description: 2002 Percheron mare
type of rescue: Owner Surrender
length of time with SAFE: 5 months
ADOPTED!! by Beth
We are excited to announce that Moon has found a wonderful forever home! During her time at SAFE, Moon received needed medical and farrier work, but unfortunately, she was never 100% sound on her front left hoof. While she is very comfortable in turnout, we decided the best home for her would be one where she would not need to be more than a lovely companion horse.
When Beth contacted SAFE she was interested in Slim, the big Belgian gelding that came in with Moon. Unfortunately, he was still recovering from some very bad abscesses in his front hoof and was on medical hold until they resolve. But when she heard about Moon, she agreed to make the drive up to meet her and see if she matched her needs. And who would not fall in love with this beautiful mare at first sight? Beth already had experience with draft horses, having rescued two Percheron geldings. Her farm sounded like a perfect place for Moon to live.
Beth and her family have been restoring their historic farm and barn, along with many types of old farming equipment. The plan to host tours there so children can see what a historic farm looked like and meet the animals who would have been used to run the farm. Moon will be an ambassador for working horse breeds and the visitors learn what an important role horses played in farming in the past. We are so excited that Moon will not only have a loving forever home but also have a chance to teach people about the importance of equines in our history.
Moon has made a smooth transition to her new home. Beth said that when she first arrived, she appeared to be very fascinated by her chickens and sheep. Beth told us that she “couldn’t have asked for a better transition. She is picking up on the social nature of the group and seems to like helping with chores and being in the middle of things. Which is exactly what I love.” We are all thrilled that she is safe and well cared for in such a beautiful family, with lots of other animals and horses to keep her company and an amazing adopter to watch over them.
Cassidy is opening up more each day and her personality is coming through now that her herd bound issues have been addressed. In the beginning, she was so worried about being away from Moon and Slim, we were concerned she might even colic if separated too quickly. With the help of groundwork, we taught Cassidy to feel the support and comfort of a person so she didn’t always have to rely on another horse to feel safe. Truthfully, this is probably one of the hardest parts of the gentling work. You know that what you are doing is helping the horse get more confidence and balance, but their reaction to being separated from another horse can be difficult and even dangerous to deal with. When a horse is in a panic, they can easily run over the top of you without any concern for your well-being!
Luckily, when we first started working with Moon and Cassidy, Joel Conner was here for a clinic and he helped us come up with a plan that would slowly help the mares learn that it was okay if the other was not right by their side. And when we say slowly, we mean SLOWLY! We’d start by moving them just a few feet apart, then used groundwork to help them keep their focus on their handler. After weeks of working them together in the arena, we were able to move Cassidy out to the round pen while Moon stayed in the arena. And with more work, Cassidy was able to go to the arena or round pen alone and leave Moon back in their paddock. All this was done very carefully to make sure it was not too much for either of them to handle. Cassidy started to change with this work. She became more peaceful and her eyes softened. I would even go as far as to say that she appeared MORE relaxed and content after joining up with me than she had when we were near Moon.
A few days ago, Moon left SAFE on an adoption trial. The timing could not have been better, because Cassidy was ready. As Moon was leaving, she stood quietly, called out twice as they drove off, and then acted as if nothing had happened. I spent the next few hours with her, ready to support her if she became worried or upset. To be honest, I didn’t really have to do anything. We walked around the property, visited her friends, and munched on grass. I took her back to the paddock she had shared with Moon and made sure she noticed that she had full access to all the hay without Moon there driving her off. She went over and said hi to the aunties and babies in the field next to her and was quiet and very content.
Since Moon’s departure, we have been able to get to work preparing Cassidy to be saddled. This is important to a successful start. Over the next month, we will take her through the steps towards riding and hopefully put the first rides on some time in October. She has a very calm disposition now and I am confident she will make it as a riding horse. She is very sweet and a pleasure to be around and get to know. We look forward to seeing her transformation as she gains more experience and prepares for her forever home!
Kaya has been helping us with Moon and recently took this lovely big mare into the Joel Conner groundwork class at Safe Harbor. The two really connected over the weekend and Moon had some great changes. Kaya’s groundwork is improving and she has become a very BIG help to us in our Horsemanship Program. Here is what Kaya had to say about her experience with Moon in the clinic:
“I had the incredible opportunity to work with our massive Percheron, Moon, during the groundwork portion of the recent Joel Conner clinic. Moon is an impressive-looking horse and definitely got a lot of attention from the audience! She is also incredibly kind-hearted and she is going to make someone a great friend someday!
