Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Busy, Busy Month of July

The summer is whizzing by at Watermark Farm, and everyone, both two- and four-legged, is having adventures.

Katie, our newest foster horse brought to us by the Sonoma CHANGE Program (, has had some first rides and a trip to a local show. Katie is the friendliest, most level-headed horse! She looks more like a warmblood than a Thoroughbred. Although Katie is only track-broke, she rides reasonably well and has a soft mouth.

Katie's favorite pastime is to have little girls decorate her:

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My first time on Katie's back. She's one mellow girl, so it was quite pleasant:
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Odie The Mule has had the busiest summer of all. Two weeks ago, Demi and I braved a full day of 102 degree heat to take Odie to a ranch where the Discovery Channel show "MythBusters" was filming a segment related to "horse myths." One was "If you lead a horse to water, you cannot make them drink." Watching them film this interesting show was quite humorous. They are earnest in their attempt to be as scientific as possible.

Their second experiment was to take both a horse and a mule and see if either would follow a carrot tied to a stick, the way you see in cartoons. Again, their efforts were both humorous as well as sweet. It was hard to stop laughing at times, which is difficult when the sound lady is giving you her death look.

Here, Odie gets to meet one of the hosts, who is dressed for the occasion. Odie was VERY interested in such a large carrot:
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Two of the show hosts, along with the director and cameraman, prepare to film a segment where they ask Odie to follow a carrot on a stick:
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Did Odie follow the carrot on the stick? When the show airs in a few months (I will post a date), you will find out.
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Yesterday, Demi and Odie competed at the Sonoma County Fair horse show. They had a great day, placing 1st in Hunter Hack, 2nd in 2'6" Hunters, 2nd in Equitation Over Fences, and 5th in Jumpers, all against large classes of about 15 kids! Demi was elated at the end of the day to find out that she'd won Reserve High Point --- all on a mule!
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Argus is doing so well! He had his second appointment with Dr. Guyton, the chiropractor, who was all smiles when she discovered that he had IMPROVED chiropractically since her last visit, maintaining movement in his pelvis!! Argus cooperated nicely for the work (no small feat considering this horse was fearful of human touch eight months ago), and fell asleep after his adjustment. Later that evening, out in the dark, I heard muffled horsey footsteps. A big flashlight revealed their source: Argus was cantering beautiful, balanced circles out in the pasture, all by himself, like a hunter going through its paces.

Argus is finally gaining weight. I've figured out a routine: Bring everybody in from the pasture at night, put out 8 flakes of good hay, and let Argus eat all night. He's relaxed enough in the pasture to eat, and he free-feeds that way. I think he's gained about 50 pounds.

The feeling never gets old. I look out at Argus and watch him race through the pasture, and I am filled with emotion. I hug him while I give him his evening grain, and the look of gratitude in his eyes makes me cry. I comfort him while he bravely submits to farriers, vets, and chiropractors, despite some fear of it all, and I am overwhelmed by his continuing trust of people. To see and be with Argus is to experience a simple kind of joy that we often overlook in our complex lives.

Welcome to Cayenne!!

Cayenne is a 19-year-old Thoroughbred gelding who was sold at auction to a slaughter buyer and landed at a feedlot, awaiting his trip to a Canadian slaughterhouse. A friend saved his life and brought him to Watermark Farm last Monday. He's an ex-racehorse, and has the manners of a southern gentleman, but he's a sad soul who's not seen much care in recent years. Cayenne's tail was matted into one huge dreadlock that started at his tail bone and went to the ground. It could not be untangled, so his tail had to be cut off.

At age 19, it's amazing, but, we read his lip tattoo and were able to find out who he is. His Jockey Club name is "Mac Attack," and he is a former stakes racer. Where he has been between age 4 and 19 is anybody's guess. He's sound and rideable. Cayenne will be available for adoption once he's been fully assessed --- probably in about 6 weeks.

Poor Cayenne looks a bit dedraggled. His body has many scratches and scrapes from his precarious existence (auction yard, feedlot) over the last few weeks. His spirit is rather sad, so he is getting lots of love, treats and TLC.

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Anonymous said...

