The bits of you that are broken,
the bits of you that are damaged,
do not see them that way.
Instead see them as slowly being filled with beautiful experiences and truths
you have learned from the damage,
the equivalent of lacquered gold.
I want you to remember, you are not a broken thing,
Instead, you are a human full of incredible and wonderful experience,
made of the same things that swords and diamonds are made of.
You are a survivor, my darling, and I salute you for everything you have been through, and for making the universe so proud, so very proud of what you have become.
~ Nikita Gill
Your contributions go 100% towards Secret's care & recovery, and are tax deductible.
Or contact Mid State Equine Hospital, Cindy Kimbrell, DVM (336)622-7447 to donate directly towards her medical bills.
Gone West, A.P. Indy, Victory Gallop, Indian Charlie
20 Starts, 1 Win, 2 Seconds, 3 Thirds
$20,763 in earnings
Best Stride Late ... this mare would trail the pack, slow to get her stride, but once she did would manage a slow, steady gain from behind and even when she was no factor for the win, she would finish with heart and ears up.
Retired off the track in Louisiana, she landed at Last Lap Thoroughbreds in NC. Let down, rehabilitation, retraining, and hoping for a new future.
Purchased as a jumper/XC/Trail prospect, Secret headed off to a new home. She was returned to Last Lap TBs despite reassurance that her lameness was due to an abscessed hoof.
Sale contract - Secret aka Affaire Secrete between Last Lap Thoroughbred (Izzy Medina) & Erika Palma
Back at Last Lap, treatment was needed for the abscess, battling the coming winter, a load of hay that had foxtail in it, Secret was making up lost ground while wondering what fate held in store for her future.
Christmas Day, 12-25-2019, and finally the next step on Secret's path unfolded, a new family, A young lady with a daughter to love & care for her, long trail rides, loads of carrots, a pretty herdmate, just a family horse. Except not all families are equal, & sometimes what appears to be a gift, turns into a curse.
A Cry For Help ...
1-31-2020 Received a call from the woman boarding Deziree & Secret, both horses needed feed, vet care, farrier care that owner/adopter Amanda refused to provide, even when she was told it was needed. They were both under weight, had open wounds, their feet needed to be trimmed, and Secret was lame. She was not paying full board fees or coming to provide hands on care. The property owner asked us to come pick them up, to give them the care they needed to save them. I contacted Last Lap Thoroughbreds, who sold Secret, and Izzy responded immediately on being apprised of the situation, gave permission for us to take Secret (we have documentation), for breach of contract, failure to provide agreed upon care, and also offered to come pick her up herself. She was just over 5 weeks in her new home. She had been picked up 12-25-2019, Izzy had discussed nutrition requirements, sent with her feed to get her started, Nutrena Pro Force Fuel along with Maxi-E Glo Rice Bran, and Standlee alfalfa pellets. She had been informed that farrier was due, she had shoes on at the time, we recieved her with no shoes, whiteline in all 4 feet, so lame she could hardly walk. But the owner knew full well what was needed to maintain and gain weight on Secret, and failed to provide it, even at the urging of the property owner. She had an open wound on her neck, had refused to call the vet, had a friend inject her with over the counter Dura-Penn for beef cattle. The wound had festered with infection until the propterty owner finally scrubbed it as best she could and wrapping it with a makeshift bandage, just before calling us. With Izzy's full support, copies of her contract for Secret, and other documentation, we picked up both surrendered mares around 7 pm, on a Friday night in the pouring rain and storms, and brought them to the rescue farm. Secret's intake pictures are below. Deziree's will be on her page. Copies of all documentation shown on Secret's web-page is available upon request.
The owner was apprised of the surrender, and she promptly called the Alamance Sheriff’s Dept. saying we had stolen her horses, they determined that there was no theft, as we had responded to a voluntary surrender by the property owner in whose care the horses had been left, and that it was a civil matter, not criminal. (There is a report).
On 2-3-2020 she filed with the Alamance County Court, a small claims civil suit. She was suing for the return of her (the horses) and damages in the sum of $2000.00 for value and damages for loss of use. Her total adoption fee for Deziree was $350.00, as we covered vet care and other expenses via the rescue.
Our response was immediate, we would go to battle for these precious Hearts. We contacted Gerber Animal Law Center and retained Calley Gerber to help us fight as representative for the two mares. Veterinarian & farrier reports and documentation were made available to both Gerber Animal Law Center and the Alamance County Court for all three horses involved in this case. Secret and Deziree were both below acceptable body score index, Secret was still at risk of complications and death from refeeding syndrome, both were injured with open wounds requiring vet care. Secret had significant dermatitis (rainscald) requiring prescription medicated shampoo and treatment. Secret was still lame from untreated whiteline in all four hooves due to lack of farrier care, and Deziree had received no farrier care since we adopted her out in August 2019. Deziree was exposed to breeding by a stud at 14 months of age, vet exam showed she was unlikely in foal (not unusual in so young a mare) but she was treated for exposure. Dahlia was examined and blood-work and ultrasound showed she was in foal approximately 4 months along, but fetus was dying, likely due to the owner self-diagnosing and having a friend inject her with self-prescribed Dura-pen antibiotics for Beef Cattle only, which is not for equines and can have significant neurological side effects if used in equines. Our veterinarian gave injections to both Deziree and Dahlia (a third mare this woman had bailed straight from the local killpen along with a stallion from the same kp, then posted for sale after being bucked off, and when we were sent the post we jumped to buy her before she could wind up back in the kp, now in foal and at huge risk) for treatment to minimize possible complications from the breeding and to treat Dahlia for the dying fetus to reduce complications and the potential risk of losing both mare and fetus.
