Stripe and one front sock
Feb 18, 1992
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Marta is one of 16 horses seized by Pierce County Animal Control on Nov 8, 2011. These horses were part of a breeding operation, and all 16 were starving. At the time of the seizure, Marta was thin with rainrot and hair loss, overgrown hooves and a badly matted tail. We know very little about Marta apart from her breeding.
With proper care and good diet, Marta has blossomed into a lovely mare. She’s embraced a life of leisure as a companion horse after being rescued from starvation, though at 26 years old she still has plenty of energy for a good gallop and romp.
Very much a social butterfly, Marta nickers for her people and makes a great pasture mate. She also stands well for the farrier and vet. If you’re looking for a sweetheart companion horse, look no further!
At the end of December, Marta had a dental with Dr. Fray of Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital. Marta has been dropping weight lately, and an oral exam revealed why. Once she was sedated, Dr. Fray found the beginning signs of Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis (EOTRH). EOTRH is a painful dental disease that can occur in older horses. The disease is progressive and has no cure other than surgery to remove affected teeth in more advanced cases, but it appears that Marta’s case is not severe enough yet to warrant surgery.
Dr. Fray recommended that Marta be switched to a diet of strictly pelleted feed to provide her with the nutrients she needs in a form that is easier for her to chew. She can have access to hay if she wants to chew on it, but it can’t be her main source of calories since she just nibbles on it. She has also been started on Equioxx, a medication for pain management.
In order to be able to closely monitor both her weight gain and the EOTRH, we decided to bring Marta back from her foster home. She has been here just a few short weeks, but in that time since being transferred to the new diet and being put on the pain meds she is gaining her weight back steadily. She will munch on a few mouthfuls of hay, but much prefers her sloppy mashes of senior feed.
She is a happy camper and seems to be enjoying her new surroundings, and has developed friendships with her two stall neighbors, Stella and Amelia. We are enjoying having her around Safe Harbor Stables again.
We have been so busy moving Safe Harbor Stables that we have neglected a few very important updates. Our sweet mare Marta has a new foster home. Marta’s long term foster mom and dad, Eileen and Andy, cared for her for many years as if she was their own. They loved her very much but at this time needed to move the horses off their property. SAFE is incredibly grateful for all their years of care to the SAFE horses that lived on their property and appreciate all the work and donations they gave to caring for them.
We had known that one of our alumni, Kat (now called Clover) needed a new friend after her adoptive brother passed away. We called Clover’s owner Susan and told her about Marta. Susan has 10 acres of horsy paradise with lots of room to spread their legs and enjoy life. After talking with Susan over the phone about the two mare’s personalities and that there was a good chance this would be a good match, Susan opened her heart and invited Marta to come live with her family.
Eileen and Andy brought Marta to her new foster home and with a few goodbye tears and hugs they introduced her to her new friend Clover. The two mares got along right away. Clover being the established matriarch of the pasture was kind and welcoming but also told Marta “this is how we do things around here.” They are settled in and have been very good companions.
They also have a very trust worthy protector named Toby. He is a 16- month old Great Pyrenees and a loyal companion and friend. He is already 34″ at the shoulder! That’s the size of a pony so he gets along great with the horses and watches over the herd and land for any unwanted predators.
Susan reports that Marta is very sweet and calm. She follows Clover around the field and they come running in for their evening grain. Both are doing well and look forward to a great summer together.
Here are some photos of the girls together in a snowstorm in February and a photo of Toby and Marta.
With Shay’s recent passing, Marta was in need of a new friend to join her at her lovely foster home in Fall City. Since we’ve determined that Aubrey is not sound enough to be ridden, she seemed a good choice. Here are photos of the two mares meeting for the first time (thank you Jessica Farren!)