I cannot WAIT to see Odie on Mythbusters! I love that show and their sence of adventure and comedy is amazing!

and Horrah for Argus continuing to gain weight. You're doing an amazing job. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Katie, you are a very special person. You continue to take in homeless/neglected horses (and other creatures) and you nurse them back to health/happiness and help to find them a good home. I bet it gets very hard to let them go, when you have to. God Blessed Sonoma County with you. I only wished that your love and compassion would be contagious and all animal owners, would become sincere and nuturing. Humans can be so disappointing.
Patti C., Connecticut

cdncowgirl said...

Great updates. I am so excited to watch Odie on Mythbusters!
And darn you, you brought tears to my eyes again describing another Argus moment... when he was cantering circles in the pasture at night. He is an incredibly special horse. I'll miss reading about him when he finds his forever home, I can't even imagine how hard it will be for you.

kahara said...

I cannot wait to see that episode of Mythbusters! We are avid viewers and love that show. How exciting someone we "know" (LOL!) will be a guest on it.

I'm really glad to hear that Argus is picking up weight and doing well. Poor Cayenne...he does look sad. You are a generous soul to take these unfortunate horses in and work such wonders with them, as well as secure their future.

Anonymous said...


Once again I am moved to laughter, tears, and pure joy! I can't wait to see Odie on Mythbusters!

Argus gaining weight, Hurray!! always when you describe those tender moments with Argus I have tears in my eyes. You are amazing!

God Bless,

fssunnysd said...

Live that giant carrot pic! And congratulations to the Fair goers for bringing home the ribbons. Sounds as if fun was had by all. No need to say that it's wonderful to hear good news about Argus: Cayenne and Katie sound absolutely lovely, and I'm looking forward to hearing more about them, as well.

Susan said...

Odie rocks!!! He is bound and determined to show the world what long ears can do.

I can't believe someone hasn't snapped Katie up, she is a gorgeous horse.

Glad to hear of Argus' continued progress.

Cayenne is going to be stunningly beautiful in a month or so.

Thanks for the updates.

Anonymous said...

Reading about Argus and his adventures moves me to tears everytime. Horses have such amazing ability to forgive and to allow themselves to be loved. We can learn so much from them.

Odie is so adorable! Your daughter is a lucky girl indeed to have the experience of seeing the change that love can bring to the souls that need it.

Allison in Seattle

Miss A said...

Odie is so adorable! And glad to hear Argus is gaining weight again, congrats.

hope4more said...

I just love Odie! Can't wait to see him on Mythbusters. I bet it was hard not to laugh.

Argus is doing so great, I bet it was so great to watch him testing out his cantering skills.

Cayenne has the sadest eyes. You are going to do wonders for him and he is lucky to have you. Poor fellow I want to reach through the computer and give him a great big hug.

barbara said...

Odie certainly does look interested in that'human' carrot - tee hee! How creative of you to feed Argus at night - great great idea and I'm so glad he is able to put on weight. He's got my heart. I look forward to watching Cayenne come to accept a kind and healthy life under your tutelage. Thank you and your family for your work with the animals.

PaintedPromise said...

once again the story of Argus has brought happy tears to my eyes... which then turned sad reading about Cayenne. i have absolute faith, however, that your Cayenne stories will also bring happy tears very soon :)

Pony Girl said...

GO Odie!!!!My horse would have ran from that person in the carrot suit!

That is great Argus is putting on weight! That boy can pack in the hay!

So sad about Cayenne, you can see in his eyes he just wants to be loved. I hope he heals physically and emotionally and is in a new loving home soon!

Anonymous said...

So lovely to hear Argus is doing so well still. Love the story about him cantering circles in the paddock.
Cayenne has such a gentle, kind eye, but as you say it shows his sadness and apprehension.
I know that after a while with you wonderful people he will regain his joy.
PLEASE can we hear more about him very soon. He's very special.
You are doing great stuff.
Judi. Surrey. UK

sunbake said...

I have to ask .... where and how did Odie come to be part of the Watermark Farm family? I've looked through every entry on your blog and Odie seems to have always been here. Would love to know his story.

Great to hear Argus is doing well and Katie also!

Callo said...

Like everyone else, I can't wait for Mythbusters! It'll be so cool to see Odie and be able to tell anyone who watches it with me about you and your wonderful blog. Keep up the great work!