We are excited to introduce our newest session horse! Quinn is a red Appendix Quarter horse, meaning he’s part quarter horse and part thoroughbred. He will turn four on March 18, 2018. After being rescued and raised by a similar ministry (Stormhaven Youth Ranch in Kentucky), he was trained by Tiffany Rowe, 3-Star Parelli Professional, with his first ride and many subsequent rides put on him by her children. At age three, Quinn, (originally named Biscuit*), was ready to find his “forever home.” We are thrilled to offer him just that, here**!
Since he was rescued shortly after birth Quinn isn’t burdened with negative baggage and has no fear of humans. Inquisitive, confident, playful, affectionate, and sweet, we expect Quinn will be a favorite among the youth, just as he already is among the volunteers that have met him. Still quite young, he needs further development, but he has had a fantastic start! We’re excited to watch him mature and bloom!
We want to share Quinn’s rescue story. Here it is, in the words of the beautiful soul responsible for rescuing him.
Biscuit, Gravy, Whisper, and Nestle
Written by Gaye Cox of Stormhaven Youth Ranch
One of the tragic byproducts of the horse “industry” and seldom talked about, is the nurse mare foal. They are just a means to an end, and therefore thrown away as lesser horses, having no registration, nor value. Nurse mares are surrogate moms for more valuable foals and are shipped across the country to Thoroughbred, Saddlebred, Standardbred, etc. farms each year as needed to raise a foal for a valuable broodmare who, in order to produce a baby a year, must have her baby removed so she can be bred again, or in some instances, would normally raise her foal, but is unable.
But, in order for the nurse mare to have milk, she must have her own foal. So part of the deal is that the mares are returned pregnant, to start the cycle over again. Some of these babies are sired by a champion stud, some by the teaser pony. But that doesn’t matter, since most are destroyed at birth if no adoption is available.
I know this, because I had adopted a Thoroughbred broodmare from a local farm who had been bred 9 years in a row, worn out and was a nervous wreck. When we loaded her, Nestle assumed she was being taken to be bred, and within seconds broke out in a sweat, even before we pulled out of the driveway. She has since settled into a calm, sweet partner for the children of the ranch. Her cribbing addiction, “windsucking”, which gives her a momentary high, has actually been a doorway to some of the children’s hearts who have experienced addiction in their families. She struggles with ulcers, and that has also been a connection for many who are struggling with stress.
A few years later, I got a call from the Humane Society, asking me to take two orphan foals from a local nurse mare farm. They weren’t set up to take them yet and were looking for adoptive ranches. The farmer was willing to sell a few. After all, it was a business to him.
Biscuit was the first to arrive. He was tiny, but muscular. His mama was named Rosie and was a favorite because of her gentle disposition. When they opened the trailer, he was lying in the front in a pile of hay, not being able to stand for the journey, only a few days old. Placing our hands on his tiny rump and chest, we led him to the stall. He was a sorrel, strong and a good eater, guzzling his milk from his bucket, so I named him Biscuit, after my favorite movie, “Seabiscuit”. I was in love. But they said a single newborn would struggle to survive alone, and I wanted him to have every chance, so of course I said yes to another.
This time I went to the farm myself. The next one to be born was a grey/brown gruella color, with curly hair. The little girl with me asked what I had named the first one. I told her, “Biscuit”. She smiled and said, “Well, then this must be Gravy. He looks like gravy.” So Gravy he was. The two were inseparable. The entire two years we had them, they slept on top of each other in the same stall. It was March in Kentucky and the weather was crazy. They couldn’t be put with adult horses for a few months so we were to be their mamas. Their feedings had to be warm formula mixed at the house and walked down to the barn every 2 hours. And then I got another call.
This one was adopted already, a 3 week old filly. The lady who had taken her in was struggling with health issues and couldn’t handle the care of this little one. The first thing I noticed was a perfect white cross on her forehead. I knew she had a special job here one day, so I named her Whisper of God. At first Mike and I did all the nightly feedings, but when exhaustion set in, the volunteers started coming out of the woodwork. Families came to help. One family took over the 2 a.m. feeding so we could sleep. They parked in the grass and while the mom came into our kitchen and prepared the formula, the kids slept in their van. Everyone was mesmerized by these sweet foals. They were handled at each feeding and each time the barn doors opened, we heard tiny high pitched whinnies and saw little velvet noses trying to look over the stall door. It wasn’t all fun and games, though. The weather was cold and nasty and the foals developed “scours”, an infection common to these foals. Antibiotic pills had to be ground and added to the milk and the diarrhea cleaned from their tiny bums and flag tails each feeding. Warm water was added to the hauling and precious ladies meticulously worked hard in helping us keep these little ones going.
Well, 2 hr. feedings quickly became 4, then 6, then 8. The foals grew. Their daily romps in the new spring grass include speed racing and learning how to be a horse. Learning to eat grass instead of dirt and wood was tricky, which is common to all foals. They had to learn basic horse rules that mama would have taught them, such as personal space, no biting, how to go in and out without arguing, and of course, the “never kick Mama.” Our solution for that one was carrying an empty bucket with you and as you protect your space and see a kick coming, letting them hit the bucket once or twice. This seemed to take care of that one quickly. Orphan foals can become dangerous quickly if they are not taught their boundaries. Many people spoil them and then create a monster. Parelli Natural Horsemanship and the advice of our friend, Tiffany Rowe, a professional trainer taught us how to safely raise these little ones. Every moment with a horse is training. Consistency is vital. The days turned into months. They were weaned, and gently handled. At 2 years they were started with a rider and it was as natural to climb on their back as if they had done it all along. Tiffany encouraged us to pass them on to new homes, as we were short on space and grazing, and had our hands full with the ranch sessions. It was hard to let them go. But just as you raise kids to leave, we needed them to find their potential and bless more lives. They had definitely blessed many here at Stormhaven. We will forever be grateful to God for the opportunity to rescue these babies. You know, the milk expense was huge for a little ranch like ours. But God ended up totally covering the cost. Sometimes you just have to say, “Yes,” and watch Him carry you through.
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will act.” Psalm 37:5
Thank you, Tiffany Rowe and Dr. Ryan Wonderlich and all the families who sacrificed themselves for the foals and families of Stormhaven. God bless you.
*More often than not, for various reasons, we rename the horses that come to Achaius Ranch. We tend to choose Celtic or Gaelic names. The meaning of the name Quinn is intelligent, wise, or counselor.
**Like Iago and Merlyn, Quinn was purchased and is owned (and his expenses are paid) by the McCullohs, primarily for the benefit of the youth program at Achaius Ranch.