1994 Quarter Horse type mare
Suitability: Companion, For Novice Handler
Markings: star, LF
Height: 14.3 hh
Weight: 974 lbs
Adoption Fee: $300
Brandy is a Appendix Quarter Horse mare, who arrived at SAFE with two other herd mates, Bandit and Topper. Sadly, their owner was in hospice and needed for a place for their horses. Brandy was a bit reluctant to be caught or handled when we first met her, but the curious mare she is today is a far cry from her timid beginnings. Brandy is a fairly dominant mare, but loves to be around her best friend, Bandit. Ideally, we’d like to find a retirement home for both Brandy and Bandit together.
All SAFE horses are adopted with a no-breeding clause, no exceptions.
For some of us, getting older means our visits with doctors and specialists increase, our bodies requiring more maintenance to remain afloat. And while the same is often true for horses of a certain age, there are some cases when vet care is required less frequently.
One such case is Brandy’s. Brandy, a Mare of a Certain Age, is no stranger to health issues. She gets a daily tab of prascend for her Cushing’s diagnosis, and last summer required all manner of creams and salves to help soothe her itchy skin. But perhaps the most significant note about Brandy is her lack of good teeth, a fact that had been known to us since near day one of her arrival at SAFE.
Apart from a formal vet visit and inspection of her mouth under sedation, the signs were obvious to us that things were perhaps a bit amiss under the hood when the hay balls began falling from her mouth. Known as ‘quidding,’ it is a phenomenon that very much resembles a cow chewing its cud, if that same cud were to materialize as a giant lump of wet hay, dropped on the ground. Not the most aesthetically pleasing thing a horse can do, but it is, of course, not meant to be. Rather — it is a sign something is wrong, and a pretty clear one at that.
Brandy’s subsequent vet visits have revealed as much: her teeth are in very poor shape. So poor that she is not able to properly chew and swallow hay. Because of this, Brandy is on a mash-only diet, receiving her calories in the form of delicious grain slurry.
At her most recent dental, our vets told us that going forward, Brandy would only need a dental float if we began to notice issues arising — an inability to eat, or foul odors originating from her mouth. There just simply are not enough good teeth in her mouth to do anything to. So just like that, Brandy had an annual appointment removed from her schedule. And here I’ve been looking for ways to avoid the dentist, turns out you just need to have no teeth!
We will continue to watch Brandy closely to ensure she is not having trouble eating, but for the time being, she seems perfectly content to be a soup girl.
At the recent Joel Conner Clinic, Carrie S worked with Brandy in the morning groundwork session, and had the following to say about her experience:
“I participated in the ground work class at the June Joel Conner Horsemanship Clinic and had the wonderful opportunity to work with Brandy Snap. First of all, let’s just celebrate the fact that a 29 year old horse (that’s about 85 in horse years) had a boatload of energy throughout the clinic and nickered happily each morning when I haltered her. “Do I get to go to school today???” She was partly right, since she was the teacher and I was the student. This was my second clinic and Brandy was not giving in to sloppy instructions. I had thought her stiffness was age related and I was concerned about asking “too much” from her. Joel helped me understand what she was asking for in terms of pressure that would allow her to soften, flex, and move all four feet fluidly.
Brandy seems to thrive with having a job to do. She greets each offer to work with energy and gusto. It takes a lot to get this special mare to relax fully, she is a lead mare after all. But when she feels she can trust you, her feet get light, she rewards with a small lick and a chew, and she remembers. She is a precious part of the SAFE herd in that novice handlers are safe with her. She has so much try and willingness. She did really well quite separated from her BFF and was friendly with the other horses, even when they were working through some tough spots quite near to her. She is so ready for her forever home and a very kind and patient teacher for someone who would like to learn this style of horsemanship.”
If you were to stay at the Brandy and Bandit Bed and Breakfast (only fun to say because of all the alliteration, and goodness me, try saying ‘Brandy and Bandit’ ten times fast), you would find that grass is newly on the menu. These two ladies have been spending a bit of time separate as of late, in paddocks that neighbor one another but are not connected. This slight separation has been good for the two of them, as they have been quite herd bound since their arrival at SAFE, and being in sight of one another but not attached at the hip has meant a bit more emotional stability for the both of them. Recently, the volunteers who work with them have even been able to separate them quite a distance without a complete meltdown occurring — that’s a huge change from where they started! But I digress, I mention this separation only because now that the ground is drying up and our grass fields are opening again, these two ladies get to enjoy their shared backyard together. During this time, they nose around the yucky buttercups (a plague upon our pastures at the start of every grass season) and graze alongside each other happily. But once the timer rings, they are quite content to mosey on back to their individual rooms and return to their individual interests, promising to meet same time, same place the next day.
