Dark Horse Ranch - Equine Art Poetry Prints
Dark Horse Ranch - Equine Art Poetry Prints

Equine Rescues by DarkHorse Ranch

On this page are a few of the horses I have rescued and rehabilitated over the years. Some I don't even have a photograph to remember them by... Rosie, Shadow, Shannigan, Mr. Tips, Little Bit. I promise myself that I will make a list of them all so that none are forgotten... Tanque, Adagio, Panchito, Canela, Ramona. Some now live only in my memory. Some now live happily with people who love and care for them. But all of them left their mark on my soul when they passed through my life on their journey home.

Although I still rescue and rehabilitate horses on a limited basis, I am directing my efforts and energies in a wider sphere so that more horses can be helped, and in order to assist other equine rescue and welfare people. I forward my philosophy of responsibility and stewardship for our horses through my poetry, and endeavor to reach out to all those who hear and understand.

The future holds plans for more of my poetry prints, a book of my collected poetic works, a compilation of information regarding the rehabilitation and care of the horse, and a catalog of natural remedies.

"May you hear the poetry in the echo of their hooves."

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Sina, beforeThis is "Sina", a blue-roan Quarter Horse mare I bought sight unseen off the winter range of New Mexico in 1976. She was the most tucked-up horse I had ever seen, and close to being wild.

She had been "broke" the hard way... snubbed to a post until she buried the halter in her nose, and she still bore the scars. She had no trust of people, and IF you could catch her, you could ride her. Her speed and wildness could take your breath away.

Sina, afterSina, with good feed and care, was actually a beautiful mare. She mellowed some with time, but never lost her fear of man, and never fully trusted a human being.

When she gave birth to Aneurin, her "surprise colt", she went off by herself and he was born at night in a snowstorm high in the Arizona desert. She wanted no person anywhere near her precious colt...

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Shanoway, beforeShanoway was a Quarter Horse filly out of racetrack stock.

When I first saw her, she was coming a yearling, and was just bones and hide. Neither she nor her dam had been fed enough food for a long, long time. She was so weak we just crossed our arms and boosted her into the trailer. And she was about half the size one would expect her to be.

In this photo, she had been putting on weight, but was still looking rough from the lack of care and from malnutrition.

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Shanoway, afterShanoway at two years of age. She shows her fine breeding, but always remained about half the size of her genetic potential.

Here she is considering coming in the front door of the house. (She would do it, too!) She was smart and full of mischief.

Shanoway and my colt, Aneurin, would entertain themselves by pulling the clean laundry off the clothesline and racing off across the desert dragging the white bedsheets! I finally just bought a clothes dryer.

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Asti Spumante

This is Asti Spumante, a buckskin Peruvian Paso who came to me when he was without a home, and stayed with me until he was adopted.

He was hot and fancy, and not a horse for a timid rider. He had a lot of wear and tear on his legs from hard use in his lifetime, and his adopter retired him several years ago.

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Red Ryder, beforeDue to inexperience in equine feeding and management, Red Ryder had gone without adequate food and nutrition. He came to me in poor condition and was not a happy camper. He was a much-loved horse, but his person was a first-time horse owner who relied totally on Red's caretaker and she did not properly observe his deteriorating physical condition.

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Red Ryder, afterWith proper feed and management, Red Ryder was restored to his naturally strong and healthy condition.

He is a handsome and robust horse, and now lives in Holland with his same owner. He is the only American Paint Horse in a barn full of Warmbloods and ponies!

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Mr. Fox, beforeDelight's Silver Fox, affectionately known as Mr. Fox, was an aged Tennessee Walking Horse whose owners had retired him to pasture. Unfortunately, the pasture was at high elevation where it snowed in the winter, and Mr. Fox had "old horse" teeth. He could not graze the pasture or properly eat the hay.

The combination of cold and the inability to eat left him very, very thin and rundown by Spring... when he came to live with me.