She was riding Secret in such debilitated condition, and lame, that the property owner finally insisted she not be tacked or ridden until she was in better weight for fear that she would collapse under the rider and someone (Secret or the rider) would be injured.
Deziree may have sustained permanent muscular skeletal and/or ligament damage from being ridden so young. They were riding her from as young as 13 months of age, and even once took her to Cedar Rock to ride the trails. She definitely has mental issues from it that will require time and training to repair the damage, once she is old enough to be put into training under saddle. She was bucking and bolting, both considered dangerous vices in a horse. Due to the adopter having contacted a local trainer to take Deziree on, one who often does refreshers for us, we know more about what she was doing with her and have proof, both in writing and pictures. Thankfully, he recognized her undeveloped youth and refused, and contacted us wondering if I recognized her and if she was the filly I had previously mentioned.
We microchip ALL our rescues, and they stay registered to us so they can be better tracked, the adopter also called several vet's offices (including our vet who installed the chip apparently) to try to have microchip removed when she found out that it stays registered to the rescue. Changing a brand, tattoo, or chip in an equine is a criminal offense, and she was unable to find anyone to agree to do it.
It remains to be seen what Deziree's future holds. She may have sustained permanent damage to bone, muscle, ligaments, or tendons having been ridden so very young, she definitely has mental, emotional and behavioral issues now, from the abuse of riding, and the exposure to the stud & breeding of such a young, immature, and undeveloped filly. Hopefully, time, patience, and loving care combined with retraining will resolve most of her issues, if not all.
There are more and other issues, but these are the most salient points. The adopter knew full well that she was "adopting" not "buying" a yearling filly from us and not a 3 year old mare as she later claimed, and that it was an adoption for which we have her application, as well as a contract that has limitations and restrictions (like no breeding) though she refused to sign our contract due to a confusion where it didn't get signed as it should have when she picked up the horse. She was in the process of making arrangements to breed Secret also, despite her debilitated condition and the no breeding in her contract.
The lady who boarded them was concerned for their safety and well-being, wasn’t being paid appropriately, was unable to give them the care required out of her own pocket, and was afraid they would die. She had repeatedly requested hands on assistance for their care, for expenses, for a vet and farrier to be called for both horses. She felt safe turning them over to a known & reputable local 501(c)3 non-profit rescue, when she couldn’t get the owner to cooperate and provide necessary care. These horses were not stolen, both had contracts, signed or not, and the current owner/adopter knew what was expected for reasonable care and maintenance on both Secret and Deziree, and not only failed to provide it, deliberately ignored basic care putting them at risk of disease, injury, lameness, and yes, even death.
You are not strong enough to withstand the Storm ...
We had our vet come and examine Secret and Deziree, farrier also. Secret was put on a U.C.Davis approved diet as she was a BSC of 2/9 and high risk of refeeding syndrome and organ failure leading to death. Her neck wound was treated, special shampoo for the rainrot, medication for the whiteline. Deziree was examined and treated for her wounds, and other issues. (See the pics and documents below). On 2-14-2020 Iron Will Mobile did a full PPE with xrays, Secret passed with flying colors. Armed with our documentation, we prepared for the court date with Miss Gerber, and prayed for these two precious Hearts to recover ... bodies, minds & spirits.
On March 4th we headed off to court. Armed with documentation, Izzy had dropped things with mere hours notice and arrived to represent Secret. We trooped in hoping we had enough to convince the Judge that allowing these horses to be given back to their previous owner would let the abuse and neglect to continue and was certainly not in their best interest. Less than 20 minutes later, based primarily on our documentation presented by Miss Gerber, and lack of refuting testimony, with no counter documentation to show, the judge proclaimed "case dismissed" and Guardian Hearts was awarded both Secret and Deziree.
We still had to wait another 14 days to see if an appeal was filed. We were prepared to fight that with everything we could including pressing charges for abuse and neglect. The appeal never came.
I am the Storm ...
Secret and Deziree could now move on into the next stage of their lives, safe and loved at the rescue while they recovered. Secret was still at risk, but with every passing day, her potential for full recovery without complications increases. Deziree is still growing and doing great just loving life in the pasture at the barn. Secret was kept stalled with only limited turnout for several weeks, but is now able to have normal daily turnout, has made friends with Deziree and our 10 month old filly Laci, and the four resident minis GildaBlu, Jolly High Cotton, Gypsy, and Matilda. The video below shows them running up to the gate together at dusk. Secret is once again the ears up, happy girl she used to be. She is sweet, kind, curious, and eternally excited about the people and life around her. We are so very blessed to have her with us.
Many thanks and much love goes out to Cindy Kimbrell, DVM, Calley Gerber, Izzy Medina (now Fawver), and A. S. (you know who you are), for their caring hearts and willingness to stand beside us and be the Champions for these lovely young mares. These are the people who make Guardian Hearts possible, along with the adopters and sponsors who form the Defenders of Guardian Hearts.
Together, WE ARE THE STORM that protects these precious Hearts.
A huge thank you to Calley Gerber, from Gerber Animal Law Center, for defending both Secret and Deziree and being the Champion they desperately needed. She is one of the unsung Heroes in Animal Rescue and we are incredibly blessed and appreciative that on short notice, she would join our cause and rise magnificently to the challenge of protecting these two mares from further neglect and abuse!!
First turnout after farrier visit ... barefoot trim, whiteline clear in 3 hooves, just a trace left in LF. Farrier expects her to be all clear by next trim.