Carrie S participated in the March Joel Conner clinic alongside Brandy, and had the following to say about their experience together:
“I had the opportunity to work with Brandy during the groundwork portion of the Joel Conner Clinic in March of 2023. Brandy had previously attended one clinic, but had little work in between due to the large herd that SAFE took in last November, which required a lot of attention from the staff. Despite the break, Brandy quickly remembered the great work she did with Sue C and was eager to learn and focus on the task at hand.
During the five days of the clinic, Brandy showed surprising lightness and energy, and was quiet and focused whether working near her BFF or at the other end of the arena. Although she initially had some stiffness and leaned outward on the halter when we worked on the unified circle, she quickly became more flexible and responsive to my instructions, eventually bending nicely and working on a float. Her try and positive attitude were evident every morning when she nickered and eagerly awaited her halter.
Brandy was a delight to work with on the rail, showing great responsiveness and staying right with me no matter how quickly I was moving forward or backward. We will continue working with her hindquarters and unified circle, as well as her front quarters. She also needs work with standing still. She’s a creeper and before you know it she’s put you right at her shoulder and wants to lean on you, making standing still a challenge at times.
Brandy did great with grooming and hoof picking even in the midst of lots of horses and people coming into the arena. She was curious and friendly toward the other horses. Overall, Brandy was a joy to work with and showed great potential for further development in her groundwork skills.”
As though returning from a long holiday, these two noble ladies have come back to SAFE. For many months we watched their experiences at their foster home from afar – frolicking alongside their foster siblings, enjoying a summer of grass, making friends with neighboring alpacas and dogs.
But circumstances change, and as we slid into fall, we welcomed the girls back home through the gates of SAFE. It had been a while since we’d seen them in person, and the careful care their lovely foster took of them was apparent from the moment they stepped off the trailer.
These girls may be on the older end of the spectrum, but they are so full of life and personality! There’s nothing about them — well, ok, maybe Brandy’s poor teeth and Bandit’s stiff legs – that scream ‘senior citizen,’ and something tells me if they could speak English they would firmly reject the term.
The ladies are quite attached, and therefore their stall accommodations include a half wall so they can see each other all through the night, which works out well for Brandy, who can beg Bandit for hay. Given the poor state of her teeth, Brandy is on a mash-only diet, but still tries her best to finagle some hay snacks once in a while.
Since their return to SAFE, these two have stepped a bit more firmly into our horsemanship program, and volunteers have been able to both learn from and teach these gals a few new tricks. They were participants in November’s Joel clinic, where they worked on being a bit less pushy and finding comfort in their human handlers when the physical distance between their horse counterpart grew.
While we are enjoying having the girls back at SAFE, we are holding space in our hearts and minds that they might find a permanent foster situation. While all horses need time and attention, there are some – these two included – who would really benefit from being an ‘only child.’ With up to 30 horses under our care here at SAFE and only 24 hours in the day, logistically we cannot dote on all of them to the degree they deserve. To place them in a foster situation where they can be given the lion’s share of attentiveness would be an amazing gift to them. If you are interested in fostering these two, shoot an email to email@example.com to start up a conversation.
In the meantime, we continue to delight in feeding these two their daily pill-pocket stud muffins and watching the funny way Bandit’s lips corkscrew when you find juuuust the right spot to itch on her withers.
Sue C worked with Brandy during the last Joel Conner clinic, and had the following to say about her time spent with this special mare:
“This weekend I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Brandy during the groundwork portion of the Joel Conner clinic. Brandy is a 27 year old quarter horse mare who has had little training with groundwork, and is very tied to her paddock mate Bandit. Despite this she handled the clinic like a champ with much less calling out and looking for Bandit than I expected. She was nervous in the beginning, but really warmed up to the work. We started with just asking for a unified circle, followed by a good step or two at hindquarters, then back to a unified circle. We practiced doing this with a lengthening lead rope until she was really moving away from me when I asked her to move her hind. Once she got good at this she progressed to moving her front quarters more easily. She was occasionally distracted and looking for Bandit, but it was quite easy to get her focused again. I felt like she was really with me leading in both directions, and over the course of the weekend she maintained this focus even when Bandit left the arena. She is a sweet mare, relatively untroubled and I hope that the work we did is a step towards more flexibility in where she goes next. I appreciate the education from both Joel and Brandy and hope to get to work with her again.”