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Mr. Fox, afterThis is Mr. Fox when given the special care that aged horses require to maintain their weight and health. For him, it meant routine dental care for the teeth he had left. And he needed and used a tub of water to soak his hay in to make it soft enough for him to chew. He also needed a senior horse feed to supplement his diet.

Mr. Fox was one of the finest horses I have ever known, and it was a pleasure and an honor to have him share his life with us.

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Dynasty, afterFreedom's Dynasty was purchased at auction by Linda Moss of Equus Sanctuary so that he would not go to slaughter. Due to a severe injury in a trailer accident, Freedom was not given much chance of ever being rideable, and maybe never even walking again.

He came through it all just fine and became a superb trail horse. His versatility has expanded to working cows, barrels, and driving under carriage.

In this photo, he is playing with his favorite burro, Jenny.

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A very skinny Zach, before I had been given an ultimatum of sorts... "Take the horse now, or we put a bullet in his head."

I said, "Bring him." Then I crossed my fingers that he could make the long trailer ride without going down.

Zach was dumped off at my ranch at 2AM, sad, hungry, exhausted, and injured.

He is 16.3 hands, and should weigh about 1300 pounds.

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Zach's foot with abcess.This is one of those long stories that is best made very short. Zach's foot here has an abcess that blew out at the coronet band, the hoof is cut too short, the tip of the coffin bone inside the hoof is broken, and the suspensory ligaments in the lower leg are "blown". The rest of him doesn't look much better than the foot, either!

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Zach, afterZach, a strong horse with a lot of heart, recovered nicely from the malnutrition and starvation he endured. The foot and leg injury were slower to heal, and the foot retained permanent damage. Nine years after this picture, he is still big and beautiful. He is retired from riding due to the chronic changes in the foot, including a fused joint. I am forever grateful to my farrier, CF Brown, for all the skill and expertise he has demonstrated over the years to keep that foot shod and stable. It has been a challenge! Zach has a mechanical lameness, but is comfortable... and he can still "rock and roll" with all that Thoroughbred spirit and energy!

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Trooper, before.  Skin and bones.This is Trooper, one of my favorite horses, and one of the most difficult and challenging to care for and rehabilitate.

He is an example of the bitter side of equine rescue, when one lies awake at night wondering how a human being could be capable of such systematic and methodical cruelty. But how he came to me is a story of courage and compassion, and a tribute to the finer qualities of human nature.

Trooper arrived very frail and weak. I believe that his inner strength as a stallion kept him going, where another horse might have lost the will to live. It was a slow, careful road to walk when it came to feeding him properly within the limits of his body's ability to handle food. He was dehydrated, had sand in his gut, chronic diahrrea for months, rotten sharp teeth, bad feet... and a hysterical panic at feeding time which never went away. In his mind, he was never certain that he would be fed again.

All those who met him were drawn to him. The boarders at my ranch shed tears when he arrived. They shared their time, their love and their compassion with him... and gave him strength. Trooper was the recipient of many gifts from them: a new halter, a special bucket for his special feed, and always the color purple. They helped with grooming and short walks when his condition would allow. Mostly, they just loved him. Especially Carol Walker, who took him into her heart. Thank-you, Carol.

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Trooper, afterThis is Trooper one year later. His natural beauty and elegance still shines through, despite his age and all that he has endured.

Always the gentleman, one could ride him bareback with a halter. Even though he was a stallion, his manners were impeccable. He acquired the nickname of the "Grand Old Man", which was born of affectionate admiration and respect.

Due to the circumstances of his rescue and rehabilitation, I sent Trooper to live the remainder of his life in peace and safety at the H.O.R.S.E. Rescue and Sanctuary here in California. I am indebted to Mike Dodge, founder of the Sanctuary, for taking Trooper under his wing. Mike loved and cared for Trooper just as I did. Thank-you, Mike.

Trooper has since passed away at the age of 33 years old. He taught the lessons of compassion, respect and forgiveness. Always, he will live in the hearts of those of us who knew and loved him. I still hear his poetry, though his hooves are stilled...

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