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Archive for March, 2011

I belong to a world-wide community of model horse hobbyists and artists, though I am neither. They’re amazing people and are always striving to do for others, which is how I found them in the first place. While I was figuring out if I could bring Cass home, there was a young boy who was working to help make it so. He painted resin frogs and sent the money raised in her name. The hope was to keep her from slaughter.

We all know the mountains moved to get Cass here and she has made my life complete. I am forever grateful to her original guardian angel, Stephen.

Stephen’s mother, Janice,  is a founding member of The International Blessed Broodmare Project http://theinternationalblessedbroodmareproject.com/ which consists of artists, model horse hobbyists and horse lovers from around the world. Chatting with this group has become part of my daily life ever since Cass stepped foot on the truck to begin her journey to Florida. We share joy, sadness, success, frustration and oftentimes ask for advice and guidance. Lately the talk has turned to how to help those affected by the disaster in Japan.

Wa-la! The 500 Frogs Project was born!

The idea is simple – bring some love to Japanese children who have lost so much. We had the goal of 500 resin frogs being painted and sent over to school children. Well, just in the few days this project has been in existence 600 are already ordered! We would like groups of girl scouts, boy scouts, art classes, horse barns, senior centers – anywhere there are groups of people wanting to help – to paint the frogs. Once frogs are finished and sent back to our founder, Deb Buckler, they will then be shipped to children in Japan. Sounds easy and fun, right?!

HERE ARE THE THINGS WE NEED FOR YOU TO PARTICIPATE:

The frogs need to be sent out to the painters at a minimum of 5 to a box. (You can order however many above that you want.) We WILL need some monetary help with casting and shipping 500+ frogs all over the world. Each frog will cost around $3. Include the total for your number of frogs ordered. Those who would like to sponsor frogs for others to paint are welcome, as well! Please send a brief introduction letter describing your group or yourself. She’s hoping to start shipping finished frogs by the end of April in groups of 100. The outpouring of love and support from those in the horse hobby has already been overwhelming. Won’t you join us?

Send monies thru Paypal to Deb’s e-mail addy:

gotrandy@tcsn.net and mark it “Frogs”.

Here are some examples of the fine work Stephen did for our Cass. This is the unfinished frog.

We want all painters to sign and date the back of their frogs. Something such as, “Love Julie, Georgia USA” or “Peace to you, Tom, Australia” . A Sharpie marker works well. You don’t need to be an accomplished artist to participate. If you have the desire then let your creativity sing! I can send detailed instructions from a real artist (I’m certainly not) as to prepping and painting these guys and the best paints to use.

We feel frogs as a symbol of our caring and love for the Japanese people is appropriate in the aftermath of the disaster. Twenty-seven species of frog are found in Japan. Due to an agricultural economy based on the flooded rice paddy, the presence of frogs is considered to bring good fortune. Additionally, the frog has become a creature much beloved in poetry and art. Ceramic frogs are often sold at shrines as the Japanese word for ‘frog’ is the same as ‘to return’.

It will takes years for their country and their lives to return to any amount of normalcy. We hope a little frog, carried in a pocket or kept safely on a shelf, will bring a little compassion and hope to a child.

If you’d like to join in our discussion about horses, art or just about anything, you can find us here:

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/tbbp/

One of my most precious things was crafted by a couple of artists in this special group. That’s my girl! Now… let’s get to painting!

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OK gang we have 1 week left in the shelter challenge let’s make it count and get that $1,000 grant. Keep on voting until 3/20. We need your votes every day from every computer. The final week of the challenge has always proven to have upsets because people dig in and really amp up the voting we need to do this to. Voting details below tell everyone you know to get those vot4es in for Seminole County Animal Services.

