Horse Books to Read: “Nobody’s Horses”

Nobody's Horses

Filled with history and heroism, adventure and rivalry, and, ultimately, the alliances between horses and people, Nobody’s Horses will stir the emotions and imagination of horse lovers, humanitarians, and anyone who loves an uplifting tale of second chances.

Descended from the greatest horses of the American West, the wild horses living on the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico were national treasures and living legends.

But in 1994, after years of suffering through periodic droughts, food shortages, and all the dangers accompanying life on a military weapons–testing site, scores of horses suddenly died. And almost two thousand more were in such dire straits that they were unlikely to survive.

Large-animal veterinarian Don Höglund was called in to organize and lead a team of dedicated cowboys, soldiers, and other professionals in removing the surviving horses and their offspring to safety.

Nobody’s Horses tells the dramatic story of these noble animals’ celebrated history, their defiant survival, and their incredible rescue.

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Link: University of Nebraska Press

Link: Amazon Books

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Wild Horses Saved By Billionaire’s Wife

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Time Running out for Wild Mustangs on Goverment Land

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Recently, news reports hit the papers that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) could no longer afford to feed and house the wild horses and burros in their holding pens while they awaited adoption.

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Wild Horse Adoption Center

The Bureau of Land Management was on the verge of slaughtering 2,000 of the mustangs because they’d not been bought at auction and were too expensive to continue to feed.

Horse Relocation

Now, 33,000 horses live in holding pens, each horse costing $1,500 a year to feed. By law, if they can’t be auctioned or adopted, they are to be slaughtered.

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Recently, the land available to the horses has been drastically reduced by 19 million acres, so the government has had to round up more and more mustangs.

That was until just a few days ago when Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, dramatically stepped in to come to the aid of the animals.

She offered to adopt not only the 2,000 mustangs and burros, but the entire herd of 30,000 unwanted horses that were rounded up by BLM and are kept on federal land.

The BLM agreed to work with Mrs. Pickens to locate an area of federal land that she could rent or purchase for the animals.

In doing so, Mrs. Pickens earned the ABC Person of the Week Award. She is an animal lover and as a horse breeder and a philanthropist, she has always considered that people must be responsible for the care of animals.

“Animals don’t have a voice, and as long as man is their protectorate, we have a responsibility to take care of them,” she said. “We cannot abandon them.”

After her husband gave $7 million to the Red Cross to help Hurricane Katrina victims, she wanted to help the animal victims, too.

“I managed to hire an airliner, a cargo airliner and I went on my first trip down to Baton Rouge and we picked up 200 dogs,” she said. “I think we got about 800 dogs and cats out to California and Colorado and got them adopted out.”

So when Pickens heard that thousands of wild mustangs might be euthanized, she wouldn’t sit still for it.

“Our wild mustang must be our national treasure. We must not be slaughtering it,” Pickens said. “The horses have no natural predator. Their only predator is mankind, when we do the wrong thing.”

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Wild horses, which date back to the time of the Spanish conquistadors, roam free on federal land in 10 western states and share that land with herds of cattle.

“Can you imagine somebody suggesting that you euthanize 30,000 horses? It was abominable,” said Pickens, who lives in Dallas and has a ranch in the Texas panhandle and a home near San Diego. “That will never happen.”

“If all these cattlemen have access to all this BLM land, what if I bought a ranch and I can get access to the BLM land and then we shared it,” Pickens said of her plan.

“They can have their land and we’ll have ours for our horses. This way, I can create a sanctuary and we can take in all the horses that are homeless so that no one will ever be turned away.”

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Pickens said she is in negotiations to buy about 1 million acres for her wild mustang sanctuary in the West, a land mass slightly larger than Rhode Island. And it will be a place where anyone can go and see these wild horses running wild.

“I think a lot of people would love the opportunity to go and see what America’s really like, to see our true heritage, which is the wild horses.”

