Horses Are Special Too!

Dinkey's New Start

 

Starving Horse that I could not save.
This horse died from
starvation before the
authorities could do anything.

The picture to the left is not Dinkey, but one of the many starving horses that I could not save. My husband and I took this picture to the authorities and turned those people in for animal abuse. This picture gives you an idea of what I was dealing with when I purchased Dinkey.

Dinkey - the horse of my life...may she rest in peace.
Dinkey

The brown horse to the left is Dinkey after I got her looking like a horse again. She might not look all that special to many, but to me, she was the most beautiful horse in the world. Of course, this picture was taken at her new home after I sold her, but it has never stopped the feelings deep within my heart and mind. The love for one horse still lives on today, even though Dinkey is no long with us.

With this in mind, I will admit that I felt sorry for her to say the least. The first thing I did was call the veterinarian to find out just what should be done for Dinkey and why. Even the veterinarian said not to build up hopes of saving her, that she might be too far gone. I'm now glad that I put my all into just one horse to save her life.

Days turned into months, and the veterinarian was sounding more positive with each visit. Dinkey was getting built back up and doing more as a horse should. But it wasn't until the following spring that she actually got up, kicked up her heels and galloped around the pasture. To me, this was the most awesome day of my life and I jumped for joy at the sight. Shouting, "I did it!!! She's kicking up her heels and playing out there!!!!!"

When I first started treating Dinkey though, it was on a day to day basis and there were no promises of her ever getting well. The first thing the veterinarian had me do was feed her a high protein diet to build muscle and get her stronger. Which meant buying special horse food recommended by her veterinarian. The horse chow and grain mixed half and half was to be given four times a day rather than the recommended three times a day for a healthy horse. Her hay had to be mixed with a little alfalfa, just enough for what I would feed my goats that I had at the time. So a wedge of alfalfa with her regular hay.

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The one thing that her veterinarian stressed highly was, "Don't allow her to just lay down and give up. Even if it means staying with her 24 hours a day for a while." So, when the first signs of quitting came, I spent my days and nights with Dinkey in the pasture, because she refused to stay in the barn. Rain or shine, I slept with her in the pasture, coaching her to eat and drink. On rainy days and nights, my husband would bring out a large tarp and create a tent over us. He'd also bring out the air mattress for me to sleep on. Placing it beside Dinkey so that I could stay near her for the coaching she needed. It was mid-spring that year, and it rained every other day.

It seemed like weeks before I could get her to eat on a regular basis, but it was only a few days. But she still refused to walk around or even get up for that matter. With the slightest move of a hand, she'd scare and cower away from me, as though I were going to beat her as her pervious owner had done. With such fear, I wondered just how much she had actually gone through while with those people, but would never know for sure. The day had come for the veterinarian visit again, and this time he checked her for burses and marks from those beatings. And he found them by the dozens. He found welts on her from two by fours and whatever else they picked up to beat her with. But those would have to heal with time, because there was absolutely nothing that could be done for them. Plus, the veterinarian told me to keep up the good work. Dinkey was finally showing signs of gaining weight after 3 months had passed.

At this point, she was beginning to get up and walk some, but not for long. Maybe five minutes at the most, and she was tired. I could now sleep in the house again, but found myself waking up in the night, going to check on her and then going back to bed. The whole summer was spent just loving her and getting her built up to look like a horse again.

My husband had finally completed the shelter in her pasture and she just had to check it out. In and out of it several times a day for the first week. It was a relief to see her finally doing this well. All through the winter I watched her get so she could do more, and it was not an easy task. But the trust still wasn't like it should be and I knew it. I started walking in the pasture with her in mid-December and worked with her until it was to cold to do much of anything. Dinkey still didn't do much running, but at least she was up and moving.

Come February, it was time for the veterinarian visit again. She was now starting to look and act like a horse. With everything the veterinarian checked, she'd protest it awful. That's when he decided that she would be just fine. Yet, my struggle to gain her trust wasn't over. So, I asked him about it. His reply, "Well, don't push the issue too much, but at the same time, let her know that you do care." I was heartbroken.

I continued to do as any horse owner would and did whatever it took to love her. Even if it meant tying her to the post and just petting her face. Short gentle stocks while talking to Dinkey calmly and she was like, "Don't Do that!" But not pushing the issue wasn't helping the matter either, and I knew it would take much more. By early spring, she was beginning to accept the love and petting. By mid-spring, she was starting to follow me around some. By early summer, she was absolutely loving the attention.

