There is something totally primal about the connection between horses and people. Alexander the Great thought so much of his horse he made it a senator. Napoleon would only ride one horse into battle. General Robert E. Lee’s horse, Traveler is almost as famous as he is in the history books. All these examples may seem a bit off to someone who has never had horses in their lives, but to me they totally make sense. I don’t think I would go so far as to make any of my horses public officials but some of them are definitely influential by being merchants of hope. The thing about riding only one horse into battle makes perfect sense to me. There are some horses you are just more comfortable on than others. I love John Wayne’s quote, “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway”. Been there and done that one also. So what is it about these magnificent and delicate critters that make a seemingly normal person turn into a “Horse Diva”?
I am a seventh generation Texan so I guess I am just doomed in the old DNA locker to be programmed to adore horses. I have always loved them but was never able to actually own any until my adulthood. I guess it was worth the wait because now I can keep them. As a youngster finances were never my strong suit and I would hate to have them and lose them because of something stupid I did. I can totally understand the recklessness of youth, because we were all young and dumb at some time, even though we don’t want to admit it. That being said, I have absolutely no patience with the stupid, yes, I said the word, actions of adults who should know better. I guess that is what drew me to horse rescues.
My first horse I rescued was a massive brute about 16.1 and large-boned. He was actually woolly like a musk ox in the winter. When I first saw Dusty he was in a barn alleyway with his head down heaving to breath into a fan on a hot summer day. This is the barn where we boarded my daughter’s horse. I was concerned so I asked about the horse. I was told that he had foundered, and they were waiting to see if he would survive this one. For those of you that don’t know, founder is a very serious condition that affects a horse’s hooves and circulation. It is potentially deadly. A horse that goes from founder suffers miserably and slowly. Many times it can be corrected by special shoes, sometimes nothing can be done because the bone rotates through the foot.
I asked why he didn’t have shoes on, and they didn’t want to waste money on the expensive shoes if he wasn’t going to make it. They really didn’t think he would because he had foundered five times that year alone. I found out later they kept taking off the special shoes. I visited the horse every day and he got to where he looked for me. He was still in the alleyway and still heaving for breath. This went on for about a week. I couldn’t stand it anymore and asked if they would sell him. Of course, they would, that is why they brought him to the stable in the first place. I promptly bought him for 1800.00 with the stipulation that if he died, there would be no refund.
I called the farrier and he came out that same day and fitted him with special shoes. That made standing for the guy a little easier. I had a fan in his stall and fed him the best quality hay. I even went in and sifted the sand in his stall so no rocks would get into his sensitive feet. They told me when I bought him, he was 12, I found out later he was every bit of 25. He was my first old guy rescue. Turns out he also had Cushing’s disease, which is brought about by acute cases of founder. That was what was causing his really shaggy coat in the winter. Under my care, Dusty Krow Horse recovered. He never foundered again while I had him.
I used Dusty as a trail horse and we had a few issues to work out. Whenever the terrain would change from flatlands, he would buck. He didn’t get me off all of the time but if you’ve ever been bucked by a large horse, you know that can hurt as much as hitting the ground. The shockwaves through your body are felt for days. I guess it is like whiplash. We worked it out where I would dismount and walk beside him up or down the hills. He stayed right with me and stood quietly for me to mount when the ground was level again. A lot of people made fun of us, but I didn’t care, I knew the old man had a reason for his actions and I honored that he trusted me.
Several years later Dusty started dragging one of his hind legs when he walked. I had the vet x-ray and he told me that his hip had been broken completely in two and had healed crooked. The horse should never had been sold has a ride able animal. It was then I understood why Dusty could not take anything other than flat terrain. Dusty was retired on that day to never be ridden again, but he was loved and cared for until his death five years after I got him. The old horse had given me everything he had and then some. It was the least I could do for him. I found out later that the Cushing’s should have done him in years before, but he hung on and had a few good years at the end.
The last couple of years were rough. He had to have more and more special shoes. He couldn’t shed his winter coat so we had to shave it for him, but he never gave up being that special boy that adored me whenever I came to the barn. We lost Dusty to a brain tumor that was caused by the Cushing’s, but I was so glad that I was there to give him those last five years of happiness. I shudder to think what would have happened to him if I had left him. It wasn’t a dramatic rescue on TV or in the courts, but it was rescue all the same.
I have continued to bring in rescue horses from bad situations, some I outright buy and some are just handed over. These horses become part of me and I love them for it. The emotions involved are intense and you can lose them in a heartbeat, but the joy they give me while they are here knows no bounds. I take a page out of Dusty’s book, I give them everything I have and then some and they do the same. I can’t even imagine another way of life. A friend told me that my horses are my heart; I guess she knows me pretty well, because they are just that, my heart.
Here are some more of my beloved rescues. Hover over the images to find out who they are.
Kandy Kay Scaramuzzo is a seventh generation Texan who has her own brick at The Cowgirl Museum. She has taught in alternative education for over twenty years. Ms.Scaramuzzo is a member of the 2012 Strathmore’s Who’s Who. She has a BA in Criminology and MAedCT. She works in horse, dog, cat and snake rescues. Ms. Scaramuzzo has been a tester observer for therapy dogs for nine years. She ran a therapy horse riding program for autistic children for five years. She has been a recognized animal behaviorist for over 20 years. This is her first book about an exceptional horse. She feels it is important to give back to maintain the balance of a civilized society.
Pie | An Old Brown Horse by Kandy Kay Scaramuzzo– Book Description
This is the story of a twenty five year old ranch horse that was injured and pretty much left to die. He was brought to a stable and sold, even though no one really expected him to survive. He was reborn into a merchant of hope. His amazing spirit and calmness helped many people over the next 13 years as he became the most amazing mentor and therapy horse. This is Pie’s story as he tells it about the most amazing second chance at life and his travels through it. You will meet his person, a shy young girl who he helps grow into adulthood. He will introduce you to the other horses and people that helped shape his journey. His influence has known no bounds throughout this last 13 years and he continues to shine his light even at the ripe old age of 38. This is a feel good story about life, love, second chances and giving back.