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With the generous rescue plan from Mrs. Pickens and two other rescue organizations, the wild mustangs and wild burros got the intervention they so desperately needed … and just in time.

~~~

Re-written from news sources:

Website: Madeleine Pickens’ Project

Link: ABC: Pickens Person of the Week

Link: The US News and World Report

Bo Derek Appointed to Calif. Horse Racing Board

 

Bo Derek, animal rights activist

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California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has named animal lover Bo Derek to the seven-member California Horse Racing Board, which oversees all of the state’s racing and betting action.

The 1980s-era movie star attended her first meeting at Del Mar Racetrack, near San Diego. The post, which was confirmed by the state Senate, pays $100 per day, maybe enough for extra oats for her own stable full of Iberian horses.

Derek, who has been lobbying Congress for the past five years to ban the slaughter of wild horses, could hardly have found a more suitable role.

In addition to being a spokeswoman for the Animal Welfare Institute, in 2002 she penned the memoir Riding Lessons: Everything That Matters in Life I Learned from Horses.

Bo Derek is the founder of her own line of fine pet-care products, Bless the Beasts.

Bo Derek has been active in many capacities for the protection of animals. In addition to her work on the Galapagos Conservancy, she serves on a number of boards, including WildAid, which is trying to stop the illegal wildlife trade.

Bo Derek was also appointed Special Envoy of the Secretary of State for Wildlife Trafficking.

She has taken up the cause of stopping the slaughter of horses in the United States for food export to Europe and testified before Congress with the National Horse Protection Coalition.

With her commitment to animal rights and here love of horses, Bo Derek is well chosen to serve as a watchdog for the much needed protection of horses at the race tracks.

 

Oldest Horse Charity In The World

Home of Rest For Horses
Britain ~ 1886 ~ Today

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In the 19th century, life for the majority of working horses on the streets of London was appalling.

On 10 May 1886 Miss Ann Lindo, inspired by the book ‘Black Beauty’ and determined to do something about it, set up a home of rest for horses, mules and donkeys at a farm at Sudbury, near Harrow, North-West London.

Fittingly its first resident was an overworked London cab horse.

Among the supporters of the new Society was HRH Prince Albert and before long the Duke of Portland, Master of the Royal Household, agreed to become president.

The role of horse as a working animal has changed radically over the past 120 years. No longer do we see cab horses, delivery drays, working pit ponies or the great Shire horses bending to the plough.

Pit Pony

The Home of Rest for Horses’ residents are today drawn from the ranks of those serving their masters in different ways – the mounted police force, the mounted Army regiments, the Royal Mews, Riding for the Disabled, the Horse Rangers Association – and very occasionally a retired race horse, a polo pony or just a much loved family pet.

Set amongst the rolling Chiltern Hills, The Horse Trust’s Home of Rest for Horses caters for the retirement needs of over 100 horses, donkeys and ponies.

Their smaller relatives are also represented – Shetland ponies, donkeys and hinnies – and, of course, the occasional sad case of a neglected pony which requires urgent rehoming and very special care to restore it to health.

It is home to over 100 animals from all over the country, ranging from rescued ponies to retired drum horses from the Household Cavalry.

The residents at the stables share 200 acres of pristine paddocks and loose boxes in the Chiltern Hills, receiving the loving attention they deserve throughout their final years.

Once accepted into the sanctuary of the Horse Trust’s Home of Rest for Horses, they will remain at the sanctuary for the rest of their days.

Three large Shire horses have just arrived to enjoy their well-earned retirement with The Horse Trust.

Jim, at 19hh, is the biggest horse ever to come to The Trust’s Home of Rest for Horses. He arrived along with Tom and Tryfan.

Jim and Tom worked for many years for the Whitbread brewery as dray horses delivering the beer to local hostelries.

Only a month ago, two Shires, “Rosie” and “Duchess”,  joined their former stablemates, “Jim”, “Tom” and “Tryfan” at the Horse Trust’s Home of Rest in Buckinghamshire.

Owner Kay Parry said: “The horses have been part of our lives for more than 10 years. They are precious to us and have been a delight to hundreds of people.

“We are so grateful to The Horse Trust for continuing to keep them where they can continue to enjoy visitors and for providing the care and kindness for the horses in their later years.”