Recently, Jessica, a volunteer and foster committee member, spent the morning with Marta, Shay and their foster mom Eileen Carol. Eileen also volunteers as SAFE’s Foster Coordinator. I asked Jessica to tell me a little bit about her recent visit. Here are the kind words she had to say about the girls:
“My visit with Marta and Shay was great. What beautiful mares! They are such great companions and they’ve really bonded with one another. When I briefly walked away with Shay, she kept looking back to see where Marta was standing. It’s obvious that they really love being close to one another.
Considering the way they gallop in the field and come running for breakfast, it really is amazing that they are both in their twenties. I could also see how much they love being groomed; their coats are beautiful and glossy.
The horses weren’t at all bothered by Eileen’s dog, who was running and playing around. They remained calm.
Marta and Shay just look so healthy and happy!”
Jessica has been taking wonderful photos of our horses at SAFE Harbor. We are grateful that she is willing to visit foster homes and share her beautiful photos with us. We look forward to more of her photos in the next few weeks, but here are some recent candid shots of Marta and Shay.
Ms. Marta continues being her fancy “prancy” self. Every morning, she puts on a show, arching her neck, snorting and trotting with her fabulous self-carriage. She likes to remind us that her sire was the famous Probat and that many of her family members are National Champions.
Unfortunately, Marta’s heritage does not protect her from bug bites. This fall has been tougher than usual with its bad combination of moisture and warmth. The midges, gnats and other invisible annoyances have always caused irritation in Marta’s udder area; this year the irritation has moved to her ears as well. Marta has also had a serious allergic reaction which caused much swelling all over her body. After a few days of Banamine and other fun drugs, she is now back to her usual spirited self. We’re hoping for a nice freeze to kill off these pesky invisible flying critters very soon!
The vet commented that Marta looked like she was carrying twins. Poor girl, being a brood mare for most of her life, she has a definite brood mare belly that will never go away. Marta also has lost most of her upper back teeth due to earlier poor care. This is actually a plus because it helps her maintain a healthy weight without too much special care.
With the cooler temperatures on the way, I’m sure we’ll see Ms. Marta continue to prance about, especially when Shay is around to play with!
Spring has sprung, apparently, and what better way to celebrate than letting the ponies into the pasture! Yesterday Marta and Shay enjoyed a very serious bit of rolling and then took off and galloped a few laps around the pasture. Their foster mom Eileen took this video afterward. “Turns out there is a woodpecker who has returned to the neighborhood and is pecking every loud surface he can find,” she tells us. “Definitely cause for Arabian mode.”
Marta and Shay continue to thrive under the careful care of their foster mom, Eileen. With their blankets on, it’s hard to tell who is who, they are such peas in a pod! Both mares continue to be easy keepers on restricted diets, but they are getting to enjoy a brief reprieve from their grazing muzzles during this very barren January. These two would be a great pair of companion horses!
Shay was showing some increased signs of lameness last week, so she was seen by Dr Owens of Owens Equine.
As we already know, Shay has clearly had laminitis in the past and has a 30-degree rotation in both front feet. Despite being carefully managed (which Dr. Owens said Eileen/SAFE was doing a good job), she may be showing signs of IR/metabolic syndrome. The vet report makes it clear that if Shay has an acute case of laminitis in the future, it could quickly devolve into a life or death situation, so we do need to manage her carefully.
Eileen had kept her stalled at night over the weekend and she appeared comfortable but when she re-attempted night turnout, Shay once again appeared uncomfortable in the morning. So Shay was kept inside in a heavily bedded stall for a few days while Eileen and SAFE volunteers fenced in a dry lot area for her.
Eileen’s pasture, except for one very small area at the end, is already practically a dry lot. Marta and Shay have been wearing their grazing muzzles religiously. They are clearly being managed with IR/EMS in mind. But Shay has a small dry lot where she has access to stand in thick, cushy bedding if she wants it. Eileen covered the hole in her grazing muzzle and will turn her out as seems appropriate.
