
Dodger is getting stronger by the day.
Dodger the foal, who owes his life to police horse Jeeves, is proving a delight, Redwings Horse Sanctuary says.
Dodger was found abandoned in a field in South Norfolk in mid-May, when he was just two days old.
His saviour was police horse Jeeves, whose actions almost certainly saved his life.
Jeeves, who is the partner of Mounted Special Constable Acting Inspector Richard Tallent, had been turned out after an afternoon patrolling the rural lanes of Norfolk as part of a police initiative, Operation Randall, which also includes Redwings Guardian horse Bert and his caregiver, Nicola Rix.
When Tallent checked Jeeves after dark, he noticed that the 14-year-old bay gelding was on edge and kept nervously looking to a neighbouring field.
When he investigated, he found a cold, bewildered new-born foal clearly confused and alone.
Police were alerted, but an owner was never found.
Dodger, as he was named, was brought to Redwings’ horse hospital and given round-the-clock care.
Gin enjoys a romp in the sunshine.
Gin enjoys a romp in the sunshine.
He is now doing well and is going out in a field for a few hours each day with his new friend Ross.
He is a delightful little foal who loves to play and then stretch out for a snooze in the sunshine, Redwings says.
Dodger is the second abandoned foal to join the 1200 residents at Redwings in recent weeks.
Gin, a chestnut foal, was found alone and cold in the Mountain Hare area of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, and taken in by the RSPCA.
His mother and owner were never found, and the RSPCA approached Redwings to take him in.
He received two-hourly feeds and lots of care and was matched up with surrogate mum Monique.
However, after a few weeks of company it became clear that Monique was getting a bit fed up with Gin’s exuberance, so he has now been found a new friend in the shape of lovely long-term Redwings resident Noel, who is much more patient!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Three Angels Farms Forced Off America's Roads!!

This is GREAT news for the horses!!  I'm so that Ayache is off the road!  Thank you United States Department of Transportation!!  ~Declan

Three Angels Farms forced to end transportation

Posted: Jun 29, 2012 6:09 PM EDTUpdated: Jun 29, 2012 6:18 PM EDT

Three Angels Farms, a Lebanon-based company that has been subject to controversy after recent traffic incidents involving fully loaded horse trailers, has been ordered by the U.S. Department of Transportation to cease all transportation operations.
The order, filed Friday, follows a federal investigation of the company and its owners, Edwin Ayache and Dorian Ayache, which found multiple violations.
Among the department's findings, investigators discovered that the company permitted its drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles without commercial driver's licenses and did not conduct proper controlled substances testing of its drivers.
"Safety is always our top priority," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "If a truck company ignores federal safety rules and places the traveling public at risk, we will remove them from the road."
Earlier this month, a Three Angels Farms driver was cited after a fully loaded horse trailer he was driving collapsed while traveling along I-440 in south Nashville.
The incident occurred when the trailer, carrying 37 horses, structurally failed by buckling in the center.
One of the horses was euthanized due to its injuries.
In January, a livestock trailer from Three Angels Farms was loaded with 38 horses when it crashed near mile marker 182 in Williamson County.
The truck's driver suffered minor injuries in the crash after authorities said he likely fell asleep at the wheel. Three of the horses were killed, and two were seriously injured in that wreck.
In both wrecks, the THP confirmed the destination was Presidio, TX. Presidio is a border town where horses are kept in pens until they're slaughtered in Mexican meat packing plants.
After the January wreck, the Channel 4 I-Team uncovered documents that showed four injured horses from Three Angels Farms were rejected by Mexican veterinarians at the border, just two days after the Three Angels Farm trailer wrecked on the interstate in Tennessee.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Guide Horse

I think it would be super cool to have a guide horse if I was blind or needed help!!  ~Declan

Times Union

Her assistant, her guide, her horse

Guide horse the center of attention in woman's trip to visit Galway trainer
Published 10:58 p.m., Tuesday, June 26, 2012
  • Mona Ramouni, who is blind, talks with local media following her at Albany International Airport with Cali her guide horse in Colonie N.Y. Tuesday June 26, 2012. (Michael P. Farrell/Times Union) Photo: Michael P. Farrell / AL
    Mona Ramouni, who is blind, talks with local media following her at Albany International Airport with Cali her guide horse in Colonie N.Y. Tuesday June 26, 2012. (Michael P. Farrell/Times Union)

Read more:

COLONIE — As Mona Ramouni travels with her guide animal, heads turn.

People expect a Seeing Eye dog. But a horse?

Twenty-nine inches tall, Cali is a chestnut-brown miniature horse trained as a guide animal. When she and Ramouni arrived on a flight from Detroit to Albany International Airport on Tuesday, people whipped out their cellphone and moved quickly to get a snapshot of the 7-year-old horse.

Ramouni, 32, lives in Williamston, Mich., but flew in for a reunion with Dolores Arste of Galway, who trained Cali.

"People love Cali. It's like traveling with a rock star," Ramouni said. "She is a people magnet."

Cali remained calm as news crews, including one filming for an Australian television show, followed the animal through the airport.