Among The Residents

Leonidus

This magnificent 17 hand, piebald, shire gelding was owned by the army for 18 years. A former military drum horse Leo was used for ceremonial occasions and regularly paraded at Trooping the Colour at Horse Guards Parade. Leo, born in 1982, joined fellow ex-drum horse, Janus at The Trust’s rest home in 2004.

Janus

Janus arrived at Speen in July 2001 from The Household Cavalry based at Hyde Park Barracks in Knightsbridge. Born in 1984 this 17.2 hand, skewbald gelding joined the army in 1989 and spent many years in service as a drum horse for the Blues and Royals. Janus and Leonidas enjoy grazing together in the tranquility and sanctuary of the Chiltern Hills.

Constantine

The Horse Trust is delighted to welcome its third drum horse to the sanctuary in Speen. Constantine, a 17.1 hh Clydesdale, served the Household Cavalry for 20 years and during that time paraded ten times at Trooping of the Colour.

This 23 year old gelding joins ex drum horses Janus and Leonidas who both retired to the Home a number of years ago.

Stevie

Stevie, an 11.3 hand white donkey, has recently joined our family of donkeys at the Home. This 30 year old cuddly newcomer is already attracting a lot of attention from visitors to the yard. He is very friendly and enjoys tons of love and affection.

Just Otto

Simply known as Otto this 17 hand black gelding arrived from The Royal Mews at Windsor Castle in 2004. Born in 1984 Otto won the Queen’s Cup twice and enjoyed eventing at Blenheim. Now teamed up with old stable mate Lancelot Otto has settled well into his new life in the Chiltern Hills.

Fagin

Fagin, a stunning 18.1 hand grey gelding has been reunited with old friends Dawkins and Cratchit from the Greater Manchester Mounted Police. Fagin was beginning to suffer a significant loss of sight in both of his eyes and has retired early from his duties with the police. He is an exceptional character and an adored addition to the herd.

Thomas

Thomas is a little black bundle of fun who is approximately 36 inches high.  This adorable Shetland pony, with a slightly greying muzzle, struts around his field with his head held high and has made many best friends in the short time he has been here – both human and horse!

Sefton

Sefton who retired from the Household Cavalry in Knightsbridge in 2005 is the nominal successor of a famous predecessor. The Home gave sanctuary over twenty years ago to Sefton, the horse that suffered multiple injuries at the hands of the IRA after the Hyde Park bombing on 20th July 1982. The ‘new’ Sefton is a striking 16.2 hand black gelding who was born in 1987.

 

A Safe Haven …

The Horse Trust manages the Home of Rest for Horses.  This sanctuary is funded solely by donations and legacies and provides lifetime care for more than 100 retired working horses, ponies and donkeys.

The Home of Rest for Horses ‘focus of charitable duty now extends far beyond providing a safe haven for elderly horses, ponies and donkeys.

Never losing touch with that core objective, it now embraces a wider agenda which priorities welfare, science and education and has therefore  re-named the charity “The Horse Trust”.

Website:   “The Horse Trust ~ Home of Rest for Horses”

What If Your Horse Is Stolen?

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Debi Metcalfe reunited with
her stolen horse “Idaho”.

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If your horse is stolen go directly to:
Stolen Horse International at
NetPosse.com

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A Shelby, North Carolina  woman
has made it her mission to find stolen horses.

Debi Metcalfe and her husband, Harold, lost a family member. Their horse, Idaho, was horse-napped, in broad day light from their pasture.

A year later, they found Idaho in Tennessee.

This is how Stolen Horse International and NetPosse.com was born and has now celebrated over 10 years of success.

The website has Idaho Alerts which are similar to AMBER Alerts for missing children where members are alerted when a horse, tack or even trailers are stolen.

An estimated 40,000 horses are stolen each year in the United States.

During the Metcalfes’ search, someone set up a Web space for the couple and after finding their horse, they decided to help out other people on the Web. That’s how her site NetPosse.com was started.

“We got so much help, I thought I owed it back,” she said.

Since founding her organization, Debi has written a book and been part of television news stories, newspaper and magazine articles and her expertise was used on Fox’s “America’s Most Wanted” in August.

She appeared as the cover story on The Gaited Horse magazine in an edition that sold out and was most recently featured on “Weekend America,” a Public Broadcasting radio show.

We do a lot more than stolen horses,” Debi said. “That’s how we were started, but we do so much more now.”