Brandy and Bandit have arrived at their foster home with long-time SAFE volunteer, Sarah V! A group of SAFE volunteers spent a sunny weekend day putting the finishing touches on the girl’s new home, and then it was time for the pair to arrive. They had a lovely first day at the farm, exploring and grazing in the sunshine alongside their new neighbors – a herd of alpacas. The little herd caused quite the stir with both girls, especially with Brandy, who watched them for hours.
A few days later, the girls were introduced over the fence to Duke, their foster brother, and expressed towards him the same curious, friendly energy. They even got to enjoy some turnout in adjoining grass pastures together.
Another foster brother for them: Hopper the dog, just one letter away from sharing the name with their previous paddock mate, Topper the pony. Hopper provided them with a warm welcome, bringing his rawhide treat as an offering to the girls. According to his mom, this is his seal of approval!
Overall, the girls are settling in very nicely at their new home, and we look forward to continued updates from their foster mom!
We’ve spent quite some time getting to know these two mares since their arrival at SAFE in October, 2021. We’ve observed that both have a “been there, done that” wisdom about them. They seem like two old ladies chuckling to themselves about days gone by and all the mischief they had gotten into together. Brandi is definitely the herd leader and Bandit is completely happy to follow her lead. They are both gentle to groom and handle. After being at SAFE for some time now, Bandit is easy to halter and enjoys her grooming and neck scratching sessions. The two are sweet enough to participate in volunteer grooming sessions and are no trouble when haltered and groomed. Both of them seem to enjoy the human companionship and are becoming favorites among the volunteers.
When Bandit came to SAFE, previous caretakers reported she was difficult for the farrier and needed veterinarian sedation for trims. She has now successfully been trimmed twice with our farrier, without sedation, and each time she became more relaxed. During the most recent trim, our farrier was impressed with Bandit’s progress and commented that Bandit seemed very relaxed and well-mannered. The farrier’s initial concern that it might be difficult for Bandit to get past her anxiety with hind leg trims faded after this session with Bandit’s good behavior.
Both mares’ teeth have been examined by our veterinarian. They have very little tooth available to be filed down and both were stressed by the equipment needed to perform the procedures. Because the exam indicated that not a huge amount of work could be done, we decided best to not cause them too much anxiety and did not do dentals. Going forward we will watch their weights and, due to the lack of grinding surface remaining on their teeth, supplement both with senior complete feed as needed to maintain good weights. Both mares have exhibited reluctance to be separate stalls, particularly Bandit. For the future, they will do best in a living situation that allow them 24-hour access in and out of shelters and where they can keep an eye on each other. They are currently content living as SAFE, sharing a run through shed and large paddock.
We are currently looking for an ideal foster home that will keep both mares living their best lives together. They are advanced in age but not in spirit, and we look forward to giving them a lovely retirement together.
Brandy, Bandit and Topper all arrived at the beginning of October. Sadly, their owner had terminal cancer and was in hospice care. One of their last wishes was to ensure that her horses were safe and taken care of. Their friends helped them locate SAFE, we were able to help so we headed to Port Orchard to pick them up. Brandy is a little shy about being haltered so we set up a little shoot to load her in the trailer. Once Brandy was in, Bandit and Topper quickly followed. They traveled like champs and no one broke a sweat on the way over.
Topper is a fluffy little guy who came in about 100 pounds overweight. We set him up next door to Brandy and Bandit in his own paddock so we could help him lose weight. He now is getting his hay soaked for 30 minutes to help remove the sugars and is already looking better. Brandy seems to be the top dog and Bandit is a very good listener and moves out of her way so she can have first pick over her eating spot. All three horses need a dental and in preparation for coming into the barn we did a trial run. Each one got to practice walking into a stall and as long as they still knew where their friends were, they all walked in like champs. They must be familiar with barn life. The three have settled into the routine at SAFE, looking forward to morning and evening grain time with eager nickers.
1. Julia L.
2. Craig C.
3. Carrie S.
4. Jeanne & John A.
Every horse deserves at least ten friends! Even a small monthly donation can make a difference. Plus, SAFE horse sponsors receive discounts at local businesses through the SAFEkeepers program!