“Pretty much the entirety of the first session was spent trying to get Moon’s attention on me, rather than on her friend Cassidy or other horses in the clinic. I admit this was rather exhausting, but I was proud of how I was able to maintain consistency with Moon and I was really hoping that some of what we worked on would help her the following days. I had had to really control my own feel and make sure that when Moon was with me, there was peace and when she wasn’t, there was work. This method of making the wrong thing difficult and right thing easy is so effective and cool to study!
“The next morning, Moon was immediately more at peace with being separated from her friend and her attention was much easier to obtain. We were finally able to work on something other than herd-boundness and started working on fixing the braces in her hind quarters and front quarters movements, leading, and backing up. I personally am going to work on “being more methodical” about what I ask, in order to help horses figure their way out of braces without confusion. While we still have a long way to go, I’m so impressed with the changes that Moon made over the weekend! It is so exciting to be able to help her feel more comfortable in difficult situations and it absolutely made everything worth it when she genuinely looked to me for comfort and peace on several occasions on Sunday.”
There’s no time like the present to get started training the new horses! We were told that Moon had some training and riding in her past when she was younger but it’s been a while. We always like to begin our new horses with groundwork sessions to help them learn the basics they will need to be handled. The first groundwork sessions help establish safe distance from handlers, moving forward and away from pressure, and not overreacting to outside stimuli. This work also helps the horses “join-up” with their handlers. Casey was kind enough to work with Moon during the Joel Conner clinic last weekend and help get this beautiful mare on the way towards her new life. Here is what Casey had to say about working with Moon:
I had the opportunity to work with Moon for two days of the clinic. When I went into her paddock to halter her, she came right up and was very sweet and inquisitive, and she stood well for grooming and seemed to enjoy it. However, when I led her out of the paddock, it became evident that she didn’t have much experience with leading or working on the ground. She pushed her shoulder into me, and completely lost track of me, which at her size was particularly concerning. The issue became more pronounced as Baby, her pasture mate, moved away from her. So the herd bound issue is where we started our work.
We moved hindquarters then forequarters, with a release when she was facing away from Baby. It didn’t take too long before we got a change and could begin flag work, moving off on a feel, freedom of her feet, and moving around me without pushing in on the circle. We got some really great changes that carried into the second day, one of which included lowering her head so that I could get her halter on. She’s so tall! I’m really looking forward to working with her. I’m confident that she will be a safe and willing partner who’ll be ready for adoption in no time.
Here are also some photos of Moon the first weeks here at SAFE. She was a great girl both for her trim with Daphne and for the veterinary appointment where she got her vaccines and a dental. Sweet mare!
Slim, Moon, and Cassidy were surrendered to SAFE after the sudden and unexpected death of their owner. Their owner’s passing coincided with an unusually large amount of snowfall in this area, so friends and neighbors pulled together to take care of the horses until they could be transported to SAFE. The three horses have not received proper care for a while, and Slim, a 17 year old Belgian gelding, is underweight. His hooves are badly in need of trimming, and his flaxen mane is tied up in knots. The other two horses are Moon, a 17 year old Percheron mare, and Cassidy, an 11 year old Arabian mare. The two mares were in better shape, as they were dominant over the gelding, and often wouldn’t allow him to eat.
All three horses are very sweet and friendly, and have clearly been treated well. Slim reportedly suffered a back injury as a young horse, and cannot be ridden. We’re told that Moon has been ridden, and Cassidy, who was born on the property, had not been started.
After the snow cleared, we went to pick the horses up, and were quite surprised to see Slim in person. He is huge!! We’d already decided that he would be the first horse to load into our three-horse trailer, but once we got him into it, we realized that we weren’t going to be fitting anyone in there with him. He pretty much filled the space! So we hauled Slim home to SAFE, then went back the next morning to get Moon and Cassidy. All three horses hauled well, despite their inexperience with trailering.
The three horses are currently in quarantine, and are living outside 24/7. This allows us to avoid having anyone handling them any more than necessary. Slim, while a friendly and sweet fellow, has not been handled much, and because of his size, when he wants to go somewhere, there’s not a lot that can be done to stop him! But once he’s made a full recovery, we’ll be able to start his horsemanship training and teach him some new and better ways to interact with humans. The three horses seem to have settled in well.
Want to see the new horses in person? Mark your calendars for the SAFE Open House, coming up on Saturday, April 27 from noon to 3pm. Everyone is welcome! Come say hello to our new friends!