Her priority is working with people whose horses are missing first. That comes ahead of fundraising and other functions.

“We try to stress that even if the horse is not found alive and well, it’s better to know than have questions,” she said.

Inspiration … Debi has empathy for the people she helps.

On the NetPosse site is a list of stolen or missing horses across the United States. Also included are photos, dates and current status.

Below are just two of the many horses that have been stolen. 
For complete listings:  Click here:

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Stolen:  LPS Mr. Jalapeno
Bay Morgan Gelding Missing in California suspected to be in Arizona – Feb. 6, 2007

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Stolen:
Valentino
Fleabitten Grey Arabian Gelding Stolen after dark from Therapy Progam in Newton County, Georgia – Feb. 3, 2008

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If you have a horse that has been stolen or strangely disappeared, do not hesitate.  Contact NetPosse.com immediately.

If you recognize the horses pictured above, click on the name of the horse for more information.

It takes everyone working together to keep our horses safe and in their own homes.

 

Graceland To Be Home For Rescued Horses Adopted By Priscilla Presley

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Rescued Horse, Max

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To keep the spirit alive as it was in Elvis’ time, there will always be horses at Graceland.

Max arrived at the estate Jan. 10 — two days after what would have been Elvis Presley’s 73rd birthday.

He will never be able to thank Priscilla Presley for adopting him and giving him a new home.  She also adopted his brother, Merlin, who will arrive at Graceland in the spring.

Max will never be able to thank Carol-Terese Naser of Palermo, Maine for saving his life.

Then again, Max is a 3-year-old bay horse.

It all began like this:

Max and his brother, Merlin, a magnificent chocolate-colored creature, were scheduled to be slaughtered — along with four other horses in their family in Quebec — last summer.

Naser, who has had horses of her own since she was a child, stepped into action and rescued all six horses with just days to spare.

“If we hadn’t done this when we did, they’d all be long gone,” said Naser.

Naser and her friend Cathy Cleaveland found out soon enough that it wasn’t easy — or cheap — to care for six horses.  So they decided to start fundraising.

“We sent T-shirts to celebrities we knew were passionate about animals,” Cleaveland said. “We requested they autograph the shirt, then send it back. We were going to auction them.”

Country crooner Alan Jackson, former Catwoman Julie Newmar and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” host Ty Pennington, among others, signed and sent back the shirts for auction, Naser said.

And then came a phone call  from Priscilla Presley that would change Max’s and Merlin’s lives.

An animal lover, Presley told the women she wanted to adopt Max and Merlin to give them a permanent home at Graceland, the nearly 14-acre spread, 23-room mansion in Memphis that Elvis shared with Priscilla and their daughter.

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Graceland

“I have always had a bond with horses,” Presley said in a telephone interview. “Elvis gave me my very first horse. It was the horses that made Graceland home to us.”

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Presley, who called herself “the kid who had to rescue all the animals” growing up, said that when she received the T-shirt from Naser and Cleaveland, the story of the near-slaughter struck her.

“It haunted me,” Presley said. “I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to do that.”

Presley, who called Naser’s saving act “an unbelievable labor of love,” said it is her desire to educate people about horse slaughter, including spreading the word to permanently ban the practice.

“Max and Merlin are a symbol of horses who escaped the slaughter,” she said.

They will live out their lives at Graceland for all to know the value of horses in our lives.

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Elvis Presley bought his first horses in 1966.  The first horses to come to Graceland were Christmas gifts for Priscilla and some of Elvis’ friends. They were Tennessee Walkers.

Elvis soon bought more horses – and then trucks and trailers – for his friends and bodyguards.

Priscilla remembers playfully, “It didn’t matter if you wanted one or not, you were getting a horse!”

The stable at Graceland was called “House of the Rising Sun” after Elvis’ own horse, a Quarter horse.

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Elvis on Rising Sun

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Ebony’s Double ~ Tenneessee Walker
Priscilla Presley’s Horse

Elvis sought solace in his land and his horses. Priscilla recalls, “In the morning right after breakfast he was out riding.”

