The last few months at SpiritHorse have tested us, pushed us, and exhausted us both mentally and financially.
On Tuesday, our vet came out for some dental procedures, x-rayed Taco and diagnosed him with small patellas, and swabbed Diva’s nose, just like how we’ve been swabbing ours for COVID tests for years.
By Friday, we received the horrible news. The news brought us to our knees in disbelief! The outcome was unforeseeable and hard to grasp! Diva was diagnosed with Strangles. We were baffled!
Strangles is a very contagious bacterial disease caused by Streptococcus Equi. It is characterized by the swelling of the lymph nodes and the formation of abscesses mostly in the head and neck areas. It’s gross.
Diva cycled through a pretty bad case of it. Rev and Queenie got through it with mild symptoms that were still gross enough. Zee never got it. And Taco, well…Taco was labeled as a quiet carrier. Unbeknownst to us, he came carrying the sickness without any symptoms. There was no way for us to know that he had it. There was also no way of knowing what was going to happen. With the Napa horses all on the upswing, we thought we were on the home stretch and almost done…
Then, at the beginning of April, the unthinkable happened. Dually, our stoic, gorgeous, kind draft horse began acting lethargic. Then, the runny nose came. We thought, “no way can he have it! We’ve done everything right! How did he get it so many weeks after the others??”
Coincidently at the same time, Goose was having signs of a urinary tract infection or something similar because he was having trouble emptying his bladder. His urine and blood samples were normal. Our vet was scheduled to come out to examine him closer, so we added Dually to the list to be seen.
We took the sick boys and put them in the farthest pasture from the others, but we knew all of the horses on the property were already exposed based on the proximity of the horses to one another. We decided to bring Taco and Diva back down to American Canyon. This freed up our Napa location to be thoroughly cleaned, sterilized, and deemed as clean. We again prepared ourselves for battle, but weren’t as concerned because we thought we knew what to expect. Thankfully, all of the horses at the American Canyon location are ours, so we weren’t worried about getting other people’s horses sick too.
Days turned to weeks. Dually and Goose were showing very little improvement. Diva and Taco were still testing positive, even though they were very much not visibly sick. We did blood tests and nasal swabs on our other horses, which showed they were exposed, but would not get it. We began to realize our case was not normal.
A few days later, Dually began to decline. He was on the next trailer up to UC Davis. His case was worse, he could not walk a straight line and was barely able to stand
Yesterday, May 11, Dually came home. He seems to be responding to treatment, but is fighting for his life. The plan is to take him back to UC Davis in 10 days for some blood work and more tests as long as he keeps on improving. Goose, Taco, and Diva will also make the trip up to UC Davis 2-4 more times for more guttural pouch flushing until they are cleared.
Typically Strangles cases last 3-4 weeks. Our outcome is super rare. Vets across the country have requested our horses blood for medical trials.
To be in this waiting, not knowing if Dually is going to make it, watching Goose still suffer and feel lousy, the minis still testing positive and needing flushes…we are desperate for some hope, some words of encouragement, to continue doing the next right thing…to endure this until it’s over…
So friends, we ask for help. Would you send us something? Words, thoughts, money…they are all powerful in this healing journey.
We have a few ways you can donate: Venmo (@spirithorseacnapa), Cash, Check, or through the Facebook Fundraiser (Click HERE).
Thank you. We could not make it through this season without your encouragement and your help. We will keep you posted on our journey.
This month, we circle up!
You'll notice 4 poles in the middle of the arena this month.
While mounted, trot an extended trot around the arena. Then, trot your horse into the pole area and collect your trot into a nice slow jog. Jog a circle around the poles. Take your horse back around the arena at an extended trot.
HAVE FUN & RIDE ON!
This month YOU ARE A STAR!
For this month's challenge, our rider's will notice a starburst in the middle of the arena. There are 4 challenges they can do. These challenges should be attempted on the ground leading their horse and while riding their horse.
Good luck and enjoy the challenges everyone! Happy March!
We are celebrating the love we have for our horses ALL month long. The theme of this month is "Love the Horse You're With." We know our riders have their favorites, but we want to celebrate all of our horses this month. We are challenging our riders to find positive things to enjoy about all of our horses, even the ones that aren't their favorite.
Our February Challenge is to draw a heart... going forwards and while backing! Because we love our horses to the moon and back!
Good luck everyone!
Reminder: If your student is ready to advance to their next level, can perform all of the items on their checklist, and read through their workbook please let your instructor know the last lesson of the month. Advancement lesson is the 1st lesson of every month!
We have had so many fun events this month! We kicked off December with a Christmas Party with Santa as our special guest! Over 50 families came through the farm and enjoyed horseback rides, meeting all of our animals including Trevor the goat and Gypsy the sheep, and sipped hot chocolate and cider.
On Sunday, December 19 we held our 2nd ever SpiritHorse Rider Showcase. Our horses were feeling fresh from days and days of rain, but the rain held off and our families shook through the cold weather to support their students as they took to the arena. Santa returned back to SpiritHorse to act as our announcer.
Riders were judged in showmanship classes as they demonstrated their learned skills on the ground; including walking, stopping, turning, and trotting. Then they saddled up and were divided up by age, skill level, and riding style (Western, English, Therapeutic) as they walked and trotted on the rail for our judge, Dana Azevedo. We also held trail classes where the students had to lead their horse through obstacles such as weaving poles, crossing over ground polls, and trotting around barrels.
Ms. Donkey and her friends wanted to get in on all of this seasonal fun. So they held Story Time with Ms. Donkey and Friends. Kiddos were welcomed, given a tour of the farm, splashed in mud puddles and settled down for a reading of "The Night Before Christmas at the Farm." After the story we delivered horse safe Christmas Cookies to each of our horses stall. We had about 10 families attend the event.
Our horses, instructors, and riders are now enjoying some time off and are preparing for our Winter Session to begin in mid-January. If you are interested in joining our lesson program and taking an Empowerment Class, you can find all available classes by clicking here or logging into the portal.
Halloween is the spookiest holiday we celebrate in the United States, but not for SpiritHorse! It was all treats during our Community Halloween Party.
Once the horses were all groomed up, the paired up partners took turns learning to lead their equine partner and ride them. Our next Day Camp is our Halloween Trail Trick or Treat on October30th from 12-2pm and registration is through our Participant Portal. If you have registered in the portal before, you can register here for the camp. If you are new, please complete this registration form here, and there you will be prompted to create a portal login.
I can not express the gratitude and love that I have for our volunteers, families, horses, animals and all our supporters. All my family & friends that make this possible for me to create and run SpiritHorse. Thank You!! I Wish You and Your Families the Happiest New Year 2019.
Thank you to The City of American Canyon, SpiritHorse Vineyards, Long Meadow Ranch Farm to Table, Syar Industries, Transport Products Unlimited, Vallejo Recology, Napa Recology, Please remember if I was not able to get you on here everything you do makes an impact on an animal or humans life. Many Blessings 2019 <3 <3 <3