. . . and thanks to all of you, our friends and volunteers, we were able to keep our promise!
On the shortest day of the year HRHR made the longest rescue
we may ever do - our first rescue as a new team. Charlie.
Charlie was born in 1993 in the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area (HMA)
in California. His ancestors include Iberian, morgan, gaited, and draft breeds.
Twin Peaks mustangs are noted for their size, beauty, and wonderful temperaments
From the moment we met Charlie, we knew he was a special horse.
Charlie needed no persuasion to hop right into Becky and Scott's trailer.
Our first stop was North Coast Veterinary Hospital in Arcata where Charlie had an
appointment with our friend Dr. Branch. Even though Charlie has a wonderful
temperament, there are just too many needy horses in the world these days to risk
maintaining a horse as a stallion that might sire one more baby. Charlie needed to be gelded.
Charlie has the most amazing manners. Even though he came from living on
two acres of mud, he waited to graze until invited. Carey stood by, enjoying his company.
We wondered how long it had been since he enjoyed the sweetness of fresh grass.
Throughout the long day, Charlie remained calm and took everything and everyone in stride.
Becky offered a few words of encouragement as we prepared to turn Charlie over
to the kind and capable hands of the NCVH staff for his operation.
While part of the team went to prepare the pasture to welcome Charlie,
Kira kept him company during his recovery from surgery.
He kept showing her where he hurt, first one side, then the other.
Our second stop of the day delivered Charlie to the pasture where he will recuperate and
live for a time while we assess his level of training and prepare him for rehoming.
With great dignity Charlie explored his new "home", the beautiful 12 acre pasture
that HRHR has use of, thanks to the generosity of our friend Doug Shaw.
Becky explained to Charlie that for the next few days he would need to stay in the 60
foot round pen we use as a "greeting" paddock for new horses. We want to give Charlie
and Ben time to get used to each other before they share the same fields.
If there was anything better than kind humans with crunchies and a spacious pasture
full of green grass, it was the sight of another horse. Charlie met Ben and for the first time
in a very long time experienced the relief of an equine companion.
Ben is a very alpha horse and Charlie is recently gelded, yet their show of equine greeting displays was understated and quickly shifted from pawing and snorting to synchronized grazing.
When horses are accepting of each other and bonded, they will match one another's
posture and rhythm as they move and eat. Ben and Charlie were eating side by
side and mirroring one another within minutes of their first meeting.
They sniffed noses and then . . .
. . . they shared a tasty bite from the same pile of hay.
After a few minutes of sharing hay with Ben,
Charlie gave a huge sigh, stopped, and looked around his new home.
Slowly he walked around, sniffing the ground, looking for the perfect place to roll.
Or so we thought. Charlie was ready for a nap after his long day.
Kira and Ben watched the mustang sigh, and visibly relax.
Kira told him, "Don't worry Charlie, we've got your back!"
And his body softened. And his head lowered.
Slowly his chin came to rest on the ground and his eyes closed.
For a horse to lay down and sleep, they need to feel safe.
On his first day with HRHR, Charlie rested safe in his pasture,
watched over by his new herd and friends at HRHR.
Stay tuned for the next chapter of Charlie's healing
and rehab as he gets ready for his new family.