Summer is one of the Jean Elledge horses from Snohomish County that SAFE has been quietly caring for since last March. Now that the case has ended and all the horses have been signed over to SAFE, it is time for her story to be told.
Summer, whose registered name is Impromptu DHF and whom Jean called “Tutu”, is a mare who’s history we would love to know. Extremely well bred, by a famous Saddlebred stallion named Chairman of the Board, she is a striking rich chestnut mare with a flaxen mane and tail. Tall and regal, she stands 16.3 hands. But her body has been ravaged from years of neglect from Jean Elledge and being used as a “palomino foal machine” for years. I am told that Summer’s babies were also quite prized, and sold well. The mark of her quality is quite evident on Kokomo, her last foal, and the first Elledge horse from the seizure to find a home. We wonder if prior to ending up in Jean’s clutches, if Summer had once been a fancy show horse — it is easy to imagine that she might have been.
When we first met Summer she had been at the Enumclaw auction for 2 weeks and had not fared well. She refused to load, and we had to use panels to squeeze her into the trailer. She was a pitiful sight, with bald patches and chunks of hair falling out all over her, and areas where her skin was open and bleeding. She was crawling with lice, and so miserablly itchy that she was rubbing herself raw on anything she could find. She was skin and bones, and at some recent point must have been wearing a blanket that did not fit, and had dug a wound into her withers that was still open and oozing. Her feet were horrible, not just long and chipped but with cracks that ran vertically to the coronet band all around them. She walked slowly and painfully. But her eye! Her eye was so soft, and so sweet, and she seemed to know we were there to help her. Unlike the other horses, most of whom were unhandled and untrusting, Summer was a horse that had known a kind hand at some point in her life. And in fact, in the weeks after the seizure as several people contacted me that knew Jean and the horses there — it was “Tutu” that everyone asked about. Tutu was ridden by many a young girl on the trails, being one of the few horses that was broke and one that Jean frequently lent out for riding in exchange for work. Was she still alive? At first, not even we knew…and because of her age, and the fact that all the older horses on the Carnation property had died, we assumed she could not be. But Summer is a tough mare, and she knew how to protect her food and herself, and somehow she survived.
True to her name, when Summer arrived so to did the real Summer emerge. Her weight came back, and her coat grew in over the bald areas and the old, fungus and lice encrusted hair gave way to a gleaming, beautiful chestnut coat. However, she still moved slowly and stiffly, and most concerning was the fact that she labored to bring her head down to graze or eat her hay, her neck popping and cracking as she slowly lowered it in stages. Valerie started donating Chondroprotect injections for her and Dr. Hannah donated her time for bodywork and chiropractic injections, all with the hope of easing her painful cervical arthritis.
This August we noticed that Summer was growing a winter coat, long before the other horses had, and we began to suspect Cushings. A recent test confirmed that she has the disease, and she just started Pergolide. She is still getting her monthly injections and bodywork, and whitewolf (Crystal), has kindly donated some joint supplements for her. She still moves stiffly, but she is holding her own, and is a tough horse for sure.
One thing is for sure about Summer — she has captured all of our hearts. Summer is available for adoption to a very special home and her adoption fee has been waived. She has had her shots, a dental (and her teeth are still in good condition), and is microchipped. She’s on a daily wormer and will require Pergolide for the rest of her life, and comes with a 3 month supply. She will need to be blanketed in the winter, and be kept on a low-carb diet as she is a founder risk with the Cushings, although she bears no signs of previous founder. If the right home cannot be found, she will stay with SAFE until she is ready to leave this world. Currently, she resides with me in Monroe.