Vote for Seminole County Animal Services in the Shelter Challenge and help us win a grant for our animals: http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/clickToGive/shelterchallenge.faces?siteId=3 Voting is super simple, free and no registration is required. Just click on the above link and scroll down to the purple box. In the “Shelter Name” field, type in Seminole County Animal Services. Next select Sanford and FL then hit “Search” and click on “Vote.” Confirm your vote by typing the name of the animal that pops up. It only takes about 10 seconds, and the grant will go a long way in helping the animals at Animal Services.

Please vote in memory of our boy, Blinky, a Seminole County Animal Services alumni.

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From Wence We Came

This past week has been spent getting Cass used to our saddle. She’s done exceptionally well and we get closer each day to me being up in that saddle! This is our practice saddle. I got it cheap off Ebay just for training. It’s a treeless saddle which is not the norm, so it may look a little different. But then we’ve done most things differently! The treeless I really want is expensive so that will have to wait. The first day I took the saddle on and off several times while she stood still. We did this under the barn shed where there’s more room to give her space if she did spook. She was fine. The next day we came into the barn where saddling will happen to see how she handled that. She was fine.

I had her walk the pasture a bit to get the feel of the stirrups hitting her. She was fine.

We got a trot going for a while and again she was perfectly fine! She kept flexing her head and touching the stirrups even when I didn’t ask her to. I moved the stirrups back and forth and up and down. I slapped my hand on top of the saddle to make noise and contact. My girl was fine.

In Eva’s opinion we’re taking waaaaay too long with all this desensitizing nonsense. She’s ready to ride now!

“Where’s that horse when I want her?!”

There is a definite reason for my caution with Cass. If you remember her story (or maybe you’re a new reader and don’t know it) Cass was a broodmare at a ranch in Canada before coming to us. The ranch had been one of the biggest PMU ranches in the area for many years. Don’t know the term PMU? Do a google search for Premarin and PMU mares please. Basically it’s ranching pregnant mares urine for use in the women’s health industry. The urine is high in estrogen and has been used for decades to treat menopause. If you or someone you love takes this hormone please do some research – it’s not a safe drug, not to mention the thousands of horses abused and killed by the industry.

This is Cassidy the night she arrived in February 2008 after a 3,000 mile trek on a semi from Alberta, Canada. She’s 9 months pregnant and was the only horse in the load of 20 not to have a halter on. Meant they couldn’t get one on her!

Now I don’t know for certain that Cass was ever used in the “pee barns”. She’s probably not even the fjordhorse I was supposed to get. We feel strongly the mare we’d picked wound up in California and we got the girl that was supposed to go there. Never have gotten verification but things just didn’t match up. Anyway it doesn’t matter who she was, it only matters who she is now.

Cass was definitely scared and ready to run at any little thing when we started getting to know her. In Canada if Cass was simply turned out with the herd, she was in a herd of over 200 horses. She was treated like livestock – not a horse, not a horse that mattered anyway. They also raise horses for meat in Canada… really. So Cass was right in not feeling safe, she was most likely slaughter-bound if we hadn’t bought her. Leslie Rush (http://partnerup.net/) was out the first week to begin training because I sure didn’t know what I was doing!

Here you can see Leslie takes her time in allowing Cass to understand the halter is no big thing. She watches for the most subtle signs from Cass to know when to take the pressure away. Pressure being showing her and touching her with the scary halter. Leslie simply being near her at this point was pressure. My girl’s come a long way!

I knew enough to know I didn’t want anyone to “cowboy” this girl. I got this horse to have a relationship and a relationship is what we were going to build. Leslie uses natural horsemanship methods and began teaching me about pressure and more importantly the release of pressure.

It’s hard not to fall in love with this horse! Cass, Becca & I have had the pleasure to spend months at Leslie’s farm and it’s been invaluable. We’re so fortunate in our 3 years together to have found trainers that not only have become friends but who understood how things needed to be. Leslie & Gary we are forever indebted to both of you. Thank you for all your patience and allowing us to learn from you.

So, for me to be able to put a saddle on my girl and trot around a pasture with her is a big deal. She and I have a bond that’s going to allow us to tackle just about anything, as long as we do it together and do it in our own time.

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