description: 1980 bay Foxtrotter gelding
type of rescue: owner surrender
intake date: 8/20/2009
date of passing: 4/20/2013
length of time with SAFE: 3 years, 6 months

Buckwheat — Rest in peace

photo by Liz Stabbert

photo by Liz Stabbert

We lost a dear old horse last night. Buckwheat, who came to SAFE back in 2007, had another episode of colic and was humanely euthanized. We don’t know exactly how old he was, but he was well into his 30s. He will be missed very much by his foster family and everyone who loved him. He was a very special horse who had a profound effect on everyone who cared for him.

Our gratitude and thanks to the Romanus family who fostered Bucky at the end of his life and gave him the best of care and love. Bucky looked amazing while he was with them and he seemed very happy and content. Thank you for providing such a wonderful home for him.

We’d also like to thank Carol and Steve Alpiner, who fostered Bucky and his friend Summer for nearly two years, paying for all their expenses during that time. They continued to care for Bucky even after he left their farm, sponsoring him and making donations to SAFE in his name. They even made arrangements for Bucky to be cremated after his passing. It means a great deal to all of us at SAFE that you cared so deeply for these horses and gave them so much.

Rest in peace, dear Buckwheat!


Buckwheat update


Great update on Bucky!!  He can be a bit of a woolly mammoth so foster mom Krissy clipped him to make him more comfortable. Doesn’t he look great?

“We are having the best best best time with Buckwheat!  He has a nice new hair cut and is feeling better than ever!  He is spunky and a lot more lively.  We all [yes, the whole family] took a walk down the road this weekend and bucky was so excited, happy and super perky.  It just makes my heart smile.
He is putting on weight and I am very pleased.  I will get pictures to you real soon!  He is trusting me more and more every day – which is awesome…except when I go after him with the fly spray!  Ha!  He cracks me up.”
Thank you Krissy for taking such great care of our old man!


Next up in our series of beautiful Karen Wegehenkel photography…it’s our handsome old man Buckwheat. These photos are a testament to Karen’s ability to find and reveal the beauty of her subjects. Bucky is in his late twenties and while we’re not entirely sure what breed of horse he is, he is definitely a gaited horse. He’s also an incredibly sweet old guy.

Click the first photo to view images in gallery format.

Buckwheat Update from Dec 26 2010

It has been quite a while since I posted about Bucky. He’s full of energy and seems to be enjoying himself. He is a real cutie! He’s always escorting me to his stall when I come down to feed in the evenings, and he has very good barn manners.

I had his ACTH re-tested in late summer/early fall and it was elevated, so we increased his pergolide to 1.25 mg. Last winter, Bucky looks like he was part Yak — his coat was at least 3 inches long. This year his coat is very shiny and soft but it’s still about 2 inches long. It’s hard with the seniors when you don’t know what’s normal for them to really judge how they are doing at times. I’ll retest his ACTH in the spring to see how he’s doing. Cushings is progressive, and horses typically need more medication over time to keep things in check.

Bucky had a dental earlier this month. He’s lost one tooth, and his back teeth are pretty much worn down to the gum line. I’ve got him on Triple Crown Low Starch, which I mix with some water to soften it a bit, plus compressed timothy hay. Compressed hays are cut so the hay is not as long of pieces as a regular hay, and it seems to be a little easier for the older guys to eat. Right now he’s holding his weight and doing well with his current diet. At some point, he may need more pellets or soaked hay cubes because of his teeth but for now he seems to be doing ok.

Bucky seems to be happy and healthy. He and Summer have an understanding: She’s in charge, and he’s happy to let her be in charge. Thanks for asking about him!

Buckwheat Update from May 16 2010

Foster Home Update:

I wanted to update everyone on how Bucky is doing. He is just so darn adorable! He and Summer are doing very well together. When he first arrived, they were getting along but tended to be a little independent. Now more often than not they are hanging out together. Bucky will often mirror her posture and we’ll see both of them with the same back leg cocked.

Bucky was a little shy at first. I’d walk up to him to try to groom him and he’d stand quietly for a minute or two, and then he’d walk away. Over time he’s become more comfortable with things and now he enjoys being groomed and stands quietly without being tied while I groom and love on him. At dinner time, he usually meets me at the tack room door and escorts me to his stall.

Bucky has delightful ground manners. He’s easy to work around and he’s good for my farrier and vet. He is very submissive, and he will not challenge Summer at all.