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The people who had her before me, had left her un-ridden. So, I had to break her to riding all over. But she did very well, and accepted the idea that I would ride some. But she never got over those fears completely, and the slightest movement that she considered sudden, and she'd jump sideways. Riding Dinkey was a day to day experience that kept you guessing. It might be calm and nice one day, and the next, look out. For this reason, I didn't ask her to go often.

As the relationship grew between Dinkey and myself, I knew that my dear rescue horse needed a home that could better afford to do for her. It was obvious that I could no longer afford to keep her. I had done my job and knew it. But letting her go wouldn't be easy. When I put her up for sale, it was a sad but proud day. She was well and healthy again, and ready to have a home that could do better by her.

Several people came to look at her, and laughed when they sew her. One even told me that Dinkey was the ugliest horse they had ever seen. Needless to say, when they handed me the money, I refused it. Several days had passed without one person coming. Then came this kind looking man and his wife. Looking for a horse that could be loved and not ridden. Wow! Just my kind of people. But I did my usual screening anyway, and told them I'd let them know after my husband and I had a chance to talk. With no others to come look at Dinkey, we decided to sell her to this man and his wife. So, I called them to let them know.

Two days later, right on schedule, they came to pay for Dinkey and take her home. I asked if it would be okay to visit her at least once a week and they agreed. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship and I didn't realize it at that time. The following week, I went to visit Dinkey.

When I got to their farm, it was like Dinkey had it made. And she did by all rights. I knew that I had made the right choice and was very please with what I sew. All the while they were showing me her living quarters, the area for caring for each horse and the rest of the farm, you could hear Dinkey weenie for me. The more I tried to ignore her, the louder she got. Once they had shown me around, I went to visit with Dinkey.

She looked fantastic! She was doing well and it showed. I walked around the pasture with her a while just as though she were still at my place. Talking to her and petting the side of her face. At one point, I just couldn't help it and hugged her neck. I missed her and loved her so much. Her little soft weenies in my ear told me she was just as happy to see me. We started walking again, but Dinkey had put her head on my shoulder, as if she knew that I would have to leave her there. Which I did, there was no question that these people cared for her as much as I did. When I went to leave, Dinkey grabbed my shirt with her teeth. She didn't want me to go and I knew it. But I turned to her, hugged her neck and told her I would return. She then let go.

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Dinkey was about 15 years old now, and doing what most horses do. They tried to have her breed once, but from being so sick and run down for nobody knows how long, she was unable to conceive. So, she lived out her life and was happy. Ten years later, it was not a good idea to ride her anymore from just plain old age. She lived another 2 years with her new owners and died a happy horse.

What was in this for me? Watching a horse get well, learn to trust again, live a happy and normal horse life, and be there to love her even if she wasn't really mine anymore. You see, it is not that I didn't love Dinkey or want to keep her. It was what was best for my horse. The farm where she died was an excellent home for her. She got to be with other horses. She got a bath weekly. She got the best feed available that money could buy. And all the love one horse could ever ask for in their life. What more could she need or want?  As far as I'm concerned, nothing. They figured she had passed on in her sleep, because they went out that morning to her stall and she was gone. She wasn't in pain or sick, she was just old and it was her time to go. When I got the call that Dinkey was gone, it hurt terribly. But I have all those memories to fall back on that are happy and pleasing. On the phone, the people had told me that as far as they were concerned, she had always been mine. And that to me, was something simply not true any longer. She had been theirs, I was just someone to love her extra and did just that, love her until the day she died.

In loving memory, Dinkey was and still is special inside my heart. Her happy weenie still lives in my ears as she talked back to me. Her nodding head in agreement lives on in memory as her answer to most anything. Her placing her head on my shoulder as we walked and talked will always be felt. Special in every way possible, her happy greetings of love in return for love fills my heart with joy. Though I have little to look at for pictures, I remember her when my eyes are closed, and see her plain as day. Those bright eyes, happy weenies and loving actions will always be a part of my soul. Dinkey, the wonder horse!  Full of life and love. She lived beyond what the veterinarian said she would, that makes her a wonder horse. She was 27 years old, and the veterinarian said she might live another 7 years at best. She had heart, and she had all of us. Wherever Dinkey is now, and hopefully in horse heaven, I know without doubt that she is one happy horse.

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