The Little Mare That Keeps Going And Going…
What would you do with an old, small, overweight, medically challenged horse that was just hanging around a small pasture? Would you think her best days are past and ignore her or would you want to try and help her enjoy life as much as possible? For Suzanne Edmonds and her friends at the “Posse”, the answer was obvious.
Suzanne Edmonds of Redondo Beach, CA, knew there was something special about Ferrari the first time she saw the little mare. “She may be old, fat and foundered, but she has this spirit about her – this fire.” Ferrari is an 18 year old Appaloosa mare that has the distinction of being the only horse every born at the facilities leased to the Torrance Mounted Posse. The Posse is the all-breed, good will ambassador for the city of Torrance, CA and regularly participates in local parades and other functions. This special mare belongs to Nick Ruelas, one of the members of the Posse who loved to ride her, particularly in parades. Explains Suzanne, “Ferrari is the horse that you can get out of the pasture, that hasn’t been ridden for a year, wash her, clip her and then carry a flag on her during the Torrance Armed Forces Parade. And this parade is not an easy parade! This is a parade with tanks, fly-bys of jets and the LAPD motorcycles that backfire on demand. It is kind of like an M-80 going off but Nick could get on Ferrari and mosey down the street like he was on a couch with legs!” Ferrari also managed to endear herself to everyone that met her. “She just exudes personality,” continues Suzanne. “She’s smart and has more personality than it should be legal for a horse to have. She’s very sweet but she’s not a pushover. Once she knows you’re worth her while, she’ll love you like you wouldn’t believe. Ferrari is definitely smarter than the average bear and can untie anything. She’ll just take that nose and flip everything open. You cannot tie her up. If she were a human, she’d probably be the tough old gal in the prison chain gang with the shank in her boot!”
Ferrari’s talents have gotten her into trouble in the past. One night last year she escaped from her turn-out and tried to go visit her friends that were grazing in a lush pasture (because of her founder, Ferrari must be kept off grass). The pasture fence, which in that section is made out of chain-link, abuts a row of corrals, with approximately a 2 foot space between them. Ferrari thought she could get to her friends by going through this narrow passageway but all she managed to do was get stuck. Unfortunately for Ferrari, the bolts that held the fence together, stick out into this passageway to protect the pastured horses. As Ferrari struggled to go further and further, her shoulder was ripped open. She was found the next morning and the vet quickly came, shaved the hair, cleaned up the wound and stitched her up. But he warned Nick that the wound would not heal in time for their beloved parade, just four weeks away. Ferrari, however, had other plans. “I swear,” confesses Suzanne, “that just two days after it happened the hair was a quarter of an inch long where it had been shaved off! There was almost no swelling. Four weeks later there was a little dark line but the hair had all grown in and she was in the parade. She has the most amazing powers of recovery!” Regrettably, those powers would be needed again in the near future.
Although Ferrari was a favorite of many at the Posse, each member is responsible for their own animals. Unfortunately, over the past year, Nick has been beset with family medical crises. Unable to spend the time he’d like with his horse, the mare, who has always been an extremely easy keeper, slowly put on more weight. This, combined with her lack of exercise and age, aggravated her pre-exisiting founder and created additional problems, including the onset of Cushings Disease. Without intervention, the tough old mare would most likely be facing a short life.
Seeing that Ferrari needed attention and knowing that Nick was temporarily unable to give it, Suzanne stepped in to help. She “…called Nick and got his permission to proceed. Then I had the vet and farrier look at her. We put her on aspirin, to thin her blood, and thyroid powder. We quickly saw marked improvement in her. The thick and heavy crest that she had developed began to soften. There was some thrush which has cleared up with bleach and water. She is also on the Jenny Craig fat girl program – 45 minutes of hot walker time or hand walking a day. Oh, how she hates the hot walker! It’s very funny. It is on the way to the pasture so she starts speeding up, thinking, ‘oh good, I’m heading out’. When she realizes you’re heading towards the hot walker she tries to speed up and veer to the left away from it as I’m trying to go to the right. You can almost hear her sigh with resignation. The whole time she’s on the hot walker her eyes are just gazing out towards the pasture.”
How has Ferrari responded to her managed care? “She’s blooming!” gleefully reports Suzanne. “She responds to humans, you give her attention and she blossoms. It has really been a community effort to help Nick and keep Ferrari going. We all take turns cleaning her stall, I make sure she gets her medication and she’s got her own little teenage girl to groom her and she just eats it up. Her crest has come down. It is completely gone from right in front of her withers and the rest of it is round and soft. Her feet are doing well and her Cushings is under control. At first when I worked her in the round pen, she didn’t want to canter…today she didn’t want to stop. This old girl has amazing powers of recovery and I am really enjoying working with her.”
Ferrari is a wonderful horse who refuses to give up. She is loved by many and admired by all those that have seen her powers of recovery first hand. “She might be 18 but she carries herself, for being a short, fat horse, with a regal pride,” concludes Suzanne. “Other horses are happy being just horses, but Ferrari seeks you out. She’s very special.”