Bucky came into our lives at a very difficult time. We had lost our beloved Abby in September, and we needed to find a companion for Mac, our 30 year old gelding. We were lucky to find SAFE and Summer. We had to say goodbye to Mac in late Jan and once again reached out to SAFE for a new friend for Summer. After having both Mac and Abby for over 20 years, it’s been a big change for us. Having two foster horses has helped us tremendously.

There is something so special about older horses. They just have a special outlook on life, and seem to take so much in stride. They still have a lot to give, and they can teach you a lot if you let them.

Bucky reminds me of a great Mark Twain quote: Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

Buckwheat Update from Jan 25 2010

Bucky was moved down to Auburn to be Summer’s new companion. Sadly, Summer’s buddy Mac was put down yesterday after several colic episodes. Summer’s wonderful foster home was worried about Summer being alone and was very willing to bring in another foster horse to keep her company, and we just happened to have another older Cushings horse that would fit in perfectly. Sad that it is under such unhappy circumstances, but Bucky has a wonderful new foster home!

Buckwheat Update from Dec 10 2009

Bucky got retested last week when the vet did Dexter’s teeth and the initial exam on Baxter. His ACTH levels came back in the normal range, so the Pergolide dosage is correct and is working for him. He still got pretty hairy this winter, but its not a curly coat and the real test will be to see how he sheds out this spring. He’s definitely perkier than when he first came and his weight is doing great.

Buckwheat Update from Oct 5 2009

Bucky is ready for adoption! He’s at a good weight and UTD on everything, and his winter coat that is growing in looks normal and healthy now that he is on the Cushings medication. I found him a very fun, smooth ride but he is a bit barn sour and probably best suited for an experienced rider if someone were to ride him, but he’s got great manners and would be an excellent companion horse also. His adoption fee is waived but of course, all adoption requirements still apply.

Buckwheat Update from Sept 26 2009

Well, Bucky sure gave us a surprise today! His weight is looking great, no more ribs, and he’s now wasting half of his mush so I’ve had to cut him back. Allison and Katie decided to take him out and saddle him up and see how he did. He was great for tacking up…he’s just a doll with his little ears! You can see he still has a little bit of that long hair hanging on, but the winter coat he is getting looks quite normal. His feet still need a lot of work but he seems to be moving soundly. 

We put him on the lungeline for a few minutes to see how he was. He doesn’t lunge super well, and he surprised us by being pretty excited, putting his tail up and letting out some cute little bucks. But once he started moving, we noticed he moves a little strangely. We couldn’t decide…is he lame or footsore on all four feet, or is he gaited??

But once I got on him, it was pretty apparant that Bucky is, in fact, gaited. He was like butter to ride…I absolutely had a blast. I have never ridden a gaited horse before so forgive me if I don’t know how to describe his gaits. He has a very smooth running-walk like gait where your butt barely moves in the saddle, and another trot-like gait but there is barely any bounce at all. And then a canter-like gait but there is more like a side-to-side motion without the moment of suspension like a true canter. In any case he was SUPER smooth. I don’t think he was a gaming horse at all. He really was quite sensible, although a little barn sour and tried to go towards the gate a few times, but he just feels like he is wound up because his legs are doing a lot underneath you. He has a lot of go in him but he was easy to stop and steer and really, really fun. He is very out of shape and he got sweaty pretty quickly but he is really a fun ride!

So what do you think? Could he be Paso Fino, Peruvian, Tennesee Walker? I have no idea of the different gaits..all I know is he was smooth as silk.

Buckwheat Update from Sept 1 2009

Poor Buckwheat. His ACTH results came back…normal for this time of year is around 21–53, his was at 164, so quite elevated and definitively Cushings. Well I guess it is a good thing that his adopters could no longer keep him so we can now get him the care he needs! He will be started on Pergolide ASAP and we will retest him in 3 months to see if his dosage is correct.

For now he is very much enjoying his huge mush meals of grass hay pellets, beet pulp, low-carb grain, rice bran, Cool Calories, oil, and probiotics. Oh and I put him on a week of Echinacea just in case his immune system is depressed and he’s gone through a lot of changes lately. I expect him to look and feel much better in a month or two!