We’re pretty sure we could not arrange for better management of Shay than Eileen is already doing. While Shay’s neck is cresty, Eileen has kept both mares in good weight and Shay is about as slim as she can be and still look good. We now think there is a legitimate question as to whether Shay was having a metabolic episode or whether this is the first time we’ve seen her on hard, rocky, August ground. We did see her take an occasional bad step, but the rest of the time she is quite happy to be moving…not the sign of a horse experiencing an acute laminitic episode.
Bottom line, we are so thankful to Eileen for the care she’s provided these two old dames over the past year. The mares are both clearly very happy and enjoying life…except maybe those pesky grazing muzzles!!!
Here’s an update from Eileen who is fostering Marta and Shay at her lovely Fall City Farm:
Their daily lives are very straight forward and routine. They have grazing muzzles to keep them on a strict diet because they only need to look at food and they gain weight. Shay has intermittent bouts of being “off.” It doesn’t appear to be anything related to eating grass. I have spoken to the vet a few times about this and she isn’t concerned because there are no signs of foundering. (No heat present in fetlocks, losing weight, intermittently off but can still canter and trot quite well.) I am guessing it is related to being an older girl with flat soles/arthritis. Moving around in a pasture is beneficial we suspect. She gets around just fine for grazing and such and seems very happy and content.
Both have their schedules down pat and love being turned out together as much as possible. The whole neighborhood knows when it is feeding time because they will both whinny and nicker (especially when on a diet) and walk directly into their respective stalls. They are very attached to one another and seem very happy and content altogether.
An update from Marta’s foster mom! Thank you, Eileen!!!!
Marta had her hooves done on the 21st by the lovely and talented Greer Hei, farrier and horsewoman extraordinaire. Marta was a good girl as always. Whenever there is excitement, like the farrier visiting, or lots of wind and rain, it can sometimes cause some fancy prancing and snorting. Ms. Marta is, after all, exceptionally well bred and she likes to remind us all of this. However, she is an older lady and so the prancing and snorting is usually limited to a few brief moments and then she settles down and is very easy to handle.
The farrier remarked that Ms. Marta has nice movement for a twenty year old lady and I have to agree. Marta even choses to use her correct lead when cantering around in the pasture.
Marta still eats mostly mush and she is very happy to see you coming and nickers and whinnies when it is mealtime. Hay is also available for snacking when it is especially windy, rainy, or cold.
Marta heard the Budweiser Clydesdales were in town and so we had a day of beauty recently which included a mini photo shoot. You can’t be caught with a tangled mane and a muddy blanket when so many famous, handsome, eligible bachelors are in the neighborhood!
Thank you to Marta’s foster mom Eileen for this wonderful update and video of our girl!
Marta is doing well. She is sleek, shiny, a wee bit plump, perhaps, and getting fuzzier as the cool weather sets in. It is a little hard to judge her ideal weight because she was a brood mare for most of her life as I understand it. Consequently her “trim” may be a little more rotund than another horse. Marta is nibbling on little bits of grass in the pasture, LMF low carb complete mash, and a bit of timothy hay for snacking. Because Marta’s teeth were not floated and maintained in the past, her top back molars were worn down to almost nothing and now eating hay has become more difficult for her. She does quite well on the mash and grass, though.
Marta is definitely a survivor and a trooper. She has withstood the hardships she experienced with gusto. This morning she played and bucked in the pasture when I went to greet her. She always says hello with a whinny and/or a deep nicker. She is also quite the hair dressers dream. She likes to just stand around and be groomed and pampered. No need for a halter, just pull out the gel curry comb and the soft bristled brush and she will hang out almost indefinitely.
I have been impressed with Marta’s ability to survive and adapt. She seems to take everything in stride and has developed a wonderful rapport with me. The last time the veterinarian came out to float her teeth we didn’t need much in the way of tranquilizers. Marta has learned to trust me and that is always a feeling that warms your heart. Well, that and the nicker each time I go out to feed her! Marta is a guaranteed smile generator for sure.
1. Gwendolyn M.
2. Lisa P.
3. Meribeth G.
4. Samantha G.
5. Victoria G.
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!