"She did very well on the plane. She is very adaptable," Ramouni said. "She will do anything I ask."

Arste had never trained a guide animal before Cali, but she owns a farm with six regular-size horses and was used to training them. Three years ago, a friend, Alexandra Kurland of Delmar, who had trained a miniature horse for another blind person, recommended Arste when Ramouni asked Kurland to train one for her. Kurland advised Arste on what she needed to do.

"I've trained a lot of big horses, but I'd never trained miniature horses," Arste said. She got Cali from Becky Montano, who owns the Broadalbin farm where the horse was born, and said it took about nine months to train her to be a service animal.

Miniature horses make good guide animals because they are well aware of their surroundings, and they live much longer than dogs, Arste said.

"Miniature horses are herd animals like regular horses, so they have a tremendous ability to be aware of space," she said.
They can remain in service for 40 years or more, while guide dogs last about eight years before they need to be replaced.

Cali also has keener eyesight than a guide dog, is less easily distracted and doesn't pull like a dog might, Ramouni said. The horse also can wait as long as six hours before needing to relieve itself. When she is ready to go, Ramouni said, Cali will get restless and a little bratty until she's let out.

Ramouni is Muslim, and many in her faith do not consider dogs clean animals, Arste explained.

"She was concerned her friends would be uncomfortable" if she got a guide dog, Arste said. "She thought (a horse) would be more welcome."

Having the guide animal has made a huge difference in Ramouni's life.

"She's changed my whole world," she said. "She has made it possible for me to do anything I want to do."

Ramouni said she used to live at home with her parents working a dead-end job. Now she lives on a farm and is studying rehabilitation psychology at the University of Michigan. She wants to start a foundation to help connect people with guide horses. She has trained one miniature herself and is working with two others. Unlike a dog, the horse cannot sit on a plane, so Ramouni sits in the bulkhead seat and Cali stands in front of her. The animal just views it like a bumpy road.

Arste said she trained Cali using humane methods, with a series of clicks and food rewards. While she was training Cali, she made three trips to Michigan.

"I shadowed Mona throughout her day so I got a sense of what she needed," Arste said. She brought the horse back home to prepare her for Ramouni's specific needs.

Ramouni also spent time at Arste's farm before the final transfer. While the two are in regular contact, Tuesday was the first time they reunited since Cali became Ramouni's guide in 2009.

As with other guide animals, people often are drawn to the horse, but they should only touch her if given permission.

"So far, everybody has been really positive," Arste said. "They always want to pet her and say hello."

Ramouni, who is staying in town through Saturday, said she is thankful to Arste for training Cali.

"I try to tell her how grateful I am," she said. "I am so lucky to have Cali."

Herd in Iceland

The BLM should look at this and learn a few lessons from the people in Iceland!!  THIS is what I call true respect and care for horses!!  Do you see any helicopters or people screaming and chasing horses while waving flags??  Do you see abuse, ropes, metal pens or gates?  NO - I don't either!!  ~Declan

"We drive them to the moutnains and we leave them for the summer.  You are taking the horses and you are allowing them to be totally free."

Rounding Up Iceland’s Horses

Lindsay Blatt and Paul Taggart did not know much about Iceland beyond the headlines in the news — its recent bankruptcy, the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull, the volcano that ruined many travel plans (and confused many more with itspronunciation), and its most famous native, Bjork.
But their interests were piqued after they learned about a distinct variety of horse native to the country.
The Icelandic horse has been purebred for more than a millennium, having been on the island for almost as long as the natives who brought them there. The animals are small and sturdy, resembling a pony more than the horses one would expect a cavalry to straddle. During the summer, they roam freely, completely untended by humans, until they are rounded up in a big celebration at the end of the season.
Although the horses are integral to Icelandic culture, Ms. Blatt discovered that the roundup had received little attention outside of the island.
Their documentary project “Herd in Iceland,” has roots in Ms. Blatt’s childhood in Arizona — a place that also has lots of wide open space (the similarities between Iceland and Arizona begin and end there).
“My whole youth, I was so devoted to the kind of horses that I rode, not knowing anything about Icelandic horses,” Ms. Blatt said. “If I ever got a horse again, it would have to be an Icelandic horse.”

The trailer for Ms. Blatt’s and Mr. Taggart’s documentary film “Herd in Iceland.”

Ms. Blatt and Mr. Taggart start a Kickstarter project on Tuesday to fund the completion of the film which not only features the Icelandic horse, but also the people who care for the horses, many of whom buck the convention of cowboy.
“You’ll see a pretty big guy, a big Viking man riding this tiny little horse,” said Ms. Blatt, who is also a freelance photo editor at The New York Times. She added that they are often employed in occupations that are jeopardized by a precarious global economy.
“There’s this pull to something authentic, something natural, something you can put your hands on,” Mr. Taggart said. “This was lost a generation or two ago. And they want to get it back. They’re trying to figure out a way: ‘Hey, can we actually make a living off these horses, so I don’t have to go work at the bank or be an international sales rep?’ They’re trying to get back and say, it’s about family, it’s about living off the land and it’s about the animals.”