Buckwheat Update from Aug 29 2009

Bucky is settling in here at the farm. This week has been a busy week for him, as he got wormed, his feet trimmed, his teeth floated, vaccinated and and overall health check. We were pretty concerned about Bucky when we got him back because he is thin and also did not completely shed his winter coat this summer as he has in previous summers, so we suspected Cushings. When Dr. Hannah looked at him she knew right away based on his hair coat and his overall body shape and muscling that he was Cushings — the question was how bad and how much Pergolide he will need. So we went ahead and did the testing on him and are awaiting the results. His teeth were pretty bad as well, and while he still has teeth he has some cupping and gaps between his teeth which make them not terribly effective. He can have hay but he didn’t really eat it much which is probably why he is so thin. So he’s on a mush diet now of orchard grass pellets and low-carb grain and oil. He’s still a perky, cute little guy and I can’t wait to see him when he is looking and feeling a bit better once he is on the meds and has gained some weight.

Buckwheat Update from Aug 5 2009 and Aug 20 2009

Due to some health problems in Bucky’s adoptive family, Buckwheat’s adopters are going to sadly have to sell their farm and Bucky is in need of a new home. This sweet guy is still quite ridable and sound and is free to an approved home. If not adopted, he will be returning to SAFE after the SAFE show on August 22nd. Please contact me if interested in seeing Bucky at his current home in Beaverton, OR or after he returns to WA.

From Laurie on August 20th:

I picked up Bucky today to prepare for his trip north. He is a wonderful older gelding. Kathy says he still has a lot of spunk left.

He will be at the show. Everyone stop by and say hi. I think this guy still has something to offer. He is not young anymore, but is by no means ready to retire.

Here is a picture from my cell phone, it is a little pixely, but I will get a better one on my regular camera.
He is residing in my round pen for the next couple of days. I was going to put him in with Jazzy. But my old man stallion, Skeeter, was having nothing to do with an ol’ gelding in with her and the fence between them was going to suffer. :P

Buckwheat Update from July 6 2009

Here are a few photos of Bucky in his adoptive home during his site visit:

Buckwheat Update from June 24 2008

From Jenny:

I briefly visited Bucky last week — it was a bittersweet visit because of Shante’s passing (Shante’s final resting place is a lovely spot on kind of a knoll, under a huge tree).

Bucky was eating his mush and hay when I arrived; he’s all shed out, his coat is glowing, and he is bright (though Kathy said he seemed out of sorts following Shante’s death).

Buckwheat Update from Sept 4 2007

update from Kathy on Buck and Shante:


Just an update.

We took the boys on a trail ride yesterday and today. Of course Shante was as mellow as usual, he did great, kept him at a slow pace though.

Bucky on the other hand was his usual lets go and get there first. I had to work really hard to keep him at a slower pace, I was really tired when when we got back home. That was yesterday, today, I was shopping and Kevin had one of the grand kids on him in the yard, and he was as mellow as Shante, with a child on him. I’m really impressed, he is truly a wonderful horse.

They are both still putting on weight, but are looking good and bonding with us. All the horses have figured out their place in the “herd” so it’s peaceful in the pasture.


Buckwheat Update from Aug 22 2007

We’re happy to announce that Buckie has been adopted. (well, I’m heartbroken, but happy nonetheless.) His new home is in Beavercreek, OR, with a wonderful couple — Kathy and Kevin– who were looking for a horse that their grandkids could ride. They met Buckie and Shante at the SAFE Benefit Show, and were interested in adopting both horses. At a second meeting, Kathy rode Shante and decided he was perfect for them, but Buckie was slightly off at the trot, so he was not ridden. But Kathy and Kevin offered to take Buckie anyway, as a foster with the possibility of adopting. I’m happy to say that they fell in love with the little guy, and despite the fact that he may not be a suitable mount for an inexperienced rider, they have decided to adopt Buckie as well.

Buckwheat Update from May 7 2007

Since it is downright warm out today and since he has FINALLY finished shedding, Mr Buck got a bath today! As with everything, he was good as gold, even though he’s no big fan of the hose.

Look who’s gorgeous:

Buckwheat Update from Apr 6 2007


First off, I’ve got to say that I have gotten really attached to the little bugger. He is sweet and gentle and quiet and just the funniest looking little guy…I’ll post some pictures as soon as my camera battery recharges. He has been shedding copious amounts of hair for several weeks now, and isn’t even CLOSE to being done. The other day I glanced at him and it looked as if he was rubbing all the hair off of his shoulders, and then I realized that what I was seeing was not patches of skin, it was patches of short, dark HAIR — his summer coat! He is going to look like a completely different horse when he is done shedding. He lets me stand next to him and pull out handfuls of hair, and big rastafarian-looking matts…and he is just so calm and patient about the whole thing. With the heat we are having these past 2 days, he must be so uncomfortable in all that hair, so he seems to appreciate my attempts to help.