The year 2007 marked the 30th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death.  The sound of hoofbeats has never faded from his home.

Graceland now includes the beauty of two rescued horses.

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News Link: 

Spare The Horses

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Christine Hajek, founder of Gentle Giants
Draft Horse Rescue, gets a nuzzle from Jonas.

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Christine Hajek fell in love with her first draft horse when she met Elijah, a Belgian gelding, at an auction in August 2001 and brought him home.

But Hajek, who grew up on a horse-breeding farm, had been mesmerized by the huge horses raised for plowing and farm labor ever since she rode one years earlier.

“I loved the gait, I loved the size and I loved the feel,” said Hajek, 34, who is an Anne Arundel County firefighter. “They’re so broad across the back that they give you a real sense of security. They move slowly. Anything they do is kind of in slow motion.”

It was Elijah that gave her the idea to form Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue, a nonprofit operation specifically tailored to draft horses — and turn a hobby into an obsession.

“He ended up being a perfect horse — totally flawless in every way,” she said.

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That one horse has turned into 21 at the 42-acre Woodbine farm in Mount Airy, Maryland where she lives with her husband, Jamie McIntosh.

Hajek estimates that she and her husband have rescued more than 60 draft horses since then — most of them within the past two years.

“They work hard, they’ve seen everything, so they’re not afraid of anything,” she said.

Once she brings horses home, she spends an average of two months with them before they are adopted.

“I might be sad for a couple days, and I might cry really hard when I drop them off,” she said. “But mostly, I’m happy for them.”

The horses she’s rescued are now scattered around the United States, with adoptees in California, New York, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, she said.

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Recently, Dick Dodson, 72, from Boyds, who recently took up riding again after a 20-year hiatus, visited Hajek’s farm to meet a horse named Texas that he’d seen on the Gentle Giants Web site.

“The attraction for the drafts is that they’re very calm, they’re sure-footed, and they don’t spook easily,” he said. “I want something that’s bomb-proof. I don’t want to get hurt on a horse.”

He was drawn to Texas because of the chocolate-colored Belgian’s background as a carriage horse that had done some plowing for an Amish farmer.

“I might ride that horse bareback,” Dodson said. “This horse has a very gentle disposition.”

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The Gentle Giants dog, Bug, hangs out at Tristan’s feet.

Not only can people adopt horses from Hajek; they can also ride. She caters mostly to adults and a few children of adults who ride there.

Saving draft horses is a passion that costs her money, she acknowledges. She only wishes she could save more.

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“I’m passionate about draft horses,” Hajek said. “The bigger the better.

I just want everyone to know how incredible they are.”

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Link: Gentle Giants Rescue

What to do about Edith Ann

Edith Ann is a fixture at Golden Gate National Park.
But some say she needs to be put down.

MILL VALLEY, CALIF. — Edith Ann pokes her head shyly from inside a horse stall on a hilly tract of national parkland here. Volunteer Susana Ives rattles a bag of snacks and the petite 28-year-old mare nods hungrily.“She can still hear a raisin bag at 50 yards,” said Ives, stroking the docile brown quarter horse, who would be about 84 in human years. “Does this look like a horse at death’s door? Not to me.”

For decades, Edith Ann has been a loyal beast of burden at Golden GateNational Park, traversing steep Marin County trails without complaint. She’s adored both by park visitors and the volunteers who ride horseback on the park’s security patrol.

But now Edith Ann has developed ringbone, a painful arthritis in her left foreleg that often makes her limp and favor her other legs. She also has laminitis, the same debilitating hoof inflammation suffered by the Kentucky Derby-winning racehorse Barbaro.

On a veterinarian’s advice, the park decided this month to put the beloved horse down. That’s when a handful of volunteers began pressuring officials to consider alternatives such as treatment and relocation to a private stable.

Hours before the scheduled euthanasia, Supt. Brian O’Neill — who manages a swath of Bay Area national parkland, including the Presidio — opted for a regimen of steroids he hopes will ease Edith Ann’s pain and make her more mobile.Ives and others have called the move a “stay of execution.

The case has generated emotional debate over how to gauge an animal’s pain and know when to put it to sleep, as well as whether it is right to prolong a creature’s life in order to postpone the heartbreak of saying goodbye.

Ives says park officials need a retirement program — to care for scores of aging horses under their management — like one run by San Francisco police.“These horses have been in service their whole lives. But as soon as they’re no longer useful, their options are limited,” she said. “They should be cared for as long as they live, not just as long as they work. Not just put down like an old pickup truck.”

Frustrated park officials could still be forced to euthanize Edith Ann in a few months if her pain persists. But O’Neill said it’s important volunteers know that everything possible is being done.“Sometimes, you assign human traits and feelings to animals,” he said. “You think a horse intellectualizes things the same way you do, and that’s simply not the case.

But getting people with an emotional attachment to accept that is difficult.Volunteers say they’re not against euthanasia when appropriate. “We felt the plan to put Edith Ann down was moving along too quickly,” said Kim Bullock. “We were looking for a new home for Edith Ann when they announced they were going to euthanize her the very next day.”

The campaign to save the horse has caused tension among volunteers at the park’s TennesseeValley stable, where four patrol horses are housed.Joel Kimmel, who donated Edith Ann to the park, believes she has suffered enough. “I’m in favor of letting her pass on,” he said, his voice breaking. “Keeping her going doesn’t give her the dignity she deserves. We should let her go free.”

Though nobody knows for sure, most people assume Edith Ann was named after Lily Tomlin’s character from “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” — the little girl in the oversized rocker who was famous for saying: “And that’s the truth.”

Kimmel said the horse was still a feisty filly when she was given to his two daughters decades ago. As a park horse, Edith Ann was used to introduce inner-city children to animals, he said. Kimmel donated her when he lost his lease at the adjacent stable where she was kept.

Edith Ann’s health woes began a year ago. “I was riding her up a hill and suddenly she just stopped, as though she was saying, ‘I don’t think I can do this anymore,’ ” Ives said.

Her limp worsened. “You know when a horse is uncomfortable and, yeah, this horse is uncomfortable,” said volunteer Harvey Smith. “Problem is, we can’t talk to the patient.”Carrie Schlachter, the veterinarian treating Edith Ann, said horses instinctively do not show pain. “The eons have bred into them not to show pain or weakness or a predator would pick them out of a herd,” she said.

Moving the horse to a new stable could cause other problems, she said. “This poor old girl worked for them for how long? And now they’re going to uproot her? Some horses become traumatized by that.”

The steroids have between a 30% and 50% chance of success, said Schlachter. “It’s tough. If they put Edith Ann down, people will say they didn’t do enough. If they don’t, they’ll complain she’s in too much pain.”The park service keeps 70 horses and plans to expand riding and education programs. Officials say they also want to develop an animal retirement program. “We don’t have a policy on the treatment of these animals,” O’Neill said. “We could have handled Edith Ann better.”Confined to her stall during treatment, Edith Ann gets many visits from volunteers, who say they plan to bring her a radio for company. They also want to line the stall with get-well cards from area students.A photo of Edith Ann, taken at her birthday party a few years back, hangs in a nearby office. Her coal-black mane is laced with blue and pink ribbons. Volunteers baked her a carrot cake.

Her stall has a small window that looks into the adjoining one housing Steel, a gelding who notes Edith Ann’s every move.

“Steel is obsessed with her,” said Ives, who runs a local communications firm. “She’s such a flirt. She likes to be outside where all the boys can see her.”

For now, Ives hopes for the best for her Edith Ann.

“On paper, this looks clean-cut, but I know this animal and it isn’t,” she said. “She hasn’t told me she’s done.”

She softly brushed Edith Ann’s legs. “What a sweet girl,” she whispered. “You’re a beautiful girl, aren’t you?”

Los Angeles Times, By John M. Glionna, Times Staff Writer, Feb. 2007

My opinion: 
I’d like to see Edith Ann comfortably live out her life in her familiar shelter surrounded by her friends.  That is what my gelding did and he lived five years longer than expected. He said his good-bye at the age of 30 … at home with me by his side.  I’d like the same for Edith Ann.

What is your opinion?