He had his feet trimmed a few weeks ago, and was good as gold for the farrier. He made my other 2 horses look like rank amatuers, in fact.

He shares quarters with Oliver, and I turn the three of them out in the pasture together. The big horses push him around a bit (especially Jay..his idea of fun is to chase his friends and attempt to bite them in the butt) but Bucky stands up to them pretty well. He can throw a pretty good double-barrel kick for an old guy. But once in a while, I catch them all standing quietly together, Bucky with his head next to Oliver’s flanks like he’s being protected. It is so cute. No real problems at meal times if I be sure there is a separate pile of hay for everyone. If one of the big horses drives him off his pile, he just moves over to a different one, easy as can be. He really gets on well with other horses, even a couple of goofballs like my two boys. Bucky isn’t as active as they are, but he will sometimes join them in a romping session, and trot or canter around just for fun.

I rode him briefly one day…put Jay’s dressage saddle on him, and tried to use’s Jay bridle as well, but that was way too big, so I just rode him in a halter. He didn’t want to do anything but sort of frantically trot from one fence to the other, clip clop clip clop…I felt like the world’s biggest kid on his back. I could not get him to walk at all, just trot and canter. He had a lot of energy, but he didn’t really seem all that happy about the situation, so we didn’t do it for very long. It was pretty fun though. And keep in mind, I’m a big gal, so I may have been too heavy for him.

Anyway, I am really enjoying Bucky, and I hope that he is happy here as well. Last night I walked out to the barn and kinda surprised everyone (they were all snoozing out behind the barn) and Bucky nickered at me. That was cool. ;)

pictures to follow…you’ll have to see the terrible hack job that I did to his forelock with a pair of dull scissors…good thing horses don’t have mirrors. :) He is too cute!

Buckwheat Update from Feb 1 2007

Had a chance to see what’s under that blanket today…he’s got a cute little bod! He stood very nicely to be groomed.

I know there has been some concern about the possibility that Buck has Cushings, due to his long coat? Well I am happy to report that he is shedding out like some kind of crazy shedding machine. I brushed him for about 10 minutes a few days ago, and took off enough hair to fill a shopping bag. Tonight I was petting him and was pulling huge handfuls of hair off his neck!!

So hooray, probably not Cushings. But d’oh! No fun for his groom, me.

Also I’ve had a couple people look at him and agree that he looks to be some kind of Morgan/Pony cross. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I am certain he’s part Morgan. I don’t know if you guys agree or not, but I maintain that you can’t judge by looking at photos. If you want to play guess-the-breed, you’re gonna have to come over and see him in person. Bring a shedding blade with you! ;)

Buckwheat Update from Jan 31 2007

I let him meet Jay & Oliver briefly over the fence after I unloaded him from my trailer yesterday. They all sniffed noses then Buck squealed and sort of struck out with his front hooves. I took to the back pasture and turned him out there, and he immediately started grazing and even rolled.

A little while later I turned Oliver out in the pasture next to him. Buck wouldn’t really approach the fence though.

Last night, I got up at around 2am to check on him (from the window!) and Oliver was standing by the fence next to him.

This morning after breakfast, I brought Ambassador Oliver into Buck’s pasture. As I was leading Oliver over, Buck followed us along the fence nickering at Ol. I let Oliver go, and Buck proceeded to follow him around the pasture at a walk.

Overall impression, he’s a nice little guy, a bit reserved at the moment, but he nickers for food, is easy to approach, and seems to have good manners. He appears quite sound and pretty healthy. 

Buckie photos

Buckwheat Background and History

BUCKWHEAT is a 20–25 yo 15 hh gelding. Bay with a small star and a double snip. Right now he is a furry little guy in his winter coat. Buck is up to date on shots, worming, teeth and feet. He has some stiffness due to age and cold weather, but he is sound and quite energetic. His former owner rescued him from a kill buyer in 2006 and was surrendered by his owner in January of 2007 due to financial concerns. He is quiet and gentle, gets along well with other horses. A real cutie pie. We’re not sure what his breeding is, best guess is he’s Morgan or a Morgan cross. He’s got bulging eyes like a Morgan, a large head and a very square muzzle. And he has the tiniest ears! Very nice hooves, too.

His former owner has ridden him and says he is a bit of a handful under saddle. She says he’s be a good leadline pony. Buck has nice manners on the ground, and trailered like a pro.